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Grain, flour, bread

Bread ( ahd. Prot, from Proto-Germanic. Brauda- *) is a traditional food , which consists of a mixture of ground grains ( flour ), water , a leavening agent is baked and most other ingredients. Bread is a staple food .

Sliced ​​bread made from wholemeal rye flour with the following ingredients: the crumb with pores and whole grains is surrounded by a crust with leaks that have risen during the fermentation process.
Breadcrumbs of a whole grain rye bread


The firm, dark exterior of the bread is called the crust or rind. It contains roasted aromas that arise from the Maillard reaction during baking. By cutting into the surface of the bread before the baking process or by accidentally tearing it open while standing , the crust results in bulges that enlarge the surface of the baked bread. The thickness of the crust results from the baking time, and its color results from the baking temperature.

The soft, loose interior of the bread is the crumb . Depending on the type of bread, it contains more or fewer pores of regular or irregular size that were created during fermentation, and possibly other components, such as whole grains or seeds. The crumb can be airy and light or compact and juicy.

Bread crumbs are also called crumbs (from Middle High German ) or crumbs . Most bread doughs can also be baked in the form of smaller, palm-sized portions as rolls .


Flavors of the bread
(sprightly, popcorn-like)
2-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3 (2H) -furanone
6-acetyl tetrahydropyridine
(sprightly, popcorn-like)
(E) -2 nonenal
( E ) -2-nonenal
(boiled potatoes)
(E, E) -2,4 decadial
( E , E ) -2,4-Decadienal
(fatty, fried)
(floral, honey)

The dough to be baked consists of flour, salt, water and leavening agents such as baker's yeast and sourdough . All possible foods can be added to the dough for the different variants, e.g. B. grated vegetables, potatoes , nuts and seeds, fried onions , dried fruits , spices and much more.

The definition of bread according to the "Guiding Principles for Bread and Small Biscuits" of the German Food Book is:

"Bread is wholly or partially made from grain and / or grain products, usually after adding liquid, as well as other foods (e.g. legume, potato products), usually by kneading, shaping, loosening, baking or hot-extruding the bread dough. Bread contains less than 10 parts by weight of fat and / or types of sugar per 90 parts by weight of cereals and / or cereal products. "

1.5 kg of mixed rye bread are made from approx. 1 kg of flour, 850 ml of water and 30 g of salt (approx. 4 teaspoons). The bread loses around ten percent of its weight when it is baked.

A monoglyceride
A diglyceride

Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (MDG) can be used as food additives to increase the water-binding capacity. Diacetyltartaric acid glycerides distribute the water better in the dough and ensure better gas retention, better fermentation tolerance and a larger volume. Lactic acid esters from MDG increase pore formation so that more air can be held and the volume increases. Preservatives such as propionic acid or sorbic acid and their salts can be used for longer preservation - but are only allowed for packaged sliced ​​bread. Acetates are used as acidulants to improve taste and to create crusts. As a substitute for conventional sourdough, dough acidifier (flour sprayed with lactic acid) is used for cheaper products, but then baker's yeast must be added as a leavening agent. White bread has characteristic smells on both the bread crust and the bread crumb. These arise through the interaction of different connections.

Types of bread

Various types of bread are offered in a bakery shop in Germany

There are two basic types of bread:

  • Leavened bread, which is made with the help of leavening agents ( sourdough or yeast ), which gives it a loose consistency
  • unleavened bread, which is made without the addition of raising agents such as B. yeast is baked; often as a flatbread .

In addition, types of bread are classified according to the type of grain used (e.g. wheat , spelled , kamut or rye ), the type of flour (extract flour or wholemeal flour , finely or coarsely ground) or special ingredients (e.g. pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds ).

Internationally, Germany is considered the country where most types of bread are baked. The reason for this is, on the one hand, the variety of grains, which, in contrast to other countries, include not only wheat, but also rye (e.g. in northern Germany) or spelled (e.g. Swabian Alb) due to the growing conditions. Another reason for the diversity of bread is the small statehood of bygone times, which did not exist in other, predominantly centralized countries and which led to different baking cultures in the individual countries of Germany. The qualifications and creativity of the German master bakers - a training course that does not exist in other countries - also contribute to the globally unique German bread culture. The Zentralverband des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerk (Central Association of German Bakers) is currently trying to record the variety of German bread in an online bread register with the aim of declaring the variety of German bread to be a world cultural heritage.

