A world of history and tradition, enjoyed with your breadmaker
Since the dawn of human beings, and our discovery of that thing called fire, bread has been on the menu and even today we enjoy it for much the same reasons as we did all those millennia ago. Simple to prepare, wholesome and filling, back then it ticked all the boxes and it still does today.
Now of course, we have replaced fires and primitive cooking methods with breadmakers and kitchens in which to prepare and enjoy the food we cook, but our love of bread endures, and will surely continue to do so long into the future.
Here is a look at some of the most popular types of bread through history; all can be made quickly and easily now, with Panasonic bread machines such as the incredible ZX2522 and its wealth of programs. While you are sitting back, waiting for your bread to bake, and enjoying those incredible aromas, it’s sometimes worth remembering that what you are actually baking has been hundreds, sometimes thousands of years in the making...
The very name conjures up images of Italy. Generations of families gathered round the dinner table, laughing, sharing and enjoying those moments when life brings them together. Pizza is of course made to bring people together, it is simple, wholesome and easy to just tear and share.
While examples of people adding toppings to flatbread, to give it flavour and colour have been seen since the Neolithic age, the journey towards the pizza we know and love today probably began in Roman times with the panis focacius; a simple flatbread baked upon a shield and topped with anything a roman infantryman had on his person, olives, sun dried tomatoes or herbs collected along the way. When tomatoes were brought over to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century a happy marriage was formed and the result was the wonderful modern pizza.
Fortunately these days, we don’t need fires, shields or intrepid transatlantic ship voyages to enjoy one of our favourite meals, just a little imagination and the Panasonic ZX2522 breadmaker to take care of the dough!
It wasn’t until 1799 that the western world discovered what the majority of Asia had been enjoying for millennia; Naan bread. Thanks to an English historian by the name of William Tooke who wrote about it in his etymological diaries after an expedition in to deepest Russia.
Composed of flour, water, yoghurt and yeast the humble Naan has become the most popular of the Asian breads now, and it is hard to imagine a good Indian meal without it. While traditional methods of baking Naan require a tandoor oven, a lot of people have success using a skillet once your breadmaker has taken care of the dough.
Few things embody a culture like the baguette, this humble yet iconic stick of bread came into being in 18th century France from a combination of highly refined, high-milled flour and the introduction of steam oven baking techniques. The baguette’s size, weight and perhaps most importantly; its price were all carefully monitored (they could not be sold for more than 0.65f each) ensuring that all had a chance to eat better.
It wasn’t until the 1920’s when the baguette got the name that would endure, literally meaning stick, wand or baton, a unique shape that some say derives from laws forbidding bakers at the time to work before 4am, making it impossible to bake traditional round loaves in time for breakfast.
These days of course, with the French dough programs and French bread baking programs on the Panasonic ZX2522 breadmaker, you can make any style or shape of French bread whenever it suits you. If they’d had one in the 19th century, history might look a little different!
Used as a utensil as much as a convenient form of pocket bread for over four thousand years, some claim that Bedouin traders invented this small, thin oval bread. These desert people travelled far and wide across Africa, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean and spread the wonderful and unique idea of pita far and wide.
That uniqueness of course lies in the versatility of what you can fill pita bread with, and there are countless things. Traditionally, fillings such as tzatziki, hummus, baba ganoush or tabouleh were all enjoyed in pita and still are today, but the list is endless. Pita really is the best thing since sliced bread and with your breadmaker; making and enjoying your own is easy.
So the next time you turn on your breadmaker, to make pizza dough, naan, pita or rustic French loaves, spare a thought for what has come before. You might just realise that you’re doing much more than what you think; you are playing a part in history, and continuing a tradition that has lasted for a long, long time...