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A brief history of humanity and bread

Updated on March 4, 2012

Proved and baked Wheat, Spelt and Rye is as old as civilization, and in my mind is the very symbol of human ingenuity. Hitler rose to power on the back of his slogan 'bread and work' which means the whole of WW2 was a consequence of a lack of bread (in my mind).

My friends tell me I'm obsessed and have a problem... at least that's what they would say if I still had any...


In the beginning...

...the big bang created matter. After a very very long time this matter swirled around and formed into dense clouds which eventually got extremely hot and formed something similar to a star. From there other elements and compounds were forged out of the heat until the earth was created in a similar fashion.

The reason the earth was created was to enable the evolution of humans and the reason behind the evolution of humans was so that they would create bread (or at least that is how I see it).

The Origin of Bread

I don't know the name of the chap who made the first loaf, but I have a theory about this:

Wheat, Rye, Spelt or Barely are the main types of bread making flour. These miraculous plants evolved and grew naturally, without any human intervention whatsoever, the bits we grind up into flour are the plants seeds.

One day the first human to ever make make bread was wondering along with his head down, concentrating hard whilst tracking a herd of goats or bison or something similar when he notices something very exciting.

Inside and round the hoof prints these seeds had become trampled and mashed up! It was a bit wet too and the mashed up Wheat, Rye, Spelt or Barely had begun of its own accord to make bubbles and little air holes.

This was however interesting of no use to the said human and he decided to hunker down and make a fire for the evening. Upon waking in the morning he tried in vain to restart the fire.

In anger he kicked the ashes dispersing them. He was hungry and tired and just wanted a nice bit of bison meat for breakfast.

Upon dispersing the ashes I can only assume that this human noticed something underneath the embers and inside the hoof prints! Had the fire cooked the strange mashed up mixture of Wheat, Rye, Spelt or Barely? Was it edible?

The human picked up this strange hard mixture and looking around reaffirmed to himself that it was just mashed up seeds and he ate seeds all the time! Putting it to his mouth he took a small bite, then a bigger one, then devoured the whole thing!

It wasn't amazing but he realised he had all of the food he wants in the fields around him! And so bread was born!

A group of human males attacking a midget... the same creatures are the creators of bread
A group of human males attacking a midget... the same creatures are the creators of bread


...bread became the staple of most civilizations. And until the late 19th - early 20th century we could only make it with natural yeast; known to day as Sourdough Starter.

Wheat flour, the dominant flour in modern times (because it carries more gluten and is lighter in texture), was not always so. The Romans used Spelt flour almost exclusively and the Vikings for example used Barley.

The Victorians we know used to add saw dust to their bread when they had a bad harvest or were simply running out just to bulk it out a bite.

Without bread civilisation might not have got very far at all. Flour if stored correctly can last all year and can be activated by simply adding water, leaving it to bubble for a day then feeding it! You can use this as yeast immediately, though it tastes nice if left to mature for a few days! Use half and feed it every day or so and you can keep a ready supply of yeast and flour for years on end!

If you wished to create something that hasn't changed in 7000 years or more then make or buy some spelt flour bread... sure its got salt and a few other nice things in it now, but you are still basically that cave man creating a loaf of bread and it is still a staple today!


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    • nakmeister profile image

      nakmeister 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Good hub, I like your theory about the origin of bread. If I had a suggestion it would be to go into a bit more detail in a few areas. Like after the first discovery of bread how did it develop, how did people cook it, what about changes in the last century or two that lead to bread we see in supermarkets today. Maybe these ideas are for other hubs rather than this one, but I like your quirky style and would like to read more!

    • Matthew Kirk profile image

      Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

      Might be right there Trish, have heard the same said about many dairy products strangely. Thanks for your interest though :)

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 5 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      Very entertaining ~ though, as you say, the wheat flour we have today has changed quite a bit from the natural flours of old and they may not suit our digestive systems quite so well.

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      lol, nicely put... Not sure where the story ends, and where the facts begin, but still pretty interesting.

      Voting up!

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      Interesting hub. A lot of facts mixed with a little speculation.