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The trade of the baker is one of the oldest crafts in the world. Loaves and rolls have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.  Bread, both leavened and unleavened, is mentioned in the Bible many times.

In the Stone Age, people made solid cakes from stone-crushed barley and wheat. A millstone used for grinding corn has been found, thought to be 7,500 years old.

Bread was leavened. The hurried departure of the Israelites from Egypt prevented their bread being leavened as usual. Jews today commemorate this event by eating unleavened bread on Passover.

The ruins of Pompeii and other buried cities have revealed the kind of bakeries existing in those historic times. There were public bakeries where the poorer people brought their bread to be baked.

Yeast, as a leavening agent (for brewing ale too) was used in Egypt as early as 4000 B.C.  Grown in Mesopotamia and Egypt, wheat was likely first merely chewed. Later it was discovered that it could be pulverized and made into a paste. Set over a fire, the paste hardened into a flat bread that kept for several days. It did not take much of a leap to discover leavened (raised) bread when yeast was accidentally introduced to the paste.


Middle Eastern flatbreads are perhaps the oldest breads known. There are many different flatbreads baked throughout the Middle East , in various shapes and sizes, and in textures ranging from soft to crisp .




There are two words for bread in Hebrew. Lechem (ch as in Scottish Loch) and challah. Lechem is the everyday bread that comes in all sort of varieties and shapes, and Challah, which is the special and reserved for the Sabbath and for holidays. It is not fast rising, but it is jewish. It is often referred to as 'egg bread' since the recipe usually has a large amount of eggs.


It was the Eastern European immigrants who put challah on the gastronomical map in Israel. In biblical times, Sabbath bread was probably more like a pita. Through the ages and as Jews moved to different lands the loaves varied.


A round challa at 'Rosh Hashanah' (New year) became a symbol of life and is formed in a circle to signify the desire for a long life. 

There are as many recipies of Challa as there are cooks. Different ethnic traditions call for differences in the recipies. One version is sprinkling sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the top of the bread before baking .








Pita is a round flat wheat bread made with yeast. Pita and other flat or pocket bread is the staple bread of the Middle East and North Africa (the Maghreb) and is believed to have originated in Ancinet Syria. It is also called Lebanese, Syrian or Arabic bread.

Pita is used to scoop sauces or dips as hummus and tahini and to  wrap sandwiches such as kebab, falafel or gyros (Greek) . Most pita breads are baked at high temperatures causing the flattened rounds dough to puff up. Once removed from the oven, the baked dough remains separated inside the deflated pita. This allows pita bread to be sliced and opened into pockets, creating a space for various ingredients to be stuffed inside.


The Bagel is a food traditionally in the form of a roughly hand sized ring which is boiled and then baked. It often features salt, poppy or sesame seeds baked on the outer crust. A related bread product is a bialy, which has no hole, often onion or garlic flavored, and is less crispy on the outside.

The often repeated story says that the bagel originated in 1683, when a baker from Vienna created them as a gift to King Jan Sobieski of Poland to commemorate the King's victory over the Turks that year. More prosaically, the name may simply originate from the Yiddish word 'bugel' , meaning a round loaf of bread .


Tip: To properly revive a refrigerated or frozen bagel to fresh baked status, remove bagel from the fridge, moisten surface with water. Cover with Aluminum foik and bake the bagel some minutes. 



For thousands of years, bread has been such a vital thing to man that it is no wonder that it has gathered around itself a folklore of its own.

In many countries it is thought that a loaf baked on Good Friday morning and kept until the following year is an effective medicine against stomach disorders. The patient grates a little of the stale loaf into water, drinks it, and hopes for the best.

Among the deep sea fishermen, many superstitions still live on. One concerning bread is that when a member of the crew is lost overboard, a slice of bread with a lighted candle on it is put over the side and floated away to comfort the spirit of the drowned man.

Many housewives who made and baked thier bread at home made the sign of the cross upon each loaf, perhaps to bring good luck, or to guard against bad luck.

Tradition recounts how Marie Antoinette, on hearing the tumult of popular protest echoing in the gilded salons of the Tuileries, asked what was the cause of the noise. "They have no bread, Your Majesty" was the answer. Her famous reply  "Let them eat brioche".

Bagel chips are a snack food variant on the bagel.

Bread - Means of support, livelihood, earn one's bread.

Through much of history, a person's social station could be discerned by the color of bread they consumed. The darker the bread, the lower the social station. This was because whiter flours were more expensive and harder for millers to adulterate with other products. Today, we have seen a reversal of this trend when darker breads are more expensive and highly prized for their taste as well as their nutritional value.


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