History of Bread
Since the ancient times – several thousands of years ago – people have been enjoying bread. Initially, fresh grains were eaten that eventually were milled and with adding some water something similar to paste was created. Later on, when people became aware of how to form scones from this paste and bake them, the first “real” bread was made. However, many years had to pass until people started to make bread from the yeast dough.
Bread, showing endearment the word in Latvian is often used in a diminutive form, has always been honored and appreciated. Rye and barley bread (later on wheat bread as well) has given the necessary strength to Latvians, living in harsh climate, to carry out the daily works and made their meals more nourishing. Delicious and well baked bread, which has been every housewife’s pride, is eaten daily and on special occasions as well, and has accompanied Latvians throughout their lives: from womb to tomb.
Alongside with other national values, such as the sun, work, and land, numerious Latvian songs and folk-songs have been dedicated to bread which shows that it holds a special place in the lives of Latvians. Reverent attitude towards bread is found in proverbs and beliefs as well. Each Latvian knew that those who throw bread on the ground can soon experience the lack of it. The process of eating bread is connected with several specific traditions: no one should exit a room while eating bread, in order to keep the blessing in the house.
Baking traditions of ancient masters had not changed for a long time, until the 1920’ies when one by one a number of new bakeries sprang up in Latvia. Some changes were introduced during the war time, though the bread making culture flourished again during the 1980’ies. And even today, when modern technologies have been implemented and the production process itself has become easier, ancient traditions and baking secrets are still applied and respected. That is why the loaves of bread baked at different bakeries are so diverse and therefore special.