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Information  @ a Glance  

General
  • Bread has been around for centuries. Ironically, it even had a role in the settlement of Australia as many convicts were deported here for stealing bread. However, the origins of bread started well before this, nearly 12,000 years ago.
  • Bread is almost always made of wheat but in the past rye, barley, oats, rice and maize (often called Indian corn until recently) were used or mixed.
  • The first bread was probably made of coarsely crushed wild grains mixed with water and shaped into loaves that were laid on heated stones or baked by covering with hot ash. However, the earliest documentation traces bread to the Middle East, where Egyptians cultivated grains.

Process

  • Flour, water, yeast and other ingredients are mixed to form a dough. Mixing develops the gluten in the flour for optimum gas retention at later stages of proofing and baking. Mixing incorporates air into the dough. In some processes, additives included at the mixing stage reduce or eliminate fermentation time.

  • Bread staling is a complex process, and is generally defined as the increase in the crumb firmness and a parallel loss in product freshness. The most important change associated with staling of bread is the gradual increase in the firmness of crumb. It is also known that xylanases have an anti-staling action during bread storage but their action  is not clear .Knowledge about the mechanism of xylanase action  in dough and bread is still limited, probably because pentosans in flour vary between wheat types, as well as the fact that the specificity of xylanases towards  different substrates is also variable.

Technology

  • In recent years engineering innovations have developed presses with much greater capacity and improved performance. Associated with their introduction there has been a move to finer semolina granulation to accommodate increased mixing speeds and reduced mixing time, and to improve homogeneity of the extruded dough.

  • The Rapidojet process  that is, the preparation of dough by means of a high-pressure water jet  that has been recently introduced in Germany, is a real innovation. The process is based on the fact that the mere combination of water and flour will result in the immediate formation of gluten strings.

Market

  • The UK bread and morning goods market is worth almost 2.9 billion and is one of the largest sectors in the food industry. Total volume is approximately 4.4 billion units, the equivalent of over 12 million loaves and packs every single day.
  • The larger baking companies produce 80% of bread sold in the UK. In store bakeries (ISBs) within supermarkets produce about 17% and high street retail bakers produce the rest.
  • China represents a much faster-growing market for bread due to its relative nascence. Growth can be seen particularly in urban areas where, due to the increasing pace of life, many people do not have the luxury of spending an hour at breakfast.
  • Bread and biscuits constitute the largest segment of consumer foods in India. Their production is about 3.70 million tons per year.

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