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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Arepas

ok ok, for Venezuelans these are the “oh my gosh, i miss my country” ones. And the picture surely talks by itself.

arepas!

arepas!

Arepas are Venezuelan everyday bread. They are not really bread since their principal ingredient is corn flour, no wheat at all, but the usage is exactly the same. They resemble Mexican tostadas, but these are unique!

Their round shape makes them perfect to filled them up with whatever you might find in your fridge or simple as butter and cheese.

These from the picture have black beans (home made), white “cotija” cheese and avocado. Simply delicious.

harina-panArepas are made from a dough with Harina Pan (pre-cooked white corn meal), water and salt, but i always add other cereals as oats, wheat germ, quinoa, etc., to make them more nutritious and a little more different. Do you want to try?

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dsc02154

englsih muffins

Have you ever eaten home made english muffins?

Most of us have not!

and why is that? because you find them packed in the supermarket, knowing they are good enough.

But if an industrial english muffin taste great, imagine these ones hand kneaded  and baked at home. It’s so rewarding to see a recipe come out to look and taste like the real thing.

They have the perfect size just to eat enough or to become a glutton and eat them all!!

butter, honey,  jam, some cheese, eggs, vegetables…anything goes with these fluffy friends that Hestia just love to bake!

Originally eaten by the “downstairs” servants in England’s Victorian society, the English muffin surfaced and rose to prominence in Great Britain when members of all classes of society became aware of its goodness. The family baker made English muffins from leftover bread and biscuit dough scraps and mashed potatoes. He fried the batter on a hot griddle, creating light, crusty muffins for the servants. Once members of the “upstairs” family tasted these rich muffins, they began to request them for themselves – especially during teatime.

As a result of the English muffin becoming the “most fancied” bread on the isle, English muffin factories sprang up all over England. Muffin men could be heard in the streets selling their muffins from wooden trays slung around their necks. For teatime in private homes and clubs, the English muffins would be split and toasted over an open fire and served in a covered sterling dish alongside tea. The popularity of the English muffin reached its zenith in Great Britain during the years preceding World War I.

english muffin

yum!

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Ramses III Bakery

Ramses III Bakery

Bread, the result of baking dough made of wheat and water, has been one of the most important and complete foods for humanity. Back in the old days, milled wheat converted in bread was more like a cookie, flat, hard and crunchy, perfect to be used as a piece of cutlery, as Mid East cultures do.

It is certainly true that humans had eaten wheat since ancient times, but it is not until 4.500 years ago, approximately, that Egyptians started to make spongy bread similar to the one we all know today. Probably, the process where dough raises and, after baking, the result is a soft, fluffy bread, was discovered by chance when a Egyptian baker baked an old dough left forgotten for few days, being this one fermented by yeast spores and bacteria in the air, having as a result a fluffy bread. Greeks improved baker’s techniques creating stone ovens with domo shapes and adding other cereals, like barley, to dough. In turn, Romans were developing milling and kneading processes with which you could have a whiter, softer and high quality bread to consume.

Being bread so important for human diet, bakers were cared and respected. All knowledge and secrets were transmitted from father to son. It is said that by Jesus era, there were more than 300 bakeries. And with different European cultures being born, bread had a creative growth. Each nation, each region and each village “invented” their own special and unique bread, combining basic ingredients (wheat, salt, water) with new ones like sugar, grease, milk, eggs, fruits, etc. in different proportions, having as a result all those breads that we all crave for: Panettone, Brioche, Boa, Golfeados, among other thousand…

Modern times and industrialization brought big advances for baking. Roll mills were invented that were capable to separate wheat germ and bran automatically. Such things increased gradually the flour production capacity compared to the one made by old round millstones. New flour could be stored for longer periods of time without getting rancid and have a whiter bread because flour were now mostly constituted by the wheat seed endosperm. Gas and oil ovens were invented such as intense kneading machines.

Industrialization brought a massive white bread production to the detriment of flavor and aroma. During the 70’s in the U.S. and Europe a new movement was born that promoted the return of usage of natural ingredients trying to reduce and eliminate colorants, chemicals, additives and other artificial products that were very common back in those days.

This naturist movement had a huge impact on bread production. Gradually, some chemicals and additives in flours were forbidden. Quality of harvest wheat has increased because of the return of free chemicals cultivation. U.S. and Europe started to grow organic wheat, which had ancestral origin not genetically modified and no insecticides in its cultivation. Organic or biological bread is smaller, less white and a 50% more expensive than industrial bread, but for most people, this is the bread we preferred.

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