Why do Westerners like toast, and Chinese people like steamed buns?

Bread, a seemingly trendy imported product, has a history of seven or eight thousand years. People who hold soft sweet bread may not think that the “magic” that makes the flour fluffy and soft is the earliest from ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt – the difference between the production of fermented bread

The emergence of bread is almost in sync with the dawn of agricultural civilization. Because of the hard shell, the harvested wheat is difficult to eat immediately, and must be shelled into flour to make wheat porridge and crepes to satisfy the hunger. Who was the first whimsy, mixing the slightly ground wheat flour with water and making it into a paste, and putting it on a hot slate to make a pancake? What is the taste? The answer to the question is hard to find. It can only be snooped from the scones that continue the similar practice in the Middle East, but it is undoubted that this unfermented scone is the prototype of bread, almost after its birth. After two thousand years, it was brought to Egypt by the Babylonians.

The Nile River was flooded regularly, and after mastering the laws of nature, the Egyptians were thus fertile. The wheat grown on the fertile arable land is not only an unexpected gift of the Nile water, but also a symbol of the harvest of the farming civilization. The Egyptian goddess Isis has a wheat logo on the head. In the hands of the Egyptians, wheat bread experienced a decisive leap from fermented bread to fermented bread, which also laid the two basic classifications of today’s bread. Behind the gorgeous turn of the bread, it was a surprise after a forgotten time.

The work of grinding the wheat crust with stones is quite arduous. You can grind the flour as much as possible, and you can feed more people. After a hard work, a spare cake was forgotten by the cooks in the corner, exposed to the high temperatures on the banks of the Nile, and in close contact with the air for a whole day. No one noticed that there was a dough in the horns that was bubbling and exploding, making a major shift in food history. When I was remembered the next day, the bread was already bigger. After the fire, it had a fluffy taste and a grainy aroma, which was both fuller and more digestible.

The Egyptians of the time did not know that this miraculous transformation originated from the microbes released by the action of flour gluten and air: wild yeast – humans see the presence of yeast through a microscope and wait until more than 5,000 years later in Victoria period. Like the Nile, the Egyptians also regard the new practice of bread as a gift from God. In this way, the wild yeast invades the dough, and the wrong yeast produces the world’s first fermented bread. The Egyptians used the same method to expose more dough to the air and make fermented bread more skillfully.

Incidentally, they also found that the liquid before the baking of the bread can also be used to fill the stomach, so the earliest beer is also known as “liquid bread.” Bread, beer, the staple food of an ordinary Egyptian is the above two. Tens of millions of workers who built the pyramids of ancient Egypt used bread as a ration to maintain their physical strength and cope with heavy labor. In this way, it is not exaggerating to say that “the pyramid is built on tens of thousands of breads” – William Kiel mentioned in the book “The History of Bread”: “The wages of the ancient Egyptian servants throughout the year. The reward is 370 cups of beer, 900 white breads, 36,000 ordinary breads.” When Pharaoh goes out, he will carry tens of thousands of bread for the king and the accompanying.

The Egyptians cherish the bread of God and use it as a offering to worship the gods. They also invented the earliest oven. The method of baking on a thin stone changed from the Egyptian period to the oven. The style, type and taste of the bread began to increase: round, cubic, twist, animal shape… more than 50 A variety of breads of different shapes are dazzling. Bread making became a craft in Egypt, and bread also made the characteristics of the Egyptians except the pyramids – the preserved mummies can be seen, the ancient Egyptians generally have poor teeth, and modern medicine believes that the reason is that they ate too much. The bread caused the wear and sugar residue. The foreigners at the time also felt that the Egyptians had eaten too much bread. They looked at the people who were crazy about bread and called the Egyptians “the ones who chose to eat bread.”

Ancient Greek Rome – bread became the pillar of the table

With the trade, fermented bread was passed from Egypt to Greece. Like the Egyptians, the Greeks believe that the three major components of their diet: cereals, olive oil and wine are the three gifts that the gods have given. Among them, the Athena Church Greeks planted olives, the wines came from the Dionysus, and the grain was the gift of the goddess Demeter. The Greek dishes are based on the above three, which is also related to eating only meat. The nomadic people of goat milk are separated.

The Egyptians have forgotten the inventor of the fermented bread, but in Greek history it has recorded an Athenian named Ayrian, who was born in the 5th century BC and was the first commercial bakery. So, the bakery we saw today on the corner of the street has a history of 2,500 years, which is far older than the history of cafes, hairdressers and other retail stores.

In addition to Egyptian wheat bread, rye bread, cereal bread, white bread (made from fine sifted flour), whole-grain bread without sifted flour, and olive oil, pigs are added to the flour. Oil, wine, milk, honey, poppies, sesame seeds, as well as dried fruits, cheese and other auxiliary materials… Under the arrangement of various combinations, there are more than 70 kinds of bread making methods.

