While some worship it, others avoid it

Our relationship with bread has suffered some lurches in the last fifty years. His presence at the tables was unquestionable before. Various daily rituals gave it an almost religious value: before cutting a piece of bread, it was marked with a sign of the cross, and when a piece of bread fell to the ground, it was kissed. He then went on to be reviled, to be unfairly attributed a contribution to obesity.

In recent years he has regained some fame. Bakeries and varieties of bread have proliferated, highlighting their gastronomic value. And the use of primitive wheats such as kamut or spelled and other unusual cereals have made it an emblem of a genuine, non-ultra-processed product, and linked to a “natural and healthy” diet. However, the demonization of refined flours and intolerance to gluten have generated rejection among certain consumers —even those who are not intolerant.

Very varied preparations are called bread, which differ not only in composition but also in shape and texture. The fundamental distinction is between simply baked breads and leavened breads.

Cooked breads have as their basic ingredient a cereal (wheat, corn, rice) or another product that can be ground (buckwheat), which is mixed with water and baked. The heating element can be simply a stone heated in a fire, an oven, or a frying pan or saucepan. The result is a wafer that can be eaten alone, as a wrapper for other foods (Mexican tacos) or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Wafers of this type, called biscuits, were highly valued for their long conservation and were carried on fishing or transport vessels since ancient times.

In breads obtained by fermentation (which were already made in Egypt about 14,000 years ago), the determining factor is the yeasts, which operate as a leavening agent: they break down part of the carbohydrates in the dough and generate carbon dioxide, which , when retained, increases its volume. Basically, there are two types of leavening agents: chemical and biological.

Saber més