New answers tagged sugar
Yeast can start faster given simpler carbohydrates (not just plain sugar but also milk sugar and dextrose). However, it breaks down starch into such simpler sugars with some of its enzymes anyway. Since most of the leavening is supposed to happen after the loaves have been properly worked and formed, fast fermentation is not all that desirable anyway for ...
Perhaps they made unleavened bread, like chapatis, tortillas and pitas?
Sugared bread is something mostly specific to the US. There might be a little sugar in European bread, but not much. From a personal opinion as a Belgian, I have to say that the few time I ate sugared bread (Harry's American bread), I found that it completely ruined the taste of the condiment on my bread, as well as make the bread less suitable to be used ...
I assume, by sugar you mean sucrose. However, yeast actually prefers glucose and maltose, see nutritional requirements of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and also proofing. Luckily, we get glucose and maltose "for free" from the flour, see this article on bread chemistry: Flour naturally contains both α- and β-amylases, which between them break down some of ...
Making bread without sugar is nothing strange - I do so several times a week! The wheat flour (or whatever you're using) contains enzymes which, when you blend it with water, breaks down starch to sugars which fermenting agents such as yeast or lactobacilli can feed off. The Wikipedia page on sourdough has more info.
You do not need sugar to make bread. The majority of traditional, rustic breads use just 4 ingredients - water, yeast, flour, and salt. Consequently, rising times are slower (usually resulting in better flavour) and the bread goes stale quicker (hence, for example, the French practice of buying fresh bread every day). Sugar softens bread by slowing gluten ...
I would assume the sugar is added for more "optimized" and foolproof bread making (industrialized) It is not necessary at all. Also in the "old time", people had access to other types of sugar ( honey,fruits, ... ) and as far as I known, big fluffy bread is quite recent in the history of time.
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