The appreciation of bread is a simple and contented Greek lifestyle. At Greek aristocratic banquets, high-altitude bread is usually placed in a rattan basket, as recorded in Homer Epic Iliad: “Patrocross takes bread from a beautiful basket. , put it on the table and give it to each table.”

The Romans took over the baton made by the Greek bread, and added two additional contributions: First, the Roman baker who focused on technical improvement found that the yeast brewing beer can be extracted and used as a bread fermentation process to make the roast. The bread is softer and more delicious. Until the late Middle Ages, Europeans were still making fermented bread using the Roman hop yeast method.

Another outstanding contribution of the Romans was to turn “eat bread” into a public affairs. Although modern people have kitchens and household ovens, a large amount of bread consumption is still carried out in the bakery, which is exactly the same as in ancient Greece and Rome. Compared with the Greeks, the Romans used the bread in the city to the extreme – as early as 100 BC, the number of bakeries in the city of Rome reached 250, and the bakers in the store were professionally trained and mass-produced. Bread is not only the source of energy for the Roman citizens to sustain life, the comfort of spiritual pleasure, but also the basis of public life in Rome. Ancient Roman citizens used to hand over the cumbersome processes of grinding, sieving, kneading, fermenting and baking to professional bakers, eliminating the need for cooking without tools and tools, and saving a lot of time for plazas. High talk. Some bakers will have a common oven in the square, and the dough from all over the place will be baked here, and will be produced as a basic welfare of the city’s public life and distributed free to the Roman citizens.

It is no wonder that the ancient Romans said that the two pillars of their civilization are “bread and athletics”. Behind it is the rule of the Roman rulings – filling the people’s stomach with bread to calm the contradictions, and attracting the spirit of the Romans to attract attention. force. Although the free bread did not maintain the permanent rule of the Roman Empire, it opened the position of bread as the pillar of the general public table and the road of Europeanization of bread.

Why do you bake bread abroad and become steamed steamed bread in China?

Bread has been a staple food in Europe for thousands of years, but its status in China can only be counted as a snack or snack. Unlike the ancient Egyptians who invented the bread early, it was not until the Ming Dynasty Wanli years that the bread making technique was first introduced by the missionaries Lima Dou and Tang Ruowang.

Both wheat and stone mills originate in Central Asia and appear almost simultaneously. As early as 6,000 years ago, people in the two river basins mashed the wheat into flour, knead it into a pancake and baked it on a slate. When the wheat was introduced to China, the cooking tools were not stoneware but pottery or even bronze.

In terms of cooking technology, ancient China used a lot of steaming and boiling methods. The rice is roasted on the fire and it will be anxious. The roasting method is only the habit of the nomadic people. It is never the mainstream of the Chinese ethnic diet with highly developed farming civilization. It can be said that the Chinese have learned the art of steaming and cooking foods very early. The ingredients are not directly exposed to fire or water, but are steamed with hot air.

The wisdom of oriental cooking took the flour to another path. When the wheat came, it naturally put the bread into the pot and steamed it. This became the steamed steamed buns instead of the baked bread. But in the Eastern years without bread, the flour is not alone. Adding a variety of fillings such as shallots, fresh meat, greens, bean paste and even glutinous rice into the steamed bread, it produces a variety of twins: flower rolls, buns, and siu mai. The non-fermented dough is added to the different fillings to become dumplings, clams or dumplings. Another group of flour was sliced ​​or stretched and directly contacted with boiling water. The soup made a variety of noodles across the country – Chinese cuisine is obviously more imaginative in terms of the taste of the dough.

Medieval – multiple “messages” of bread

The barbarian invasion, the end of the Roman era, since the 5th century AD, Europe opened the prelude to the Middle Ages. In the chaos of the soldiers, the cumbersome bread making process is almost extravagant, and Europeans often eat oatmeal and cakes. It was not until the 6th century AD that the country was suddenly swayed by a simple fire, and bread began to cook in the family as a staple food. Compared with the Roman era, the Europeans used the same fire (mostly simpler), the same yeast (the hop yeast is extremely precious); the difference is the supply of bread: the city has disappeared and turned into In sporadic villages, the bread of the public foundation of the Roman city is hand-replaced by small villages or families. The workshops for baking bread and baking bread are often a family. In the leisure time, the oven of the bread workshop is open to the villagers who are unable to set up the fire at home.

Not the same is the sense of hunger that Roman citizens can’t understand. Among the three major grains of rice, corn and wheat, wheat has the lowest yield, and from the 9th century to the 14th century, the growing European population is increasingly dependent on cereals, which means that medieval bread is often complex. Barley, oats, rye, chestnuts and other cereal beans, as long as they can be thought of, will be used to grind bread to fill the hunger, even if the final product is hard and difficult to swallow “black bread.” The brown bread can be stored for a long time. Even if it expires, it will be ground and added to the soup to thicken and saturate. For wealthy families, no matter what they buy now, they eat fresh white bread made from wheat. What kind of bread to eat, it represents what class.

