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HISTORY OF BAKING

Very few people know the history of creating sweets and pastries. The first evidence
of creating sweets and pastries dates back to pre-historic times. Initially, the sweets
were created to soften the Gods anger and achieve their compassion. Later on, the
sweets and desserts were created mostly for festivities and celebrations.

It is hard to indicate the exact date of inventing the cakes and pastries, yet it is
possible that the Egyptians may have actually learned the process of making sweets
from the Babylonians. An ancient painting dated 1175 B.C. pictures the ceremony of
making bread and cakes in the palace of the king Rameses III. It is also known that
sweets made of sugar were merchandized in Egypt in 700 B.C.

We prepare and decorate specialty cakes for different occasions, such as: weddings,
baptizing, engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, etc. The Christmas
cakes were created back in XVIII century A.D. The Christmas cakes were initially
created like Twelfth Night cake. Two slices of cake were baked separately; in one
slice they hid a kidney bean, in the other one a split pea. Men ate the cake with the
kidney bean, and the man who found the bean became the king of the festivity.
Women ate the cake with the split pea, and the woman who found the split pea,
became the queen of the festivity.

The tradition of making the wedding cakes dates back to old Roman historic period.
The little fruit cakes were sacrificed to Roman Gods, made of honey, fruit and nuts.
The Romans decorated the head of the bride with wedding cakes in order to attract
the compassion and blessing of Gods. This tradition was introduced in England by
Julius Caesar in 54 B.C. Initially, only the rich families could afford this tradition, the
poor families were throwing wheat grain or corn for future prosperity of the family.

The first decorated cakes were created in England during the reign of Queen
Elizabeth I. However, the cakes were not actually decorated, they looked like buns
covered with almond frosting (later called marzipan frosting). In 1660 A.D. when
King Charles II returned to throne, he invited few professional bakers, who later
suggested to cover the buns with frosting made of sugar power and decorated
these buns with various berries and other items. In XVIII A.D. in Italy it became very
popular to make little decorative figurines out of sugar. Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini,
the famous Italian sculptor-architect of the 17th century, on different occasions used
to make his masterpieces out of sugar. Nowadays, the cakes are decorated with
flowers, figurines, bids, etc.

COMMON BAKING INGREDIENTS


FLOUR
Flour is a basic ingredient in all bread making. Wheat flour is the most common type
of flour used when baking with yeast. Wheat flours include bread flour, all-purpose
flour and whole wheat flour. When wheat flour is mixed with liquid, proteins in the
flour combine to form gluten. As the gluten is manipulated in the kneading process,
it becomes elastic and forms the structure of the dough. This structure, or network
of gluten strands, captures the carbon dioxide gas produced by the yeast allowing
the dough to rise and expand.
Bread flour contains the highest amount of gluten-forming proteins. Bread flour is
the ideal for yeast-raised breads. All-purpose flour has a lower amount of proteins,
making a weaker gluten network. All-purpose flour does not always withstand the
actions of a mixer or bread machine. Whole-wheat flour contains only a small
amount of gluten-forming proteins. Breads made with 100% whole-wheat flour will
be heavier and dense. Substituting in some bread flour will provide more gluten,
making the bread lighter and airier.
LIQUIDS
Liquids hydrate and dissolve yeast granules, blend and bind ingredients together,
and mix with the flour to form gluten. The type of liquid used and the temperature it
is used at will have a great impact on the overall quality of your yeast-leavened
bread. For traditional baking use liquid temperatures 110F 115F when dissolving
dry yeast directly in liquids, and use 120F 130F liquids when adding dry yeast
directly to your other dry ingredients. For bread machine baking, use liquid
temperatures at 80F. Using a thermometer is the most accurate way to determine
the correct liquid temperature. Any thermometer will work as long as it measures
temperatures between 75F and 130F. Liquids that are too hot will kill the yeast,
and liquids that are too cold will slow down or stop yeast activity.
SALT
Salt regulates the rate of yeast activity, providing a slow, steady rise. This allows
the yeast to develop the characteristic bread flavor. Salt strengthens the gluten
structure of the dough, not allowing the trapped carbon dioxide bubbles to expand
too quickly. This helps produce bread with fine texture and grain. Salt also enhances
the flavor of your product.
SWEETENERS
Sugar provides food for yeast, which converts it to carbon dioxide and alcohol;
sugar enhances bread flavor; gives the crust a golden color; improves the crumb
texture; and helps retain moisture in bread. White sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn
syrup and molasses can be interchanged equally in bread dough. Artificial

sweeteners do not provide food for the yeast so they cannot be used in breads to
perform the same function as sugar does.
FATS
Fats include butter, margarine, oil and shortening. They add richness, moisture and
make the bread tender.
EGGS
Eggs make yeast breads richer, help provide color and volume and also bind the
ingredients together.

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