The most commonly eaten type of bread in German-speaking countries is mixed bread, which is baked from a mixture of rye and wheat flour, while wheat bread is almost exclusively consumed in Mediterranean countries. Wheat bread is traditionally eaten in France. Are known baguettes and croissants as breakfast pastries. The bakeries bake several times a day because white bread does not stay fresh for long.


Hortus sanitatis , Mainz 1491: Illustration to the chapter Panis - bread
Bread baking in the stone oven at the
Roscheider Hof open-air museum
Bread dough container made of copper ( Franconia , around 1700)

From the Middle Paleolithic at the latest , wild oats and barley were ground into flour and probably watered and boiled or baked to make the flour palatable. At the Shanidar site , a cave inhabited by Neanderthals in northern Iraq, traces of wild barley that were over 40,000 years old and apparently heated were found.

In the Grotta Paglicci in southern Italy traces of corn starch over 30,000 years old were found on mortars. Wild plants were also ground north of the Alps 30,000 years ago, as is shown by finds from Russia and the Czech Republic.

Sickle blades, 20,000 years old, have been found in Ohalo II in Israel and wheat and barley have been identified. The grain was probably ground into flour and baked into flat cakes on the flat stones found in front of the huts.

With an age of 14,400 years, the oldest remains of unleavened bread to date were found in the Natufien settlement Shubayqa 1 in northeastern Jordan . These are charred remains of bread made from wild grain ( einkorn ), beach rushes and roots that were dug up from old fireplaces. This proved that bread-baking was developed at least around 4,000 years before the development of agriculture and grain cultivation.

About 10,000 years ago, humans began to systematically cultivate grain for their own food . Originally, the grain was ground and mixed with water and eaten as a porridge. Later the porridge was baked on hot stones or in the ashes as flat bread. Baked flatbreads were probably already known to ancient nomadic peoples. Porridge cooked from wild grain and other ingredients was dried on hot stones, making it durable and transportable.

Two inventions have decisively changed bread-baking: One was the construction of baking ovens . Only flat breads can be baked on the stones. A round loaf must be completely surrounded by the heat when baking so that it can bake evenly. The first stoves consisted only of a pot that was thrown upside down in the bucket (a method that scouts still like to practice around the campfire today).

The second important discovery that fundamentally changed bread baking was the effect of yeast . If you let the unbaked bread dough stand, yeasts in the air cause fermentation - thin dough becomes a kind of fermented drink, while thick dough becomes a yeast dough that can be baked out of bread that is looser and tastier than unfermented dough .

Since there are different yeasts that behave differently, these processes were initially very random. Humans only learned to control this over time by taking a small amount of the well-fermented dough before baking and adding it to the next dough - the method of sourdough fermentation that is still used today.

According to archaeological finds, leavened bread is likely to have been known over 5,000 years ago, including in Egypt , where bread was already being produced to a large extent in bakeries . In ancient times, the Egyptians were also known as bread eaters. It was they who were the first to cultivate yeast and thus use the first baker's yeast.

The ovens were further developed by the Egyptians, the first were made of clay and resembled beehives. A very high heat could be achieved in this, which instantly transforms the moisture present in the dough into steam. This greatly increases the volume of the bread and delays the formation of crusts.

Between 2860 and 1500 BC 30 different types of bread (e.g. Chet bread ) were known in the land on the Nile . From Egypt the knowledge of bread baking reached Europe via Greece and the Roman Empire . The Romans built the first large mills and made fine flour. They invented a device for kneading dough: In a trough, stirrers were moved by a mechanism, with an ox or a slave walking around them.

North of the Alps, yeast doughs were used to make bread (either with yeast from beer production , which has been known here since the 3rd millennium BC, or from yeast mixtures such as sourdough ) from 713 BC. Proven.

Bread was baked according to the basic Roman techniques in Europe until the 19th century, with minor changes. In several villages there were communal ovens in which everyone could bake their bread once a week.