Because of the relationship with the national economy and the people’s livelihood, the baker is one of the earliest occupations in the Middle Ages. The management of bread prices in Europe is also very strict. In 630 AD, France’s Dagobet I introduced the first decree to control the price of bread. In 1266, the British “bread and ale” decree stipulated the amount of bread that can be bought per penny. Bakers who are less than two pounds and shoddy will be severely punished. If they are fined forty or fifty times, they will close the furnace door and ban the bread industry for life.

From the Middle Ages, bread is not only necessary for three meals a day, but also symbolic of Western culture. On the one hand, bread is closely related to religion, and nearly half of the bread mentioned in the Bible is related to the gods. For example, Jesus said at the Last Supper: “Bread is my flesh, and wine is my blood.” Therefore, bread is essential in the Catholic communion.

In 1666, in a bread workshop on Pudding Street in London, the young man forgot to extinguish the sporadic fire before going to sleep, and the flames went out of the furnace door, making the biggest fire in London’s history – three days and three nights. The fire destroyed 80% of London’s buildings, but London was completely rebuilt in the same place as the European Financial City. Another time related to bread, the European countries led by the United Kingdom have entered a new era.

Industrial Revolution – Bread develops in the course of scientific and technological progress

Today more than 80% of the bread is produced from factory machines, but the wheel of the machine in human history has just begun to work, but it is the most unbearable page in the history of bread.

The Victorian people ushered in the dawn of the industrial revolution, with a flood of people pouring into the city’s factories and streets, where food and shelter were settled in a narrow living space. In the past, the relationship chain that was cultivated in agricultural land and produced grain self-sufficiently baked into bread has broken. Say goodbye to the pastoral idyllic bakery operation, next to the sweatshop is the sweatshop workshop.

If the dark bread of the medieval poor is difficult to swallow, then Victoria’s early bread is detrimental to health. A pound of bread is equivalent to a worker’s day’s wages in 1838. The low-purchasing consumers who vote with their feet and the malicious competition between the numerous bakeries make bread foods a fake: expired flour, potato flour, pea flour, and others. White glutinous rice flour and even alum are doped in bread flour – the healthy coarse grain cereal bread that the urban middle class now admires was a poor food that was abandoned at the time. The famous medical magazine “Lancet” records the demand of the Victorian consumers for bread: “The whiter the better, the cheaper the better” – the white meal is added, in order to absorb more water to inflate The weight, while the alum, is to make the bread look more like a high-grade “white bread.”

Not only with disorderly competition, but also with the fear of new technology. In the 1950s, British bakers set off a campaign to boycott machines into the bakery. French scientist Louis Pasteur, after the ancient Egyptians invented the fermented bread for thousands of years, finally saw the truth of the yeast in the bread with the aid of a microscope. body. But the Pasteurs believe that since yeast is an active fungus, it is also like the other harmful bacteria, and it is inseparable from the spread of a wide range of diseases. The panic of the yeast “bacteria” for a time made Europe once abandoned the fermented bread, because the winemaking also experienced the fermentation process, so the prohibition of alcohol was also popular.

Just under the microscope of science, another new substance was discovered: carbon dioxide can be integrated into the water, and soda water with a strong industrial sense is born. The earliest produced soda was packaged into healthful medicine by advertisers, which inspired a bakery company. They tried to abandon the yeast, and the technique of pressing carbon dioxide into the water was applied to the flour to make a gas bread that could expand without relying on yeast. “Inflatable bread” has a full sense of technology in the new era, the volume is more fluffy than the original, and there is no need to worry about “yeast bacteria”, but the seemingly perfect bread tastes like something is missing – the mouth is empty, lacking yeast aroma. It didn’t take long for the consumer’s fresh energy to recede, and the short-lived “inflatable bread” was abandoned because of the lack of human touch.

Fortunately, since the mid-to-late 19th century, the power of scientific and technological progress has finally benefited the bakery. In 1851, the World Expo in London, England attracted more than 6 million spectators. Yiquan Company provided 934,691 buns to visitors with a machine that can produce more than 400 breads in 40 minutes. The machinery for making bread appeared one by one, announcing the birth of the modern baking industry: in 1870, the flour mixer appeared; in 1880, the bread shaping machine was invented; in 1888, the electric oven replaced the steam oven…to the 18th century In the era, machine grinding can reach the level of fineness that stone grinding has never achieved. Due to the rise of railway transportation, the price of flour and sugar has dropped drastically. It is not difficult to eat real white bread or sugar-rich fancy bread at low prices. . However, with the general decline in food prices, in the face of numerous choices, Europeans have only one-fourth of the bread consumption in the past. The bread of bread in Europe is gradually divided into potatoes, meat, corn, etc., but “love is still bread.” Such proverbs are still often quoted by people, demonstrating the status of bread.

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