Hardly anything smells more delicious than freshly baked bread. Bread has been baked all over the world for thousands of years, and its popularity remains intact. Therefore, we are celebrating “World Bread Day” this October.
The World Celebrates Bread
Bread is an important, high-quality food, and an important cultural asset. Knowledge and artisanship are passed on from generation to generation. In 2006, October 16th was declared Bread Day. This is a reference to the founding day of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on October 16, 1945, in Quebec, Canada. The importance of bread in global nutrition gained attention worldwide thanks to the promotion of this international day. October 16th is also “World Food Day” (formerly “World Hunger Day”).
Actions for the World Day of Bread 2020
Due to worldwide contact restrictions, in 2020, the year of the global corona crisis, the international bread day is not being celebrated as it usually is. Especially since the world is avoiding events with a high level of audience participation. Nonetheless, bakers all over the world are keen to draw attention to the high art of bread baking, their products, and their craft in general on their holiday. Many bakeries around the world create incredible loaves of bread in celebration of this day. New and interesting varieties are sold to customers and distributed to passers-by and in social institutions. Sustainable, reusable bread bags are also a popular promotional gift.
Bread Baking: A Tradition Going Back Thousands of Years
All over the world, there are various types of bread. Depending on the region, they differ in both production and taste. As early as the Stone Age, oats and barley were demonstrably ground into flour, mixed with water, and probably boiled or baked to make the flour edible. Bread baking was revolutionized by the discovery of how yeasts work. If you leave unbaked bread dough standing, they ensure that it rises because of fermentation processes that take place in the air. This method of sourdough fermentation is thousands of years old. Other doughs manage without fermentation. Flatbread, for example, goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians. They were already baking it during the 5th millennium before Christ. Crushed or ground grain, mixed with water, was baked on a hot stone to create a thin flatbread. In Europe, the production of flatbread from millet, barley, and wheat has been known since the 3rd millennium before Christ.
International Bread Specialties
Following this model, many flatbreads are still made today, like the unleavened Turkish flatbread, which is still traditionally prepared without yeast and baked on pebbles on the wall of the oven. Nowadays, yeast is added to many flatbreads to make them rise better. For example, Arabic flatbreads like Chubz can be opened like a bag and filled. The thin loaves of bread made in India and Pakistan are like Naan, Puri, and Papadam are often strongly spiced. Injera, the soft, soured flatbread made of teff flour, is traditionally eaten in Ethiopia and Eritrea. In Italy people like to eat focaccia. In the alpine region, Schüttelbrot and Vinschgauer are popular. The Swedes are known for their crispbread and in the American region, tortillas are extremely popular. There, the flat dough made of corn or wheat flour is filled with meat or vegetables.
Recipe Ideas for Bread Salad, Bread Pudding, and More
Bread is not solely enjoyed pure, topped, or filled. There are many recipe ideas for other exciting ways of preparing bread. For example, a hearty bread salad can be conjured up from bread cut into cubes. The bread cubes are roasted in a frying pan, with diced tomatoes and parsley added. A dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig mustard, and salt and pepper makes the dish complete. For a bread soup, crumble the bread into small pieces and lightly toast it. Add broth and spices such as lovage, salt, and pepper. Bring to the boil and finally puree with a hand blender. Hearty bread casseroles made pumpkin, mushrooms, ham, or cheese are also delicious. Sweet fruits, nuts, sugar, and chocolate are ingredients for sweet bread pudding. For the specialty “Poor Knights” or “French Toast”, old slices of bread are dipped into a mixture of milk and eggs, baked in a pan, and served with sugar and cinnamon. Additionally, there are any recipes for refined bread cakes.
Germans are Some of the Greatest Bread Lovers in the World
The Germans are regarded all over the world as particularly fanatical bread lovers and bakers. The reason for this is probably the high diversity of grain in the country. Rye, spelt, and wheat are largely processed here. There are roughly 3,200 different types of bread in the country. The most popular bread of the Germans is mixed bread, followed by toast bread. In third place is bread made with various grains. According to the bakers’ guild, every household in the country consumes about 55 kilograms of bread and baked goods annually. Every year a bread of the year is chosen. In 2020, wholegrain rye bread will be allowed to bear this honorable title.
All Bakers Appointed as Ambassadors of Bread
In addition to the World Day of Bread, the Germans have their own day of honor. Every May, German Bread Day is proclaimed. The German bread culture is celebrated in many activities all around bread. Normally, the Central Association of the German Bakery Trade chooses a new “Ambassador of German Bread” every year. This year, the title was exceptionally awarded to all 6,500 guild bakers in the country in recognition of their perseverance.
Losses in the Bakery Trade due to the Corona Crisis
For most people, the Corona crisis brought on hard times, even for the bakery trade. The industry has to cope with high losses. The Central Association of the German Bakery Trade expects sales in Germany to fall by 13 percent, or more than 1 billion euros. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, many people did without the usual daily trip to the bakery. Bakery cafés had to close completely during the shutdown. Many people began to bake their beloved bread at home themselves. Despite this, the bakers continued to provide basic supplies even under the difficult conditions, supported social institutions with fundraising campaigns, set up delivery services, and with many a funny baking idea, made their customers smile in turbulent times.
Unusual Bread Types are Increasingly Popular
“Fancy breads” with unusual ingredients and unusual appearance are rising in popularity. Bakeries are now displaying more and more colorful loaves of bread by using color-intensive ingredients such as turmeric, sepia ink, or blueberries are used. Breads with rhubarb, tomatoes, olives, apricots, or even blood sausage and edible flowers are also well-liked. There are hardly any limits to the imagination, just as long as it tastes good.
Funny Baking Ideas in Times of Crisis
Fantasy beyond bread also proved the baker Timo Kortüm from Dortmund in Germany. His bakery lost some important sources of income during the crisis. For example, there was no longer a need for catering, such as ordering sandwiches for events, and the demand for elaborate wedding and birthday cakes also dwindled considerably. The Dortmunder became creative and invented the “toilet paper cake,” which was a response to the bulk purchases in Germany. Because in other countries, people filled their pantries with long-life preserves. In Germany, on the other hand, toilet paper rolls on supermarket shelves had become scarce in spring at the beginning of the pandemic. Everyone was afraid that they would run out of toilet paper at home during the shutdown.
Sales Hit: Toilet Paper Cake
The Dortmund bakery produced cakes with the appearance of a single roll of toilet paper. First, they bake a small cake in the shape of an upright cylinder, which is about the size of a standard toilet paper roll. This, is a traditional marble cake. Next, it is covered in several layers of white sugar fondant with a matching pattern, just like the real toilet paper. The Dortmund baker’s funny idea was imitated all over the country. Toilet paper cakes sold like loaves of bread. In some neighboring countries like Poland, similar cakes and tarts became bestsellers. How nice that in times of crisis, people are bringing forth new innovative ideas. And humor is good medicine for these difficult times…
Cover: ©StockFood / Nicolai Buroh / 12371608