We all try to bake at least once and we all know actually baking is one of the most difficult part of culinary world, when we close our oven door usually we have no idea what will be happen next 45 minutes or so, but we all agreed same opinion; baking is fun , especially playing with dough. But none of us give enough pay attention to the fascinating history of baking
Archaeological evidences suggest that the early Egyptians first made bread in2600-2100 b.c it is believed that they learned the skill from the Babylonians, the royal bakeries of Ramses featured bread and some kind of pastries, some of them were shaped in the form of animals and use for sacrifices
Other early records show that in Homers Iliad’s honey flans and totes were available in Antique Greek too.
East Roman Empire founded the first bakery chefs alliance In Constantinople around 4th century AD.
Flatbreads are the oldest breads of all. Quickly cooked, very delicious, and basically handy, and incredibly versatile. Originating in places where fuel was scarce, flat breads are traditionally baked in portable clay ovens called tandoors rtaste and size evolved according to place and taste.(Turkish one puffy.armenian one large size and paper thin,middle eastern one small and double layer)
Let see what’s Alan Davidson’s think about history of early bread .The Israeli and western name for the Arab bread called khubz adi (ordinary bread) or names meaning Arab, Egyptian, Syrian bread or kumaj (a Turkish loanword properly meaning a bread cooked in ashes) (In addition to Mr Davidson Kumaj or kumas also means ordinary fabric in Turkish language), baked in a brick bread oven. It is slightly leavened wheat bread, flat, either round or oval, and variable in size...The name had a ordinary origin with pizza...In the early centuries of our time, the traditional Greek word for thin flat bread or cake, plakous, had become the name of a thicker cake. The new word that came into use for flat bread was pitta, literally pitch, doubtless because pine pitch naturally forms flat layers which many languages compare to cakes or breads...The word spread to Southern Italy as the name of a thin bread. In Northern Italian dialects pitta became pizza, now known primarily as the bearer of savoury toppings but essentially still a flat bread...Early Arab cookery texts do not refer to khubz, since it was bought from specialists, not made in the home. However, it is safe to assume that its history extends far into antiquity, since flatbreads in general, whether leavened or not, are among the most ancient breads, needing no oven or even utensil for their baking."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 611)
Middle eastern pita, Indian naan and Armenian lavash are three popular examples.(Armeninan lavash probably the oldest one) New World tortillas are similar products, until here, we made one point very clear ,baking start with flatbreads but what about our baguette or round shape bread (aka.french or Vienna bread)
"A baguette is a long thin loaf of French bread of the type more commonly known in English as 'French stick', or more vaguely still, as 'French loaf'. The term has become increasingly familiar in English since the last quarter of 20th century. It means literally 'littlerod', and is a very small. Word derived ultimately from Latin 'baculum', 'stick staff'."
So how it started There is a ridicoulos rumor that Napoleon ordered his bakers to make long, thin breads so they could be carried in soldier's pants. According to the food historians this is not true: . In fact, it was introduced during the 1920s after a new law banned bakers from working before 4am. They did not have enough time to bake a fresh Boule for breakfast, so they created the baguette.
French for "ball," referring as a culinary term to a round loaf of white bread. Also called miche ,
However There is some unclear thing going on here, if they did not have enough time for make Boule how come they managed enough time for make Baguette(Weird)
Before the beginning of bulk-producing of tinware English household bread was either baked in clay pans glazed on the inside only, or the loaves were hand-moulded (boule) and fed into the oven on wooden peels in the ancient manner, as was our bakery bread. In the seventeenth century, deep tin and, more rarely, round iron cake pans were used for yeast cakes, and there were clay dishes for pies,
(Qu’ils manget de la brioche) "Let them eat cake!"
historical records tell us the composition of brioche has evolved over time. The brioche referenced by Marie Antoinette in her famous "Let them eat cake" phrase was probably not the same light, flaky roll we enjoy today.
. Some historians believe that the famous pastry Brioche originated in Brie, and Alexandre Dumas claimed that the dough was originally kneaded with the dough was originally kneaded with cheese from Brie
There is also one more strong idea ,that brioche is derived from the verb "brier," and old Norman form of the verb broyuer meaning "to pound" (this is found in pain brie, a specialty of Normandy). This explanation is all the more likely since the brioches from Gournay and Gisors in Normandy have always been highly regarded."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Jenifer Harvey Lang [Crown:New York] 1988 (p. 147)
European traditions of pastry-making are often traced back to the short crust period crumbling dough’s that were in use all the way through the Mediterranean in antique times. These recipes were popularized in Western Europe when Crusaders returning home.
However, the Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians all had filo-style pastries on their culinary background. There is besides strong evidence that the ancient Egyptians produced pastry-like confections. These recipes were adopted and personalized over time in a variety of European countries, resulting in the innumerable of pastry traditions known to the region, from Portuguese "pastéis de nata"(A rich egg custard poured into individual pastry-lined muffin cups and baked.) in the west to Russian "pirozhky"(These are small or large baked or fried pies filled with meat, fish, vegetables or berries) in the east..
Several culinary historians believe French pastry chef Antonin Carème (1784-1833) to have been the first grand master of pastry making in modern times.
But of course I am not going to give vast example of baking in this book, together we will bake some relatively easy baked goods.(and of course we need lots of butter)