National Bread Week
16th - 22nd April 2013 is National Bread Week in the UK
Bread in one form or another, is consumed the
world over, so eating it during National Bread week is something most of us
will do without even thinking about it.
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When was Bread first made?
Whilst no-one is absolutely sure as to when the first
bread was made, man has been eating, albeit a crude form of flatbread, since
10,000 BC. Certainly the ancient Egyptians were making leavened (raised) bread
with yeast by 3000BC and it is thought that the workers who built the pyramids
were paid in bread. Not surprising that it has earned the title “staff of life”.
Indeed, for many throughout the ages, bread has been a staple of their diet and
it was so important, that laws concerning bread have existed for hundreds of
Types of Bread
Listing the types of bread available and eaten throughout the world is almost
impossible especially when you consider that just in the UK we have well over
200 varieties of bread readily available to most of us. As a compromises, here’s
a much shorter, but hopefully just as interesting summary.
Whilst breads are made from different types of flour such as white, wholemeal,
corn etc., they are more easily divided into two main categories namely
high/medium risers and flatbreads.
High risers include
Burger/hot dog buns (American)
Cottage Loaf (English)
Oatmeal (British and American)
Pumpernickel (Austrian and German)
Rye (Various including Scandinavian, Polish & Russian)
Soda Bread (Irish)
Buckwheat Bread (Poland)
Focaccia (Italian flatbread)
Pitta (Turkish/Greek/N. African)
Roti (West Indian)
These can be further broken down into flour and grain types e.g. wholemeal,
soft-grain, wholegrain, corn, rye and buckwheat. There’s also Granary bread which
is a brown bread made from special Granary® flour (a trademark of the Hovis
brand), which includes kibbled and whole grains and malt breads which are made
from a special ingredient mix .
In the UK, speciality breads such as Focaccia, ciabatta, paratha, pitta and naan
are one of the fastest growing sectors with garlic bread accounting for over a
third of this sector. Other speciality breads which have gained favour in
the UK include Panini, brioche, chapatti, tortillas, baguettes and bagels.
Nutritional value of Bread
In the past 20 years, there has been a considerable shift from white bread to brown or wholemeal,
mainly due to the health benefits associated with the latter. Bread is an
excellent source of carbohydrates, protein B vitamins and fibre and believe it
or not, white bread is a reasonable source of calcium.
We have lots of
bread recipes on the site, but to get you in the mood for
National Bread week, below is a
recipe for one of the above-mentioned speciality breads.
Enjoy National Bread week and Happy bread-making!
Red Onion, Rosemary
& Olive Focaccia
Veg HT CD CBF Italian
50mins plus proving
Makes 1x 30cm/12 inch bread Hot Cold
Vegetarian Vegan Bread Italy Accompaniment
15g/½oz Active Dry Yeast ( level tablespoon)
180ml/6fl.oz. Warm Water
350g/12oz Plain Flour
1 teasp Salt
2 teasp Fresh Rosemary Leaves, finely chopped
12 Black Olives, pitted and halved
1 large Red Onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 tbsp Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt
1. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in 120ml/4fl.oz. of the warm water, and
set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast mixture and remaining
water and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
3. Bring the dough together with your hands, adding z little more water if
necessary, then transfer to a floured work
surface and knead well for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm, and place in a warm place
to prove for about 1-½ hours or until doubled in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 7 and lightly oil a baking tray.
6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, punch down then sprinkle in the
chopped rosemary and knead for a few minutes.
7. Place the dough on the oiled baking sheet, pulling it into an oval, oblong or
circle shape about 2.5cm/1-inch deep.
8. Dimple the top surface with your finger tips or knuckles, then sprinkle the
onion slices and olive halves evenly over the surface.
9. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and bake
for about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.