A large Roman bakery 2000 years ago was able to produce 36,000 kilograms of bread per day. After the fall of the Roman Empire , white bread rose to the status of a festive and men's meal. It retained this position in Germany until after the Thirty Years' War and in Russia until the beginning of the 20th century. For the poorer classes, only dark bread was affordable. In many countries bread is used as the basis for soups and stews.

Cultural and historical significance

Polish Boy with Bread (ca.1943)
Bread from the time of the Leningrad blockade (1941–1944) in a museum (1992)

In Europe and North America, bread is an indispensable staple food, especially for carbohydrate intake. In other parts of the world, this position is taken by other bread-like products. Flatbreads are popular in oriental cuisine , in India there are smaller varieties such as chapati or papadam , in Pakistan puri is baked. While bread is rarely found in Southeast Asia, steamed yeast dough rolls, filled or unfilled, are a popular side dish in northern China. Damper is typical of Australia . The tortillas made from corn come from Mexico . In Africa, flatbreads made from cassava, millet or corn are baked with spices.

In addition to its importance as a staple food, bread also has great symbolic and spiritual importance. For many agricultural peoples, bread was and is considered sacred. Certain rituals were performed when baking and cutting bread.

Traditional breads, such as figured breads , are baked and consumed on certain religious celebrations . There are still many customs related to bread today, which are often still associated with belief in supernatural powers. A number of legends tell of divine punishments that immediately overtook those who committed a bread crime . Superstitious ideas and many proverbs are also attached to the begged bread .

Crossing the underside of bread three times before cutting - a ritual of the Christian Trinity to give thanks and to bless the bread - was popular .

In the Wanders German Proverbs Lexicon (5 volumes) there are almost five hundred proverbs about bread , if you add the words combined with bread .

The German bread culture was included in December 2014 by the Conference of Ministers of Education as one of 27 forms of culture in the nationwide directory of intangible cultural heritage . Since 2018, the German Bread Institute has named one type of bread "Bread of the Year" every year.

Bread and salt

The custom of giving bread and salt to move into a new apartment or for a wedding is supposed to ensure prosperity.

Bread in Jewish and Christian symbolism

Water and ground wheat, the element of fire and the work of man, are necessary to make bread. Bread belongs to the rich and the poor. It embodies the goodness of creation and the creator, but also stands for the humility of simple life. It plays a big role in Jewish and Christian symbolism.

During the week-long Passover festival , one of the Jewish pilgrimage festivals , only unleavened bread is eaten in memory of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt , which, according to biblical tradition, had to take place so quickly that there was no time to ferment the bread. According to the Jewish opinion, wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelled are considered to be acidified if they have been in contact with water for at least 18 minutes - the period in which fermentation by yeasts in the air could have started at the earliest.

Christians speak in the Lord's Prayer as a fourth petition: “Give us this day our daily bread”. Christ is attributed a bread miracle, the miraculous increase of bread. In the Lord's Supper of the Christian liturgy one commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (“Christ's body broken for you”). The host , in the Armenian and the western church tradition in unleavened form , is part of the rite.

Bread and politics

Price sheet for grain, barley and oats (Southern Germany, 1770/1771) in the Museum of Bread Culture , Ulm

Politically, the demand for bread was always of great importance, as its lack always gave rise to famine, declining birth rates, emigrations and uprisings:

  • The poet Juvenal coined the bread and games ( panem et circenses ) as an expression of his criticism of the people in the Roman Empire. This method was intended to temporarily keep the people calm despite the political crisis.
  • Marie Antoinette is said to have replied with "  S'ils n'ont plus de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche  " (German: "If you have no more bread, you should eat brioche ") when you reported was that the poor of the population had no bread to eat. However, this saying appears in the Confessions (German: The Confessions ) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau , written around 1766 and published in 1782 , written in her childhood and published at the French court at the time.
  • Peace, land and bread (sometimes also freedom as a fourth term ) was a central slogan of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution of 1917 , alongside All Power to the Soviets. The formula was intended to express the immediate interests of the Russian working classes: Immediate termination of the war, Solving the land question and providing the population with food.
  • In the Great Depression of the 1920s, the motto work and bread was used.
  • Central and at the same time everyday topics in politics, for example, are referred to as “bread and butter topics”.

