On November 17, homes will fill with warm, comforting aromas reminding us to slow down and enjoy National Homemade Bread Day.
Yeast bread calls for us to slow down and spend time with each other as we work the dough and let it rest and rise before baking. Quick breads allow a special treat to share and enjoy with coffee or tea. Other homemade breads, such as donuts, pretzels, muffins and biscuits add variety to our everyday meals and making them with friend and family brings joy and an opportunity to exchange recipes.
The National Homemade Bread Committee from Ann Arbor, Michigan founded National Homemade Bread Day to encourage families to enjoy making homemade bread. The day has been celebrated since the early 1980s.
Bread is a staple food prepared by baking a dough of flour and water. It is popular around the world and is one of the world’s oldest foods.
- It takes 9 seconds for a combine to harvest enough wheat to make about 70 loaves of bread.
- Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
- An average slice of packaged bread contains only 1 gram of fat and 75 to 80 calories.
- Bread is closely tied to religious expression and communion. Hot cross buns commemorate Lent and Good Friday, Greek Easter breads are set with eggs dyed red to denote the blood of Christ, and Jewish families celebrate the coming of the Sabbath on Friday evening with challah.
- In 1997, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 36.5 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with 6 loaves of bread.
- Farmers receive approximately 5 cents (or less) from each loaf of bread sold.
- Napoleon gave a common bread its name when he demanded a loaf of dark rye bread for his horse during the Prussian campaign. “Pain pour Nicole,” he ordered, which meant “Bread for Nicole,” his horse. To Germanic ears, the request sounded like “pumpernickel,” which is the term we use today for this traditional loaf.
- In Britain, the ceremony of First Footing is traditionally observed in the early hours of New Year’s Day. A piece of bread is left outside a door, with a piece of coal and a silver coin, and is supposed to bring you food, warmth and riches in the year ahead.
- The “pocket” in pita bread is made by steam. The steam puffs up the dough and, as the bread cools and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle.
- The fastest “bun” in the West goes to a team of bakers from Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery who reclaimed the Guinness World Record in 1995. They harvested and milled wheat from the field and then mixed, scaled, shaped and baked a loaf in exactly eight minutes, 13 seconds.
- Scandinavian traditions hold that if a boy and girl eat from the same loaf, they are bound to fall in love.
- In Russia, bread (and salt) are symbols of welcome.
- Superstition says it is bad luck to turn a loaf of bread upside down or cut an unbaked loaf.
- Legend has it that whoever eats the last piece of bread has to kiss the cook.