In ancient history, the first evidence of baking occurred when humans took wild grass grains, soaked it in water, and mixed everything together, mashing it into a kind of broth-like paste. Then, the paste was cooked by pouring it onto a flat, hot rock, resulting in a bread-like substance. Later, this paste was roasted on hot embers, which made bread-making easier, as it could now be made anytime fire was created. Around 2500 B.C., records show that the Egyptians already had bread, and may have actually learned the process from the Babylonians. The Greek Aristophanes, around 400 B.C., also recorded information that showed that tortes with patterns and honey flans existed in Greek cuisine. Dispyrus was also created by the Greeks around that time and widely popular; was a donut-like bread made from flour and honey and shaped in a ring; soaked in wine, it was eaten when hot.
In the Roman Empire, baking flourished widely. In about 300 B.C., the pastry cook became an occupation for Romans (known as the pastillarium). This Became a very highly respected profession because pastries were considered decadent, and Romans loved festivity and celebration. Thus, pastries were often cooked especially for large banquets, and any pastry cook who could invent new types of tasty treats, unseen at any other banquet, was highly prized. Around 1 A.D., there were more than three hundred pastry chefs in Rome alone, and Cato wrote about how they created all sorts of diverse foods, and flourished because of those foods. Cato speaks of an enormous amount of breads; included amongst these are the libum (sacrificial cakes made with flour), placenta (groats and cress), spira (our modern day flour pretzels), scibilata (tortes), savaillum (sweet cake), and globus apherica (fritters). A great selection of these, with many different variations, different ingredients, and varied patterns, were often found at banquets and dining halls. To bake bread, the Romans used an oven with its own chimney and had grain mills to grind grain into flour.
Eventually, because of Rome, the art of baking became widely known throughout Europe, and eventually spread to the eastern parts of Asia. Bakers often baked goods at home and then sold them in the streets-children loved their goods. In fact, this scene was so common that Rembrandt illustrated a work that depicted a pastry chef selling pancakes in the streets of Germany, and young children surrounding him, clamoring to get a sample. In London, pastry chef sold their goods in handcarts, which were very convenient shops on wheels. This way, they developed a system of "delivery" baked goods to people's households, and the demand for baked goods increased greatly as a result. Finally, in Paris, the first open-air café of baked goods was developed, and baking became an established art throughout the entire world.
There are generally eight basic types of breads:
- Homemade Yeast Breads
- Basic Batter Breads
- Bread Machine Baking
- French Bread
- Italian Bread, Pizza, & Flatbreads
- Sourdough Starter Breads
- Sponge Starter Breads
- Yeasted Quick Breads (Pancakes/Waffles)
Cake is a term with a long history (the word is of Viking origin, from the Old Norse kaka) and denotes a baked flour confection sweetened with sugar or honey; it is mixed with eggs and often, but not invariably, with milk and fat; and it has a porous texture from the mixture rising during cooking. It is not surprising that the frontiers between cake and bread, biscuit and bun are indistinct. The progenitor of all is bread in its simplest form. As techniques for baking and leavening developed, and eating patterns changed, what were originally regarded as froms of bread came to be seen as categories of their own and named accordingly. Certain Roman breads, enriched with eggs and butter, must have achieved a cakelike consistency and thus approached one of these indistinct frontiers.
Europe and places such as North America where European influence is strong have always been the center of cakes. One might even draw a line more tightly, fourn English-speaking areas. No other language has a word that means exactly the same as the English 'cake.' The continental European gateau and torte often contain higher proportions of butter, eggs and enriching ingredients such as chocolate, and often lean towaars pastry rathern than cake. Central and East European items such as baba and the Easter kulich are likewise different.
The western tradition of cakes applies little in Asia. In some countries western-style cakes have been adopted on a small scale, for example the small sponge cakes called kasutera in Japan. But the 'cakes' which are important in Asian are quite different from anything occidental for examples, mooncakes and rice cakes of the Philippines.
The history of cakes, goes a long way back. Among the remains found in Swiss lake villages were crude cakes make from roughly crushed gains, moistened, compacted and cooked on a hot stone. Such cakes can be regarded as a form of unleavened bread, as the precursor of all modern European baked products. Some modern survivors of these mixtures still go by the name 'cake', for instance oatcakes, although these are now considreed to be more closely related to biscuits by virtue of their flat, thin shape and brittle texture.
Ancient Egypt was the first
culture to show evidence of true skill in
bakin, making many kinds of bread including
some sweetened with hone. The Greeks had a
form of cheesecake and the Romans developed
early versions of fruitcakes with raisins,
nuts and other fruits. These ended up in 14th
century Britain. Chaucer mentions immense
cakes made for special occasions. One was
made with 13 kilograms of flour and contained
butter, cream, eggs, spices, currants and
Cranberry Orange Quickbread