Pop Cultured: The rise of bread

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As Oprah once said “I love bread”. This is a sentiment that many people can agree with. In today’s rendition of Pop Cultured, author Amy Chen, takes us on an adventure of the loaves of other coasts. Photo courtesy of The Code Wire.

Crouton, pretzel, croissant, baguette, cornbread, roti, rolls, naan, rye, the possibilities are almost endless. Essentially, it’s just flour and water, but there are so many different types of bread. Bread was thought to have originated 10,000 years ago in Egypt. However, this was proven wrong in 2018 when an archaeologist discovered a burned piece of bread in now Jordan and estimated that the bread was made around 14,000 years ago, according to National Geographic. 

This changed the perspective on bread and agriculture. Originally, it was believed that people were farmers before bakers, but the discovery showed that our ancestors were possibly bakers first, according to an NPR article titled, “14,000-Year-Old Piece Of Bread Rewrites The History Of Baking And Farming.” Over time, baking spread to many different countries and was made with all sorts of variations.  

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Challah is a braided bread that is usually eaten on Jewish holidays like Sabbath. Photo courtesy of Med Koerlig Hilsen.

Challah is a braided bread that is usually eaten on Jewish holidays like Sabbath. The weekly Saturday Sabbath is traditionally a time to take a break from work and study the Torah, a text of teachings and revelations in the Judaism, according to an article about Challah on the web site My Jewish Learning. The Challah symbolized food given from the gods on Fridays to Israelites during their Exodus from Egypt. This is called the Manna. When Challah is made, a white napkin covers the Challah to symbolize the dew collected during the morning of Manna, sesame seeds symbolizes how food fell from heaven, according to the site. Challah has many different sizes and shapes, but usually has three, four or six braids to symbolize love because the braids looked like hugs, the roundedness of the bread means continuity, according to the site.  

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Roti is a staple bread native to India and Pakistan. Due to European colonization, the bread also followed countries like South Africa and regions like Southeast Asia. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Roti is a staple bread native to India and Pakistan. Due to European colonization, the bread also followed countries like South Africa and regions like Southeast Asia. According to the web site of Colorado restaurant The Urban Tandoor, roti is made without yeast. Naan is also another popular flatbread  that may sound similar to a roti but they are not the exact same. Rotis are made of whole wheat flour and eaten with vegetables and meat, but naan is a bread that has yeast and is thicker. Naan usually has filling inside according to the site. Rotis are known to not have any flavor because they are meant to be paired with spicy and flavorful foods.  

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Pão de Queijo, also known as cheese bread, is a longtime favorite snack in Brazil, according to a site titled, “History of Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread).” Pão means “bread,” de means “of” and “queijo” means cheese. Photo courtesy of GourmandiseBrasil.

Pão de Queijo, also known as cheese bread, is a longtime favorite snack in Brazil, according to a site titled, “History of Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread).” Pão means “bread,” de means “of” and “queijo” means cheese. There are two theories to the beginnings of Pão de Queijo. One theory is that Pão de Queijo was created by slaves during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil. Slaves were left with the scraps of meat and vegetables so when given the scraps of Yuca plant, they baked it. Later as slavery was abolished, Brazilians added cheese and milk into the mixture. 

Another theory is that Pão de Queijo was created in Minas Gerais, a state in Southeastern Brazil. It was believed that the Portuguese brought over flour for wealthy families in Brazil where they made Pão de Queijo. Today it is still a very popular bread snack in Brazil for both Brazilians and tourists. 

These are just a few of the endless variations of bread, showing that regardless of its origin, bread has cemented its place in different cultures around the world. 

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