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Breads are perhaps one of the oldest fabricated easy baking foods in the world, arguably, the earliest findings dating back as far as 30000 years ago! Although, the first breads more resembled paste, rather than anything we know today. It was made from roasted and ground grains and water. Whether a result of deliberate experimentation or accidental cooking is debatable; no evidence has thus far been found to support or disprove either theory.
Although, it is believed that descendants of this paste-bread are still found in the world today in naan bread or even the Scottish oatcake!
However, bread didn't enter our diets as something staple until the Neolithic age, nor was it the easy baking product it is today. It was around 10000 years ago, when barley and wheat became some of the first plants to be domesticated from the South West of Asia to North Africa, Europe and the Indian Subcontinent. Around the same time, other cereals such as rice and maize were being cultivated in other parts of the world and also made a good source to make bread variants of.
Indeed, bread was at the cradle of civilization as we know it, because building crops in large volumes, allowed more people to live closer together. And in turn, that caused the first economies to blossom and civilized living to develop.
Naturally, refining of the end product happened over time. As people cluttered together to form villages, towns and eventually cities, new inventions were made to improve not only utensils, but also the recipes themselves. Not only that, but did you know that up until the 15th century, bread was used as a plate. This stale bread was called a trencher. It would soak up the juices of whatever it was you were eating, and when you were done, the bread, now filled with food juices, was edible. Mind you, after a large meal, the bread was more often than not either donated to the poor, or given to the dogs.
On the downside, bread could - up until the 20th century - be quite the hazard to eat! With recessions and wars, some ingredients were scarce. As a result of this, some bakers would adulterate bread dough by adding sawdust, chalk, plaster and even ammonium!
But rest assured such practices no longer happen in this day and age. Especially when you make your own with an easy baking recipe! Of course, there are still many changes in the world of bread; the most recent happened in the last century even. Whereas white bread used to be reserved for the rich, as only they could afford the finely sifted flour it required while the poor ate wholegrain loaves. We now know that wholegrain is in fact better for you, with more nutritional value, thus making wholegrain the more expensive, whilst we now ascribe white bread to the poor, or nutritionally uneducated.
Sure enough, bread has evolved as we have, alongside us as an ever faithful companion. However, even through the ages, one thing remains the same. Bread is versatile, bread can be nutritious but above all, bread is simply delicious!
- 1 cup of margarine, softened
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 6 bananas, mashed
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 3 cups of regular flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup of light sour cream
- 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C (using the oven without the hot air fan would be best, but it's not the end of the world). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
2) In a large bowl, mix together the margarine, the sugar and the eggs. Stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Sift in the flour, the baking soda and cocoa and mix well. Blend in the sour cream and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
3) Bake in your preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean.
4) Once done, open the oven door slowly, letting too much cool air in at too high a rate will cause your fresh bread to collapse! Leave to cool until room temperature before serving.
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