Other meanings

The influences of the cultural-historical conception of bread can also be traced etymologically. In addition to food, the word “bread” can mean food in general and livelihood.

For example, the French word copain (friend, mate, comrade) is etymologically derived from the act of sharing bread and eating together.

Because of this multiple meanings, it became part of names such as B .:

The importance of bread in everyday farming life can be seen in many sayings, but also as part of legends.

  • “Water and bread” are a symbol of extremely meager food (for example for prisoners) or in times of need.

The price of bread was officially regulated in Austria until around the 1970s. There were fixed prices for the simple black bread 500 g and 1000 g as well as rolls. The official price for the freshly baked bread roll of 62 g (grams) was raised around 1960 from 55 to 60 and finally 62 g (groschen). When the statutory price control for rolls was lifted, the bakers' guild set the price for rolls at 65 groschen (as of June 29, 1962).

In relation to the consumer price index, the food basket in Austria was 15% cheaper in the period 1958–2010. While butter was the cheapest (-75%), bread went up the most, by a good +60%.

The German postal brings a stamp since 2018 German bread culture to 2.60 € out.

See also


Web links

Commons : Bread  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: bread  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Principles for bread and biscuits .
  2. Roth, K. (2010): Chemical delicacies . 1st edition, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. P. 108.
  3. Handbook sourdough. Biology, biochemistry, technology . Editing: Gottfried Spicher, M. Brandt. 6th edition. 2006, Behr's Verlag, ISBN 3-89947-166-0 .
  4. Previously recognized bread specialties . brotregister.de, accessed on September 27, 2015.
  5. Simone Riehl: The long way to agriculture , spectrum 2014
  6. Marta Mariotti Lippi, Bruno Foggi, Biancamaria Aranguren, Annamaria Ronchitelli, Anna Revedin: Multistep food plant processing at Grotta Paglicci (Southern Italy) around 32,600 cal BP , in: PNAS 112 no. 39 (25 September 2015) 12075–12080.
  7. Michael Stang : Lust for the green - 30,000 years ago people were processing plants into flour. In: Deutschlandfunk broadcast “ Research Current ”. October 19, 2010, accessed September 24, 2018 .
  8. Ancient weeds hint that farming may have its roots in Israel. In: The Times of Israel . July 23, 2015, accessed November 25, 2018 .
  9. University of Copenhagen (ed.): Discovered the world's oldest bread. In: scinexx.de . July 17, 2018, accessed July 17, 2018 . Bread was baked even before the agricultural era. In: Süddeutsche.de . July 17, 2018, accessed September 24, 2018 .
  10. Erwin M. Ruprechtsberger : Beer in Antiquity - An Overview (= Linzer archaeological research special issue 8). Linz 1992.
  11. Andreas G. Heiss, Angela Kreuz: Bread for the salt works - The Celtic bread from Bad Nauheim from an archaeobotanical point of view. (PDF, 2.7 MB) In: Hessen Archeology 2006: Yearbook for Archeology and Paleontology in Hessen. 2007, p. 72 , accessed on September 25, 2018 (reproduced on holzanatomie.at).
  12. https://www.welt.de/food/essen/article185047266/Beste-Reste-Winzersuppe-mit-Birne-und-Sahne.html
  13. 27 forms of culture included in the German directory of intangible cultural heritage . Press release of the Conference of Ministers of Education, on kmk.org; accessed on September 27, 2015.
  14. About sharing bread . ( Memento of the original from March 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.uni-ulm.de
  15. Grain and Bread . say.at.
  16. ^ Stenographic protocol, 190th session of the Federal Council of the Republic of Austria (PDF) June 29, 1962, p. 4549 (p. 42 of 59 of the scan).
  17. Thersia Willerdorfer: Meat Consumption in Austria from 1950–2010, Trends and Drives as an Interplay of Supply and Demand ( Memento of the original from September 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) Social Ecology Working Paper 139, ISSN 1726-3816 , April 2013, pp. 70f. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.uni-klu.ac.at 
  18. German bread culture, postage stamp at € 2.60 ( Memento of the original from December 28, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bundesfinanzministerium.de