Taking Inventory: Bread
The upper crust of Minecraft cuisine!
Eating raw carrots, berries, and potatoes is all very well, but sometimes you need something a bit more... wholesome. Minecraft has a variety of cooked foods in its larder – including baked potatoes, various grilled meats, a multitude of soups and stews, and of course our item of the week – bread.
Bread was added to Minecraft very early in its history, in February 2010 in the same update that introduced farming, hoes, seeds, and wheat. Want to craft some? It’s pretty simple – till some dirt near water with a hoe, plant seeds in it, wait a while, harvest the wheat, then craft three wheat into bread!
You can also get bread by trading with farmer villagers (who’ll trade it with other villagers themselves), and by finding it in village, mansion, dungeon, mineshaft, and stronghold chests.
Considering that bread is only made of one ingredient, it’s surprisingly good food! Each loaf you eat restores a quarter of the hunger bar, meaning that a full stack of bread will take you from starving to full an impressive 16 times.
But that’s not all you can do with bread. You can also use it to get villagers to reproduce – three loaves will make a villager “willing”, allowing them to breed. If only dating was that easy in the real world.
Oh, and you can make compost out of bread – one loaf has an 85% chance of raising the compost level by 1. That’s rather less efficient than just composting wheat on its own, but hey – if you’ve got loads that you need to get rid of, then it’s a productive choice.
In the real world, bread is one of the oldest man-made foods to still be eaten today, and it appears in cuisines from almost every part of the world. Rocks have been found in prehistoric caves from 30,000 years ago, in both Europe and Australia, that show starch residues that indicate they may have been used for pounding roots into a flatbread that could be cooked over a fire.
It wasn’t until the Neolithic era, which began about 12,000 years ago, that agriculture began to spread and grains like wheat and rice became the principal ingredient of bread. Early on, people may have baked a primitive sourdough, with dough left to rest until natural yeast spores caused it to rise. Later this yeast was cultivated from beer and wine production.
This sourdough approach – which takes time and patience – remained popular for millennia, but in 1862 bread-baking was changed forever when British baker John Dauglish discovered that you could mix bread with carbonated water to produce “aerated bread” in industrial quantities, for a fraction of the time and cost.
In 1961 the Brits revolutionised baking again – developing the “Chorleywood bread process” – where high-speed industrial mixers blend together flour, water, fat, salt, yeast, and vitamin C. This technique, which is how 80% of British bread is produced today, allows it to go from flour to a sliced, packaged loaf in an amazing three and a half hours.
One of the reasons that bread is so popular is that it’s highly nutritious. It contains protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, iron, selenium, B vitamins, and dietary fiber. But it’s also very very tasty, and writing this article is making me hungry, so now I’m off to eat some bread. Bye!