By Naomi Buchheimer
The evolution of bread production has had roughly four major stages:
First the invention itself of roughly coarse grains soaked in water and cooked on open fires over hot rocks.
The eventual discovery of fermentation and improvement of grinding techniques allowed bakers to produce softer and palatable breads.
Then came the widespread consumption of bread and consequent economic and social organization of the process. Specialized equipment and installations required the work of skilled personnel.
And this remained pretty much the same from ancient times until right before the industrial revolution. The addition to all sorts of machinery allowed to increase the production of baked goods both sweet and savoury.
But the biggest change yet to occur came during the 1950s when the need to feed large populations saw the perfect answer in the industrial mass production of food including bread. Convenience of price, size, quantity and flavour not always came hand in hand with quality in terms of nutritional value.
One can also say that a post-industrialization contra revolution in baking came in the form of artisan baking.
Re-implementing traditional production techniques reducing and or eliminating chemical additives have now placed at the centre the nutritional and even cultural value of bread over the convenience of price, size and even availability.
This little book illustrates the excitement and advantages that industrialisation meant to food production.
The setting of the story is the visit of two excited kids to a bread factory. A baker walks them through the process humanising the production that involves more machines than men.
This is a lovely book indeed that captures the zeitgeist of its time, but we all know very well the consequences of this, the environmental impact as well as the health and dietary effects of industrialised bread, not to mention de de-skilling process of the people involved in the baking industry.
But hey! This is a free book, available to read or download in various formats at the Internet Archive website, just click here and it’s yours!