Final Project Proposal

For my final paper, I would like to cover the content that we went over in class about bread. I chose this topic because I have always loved baking, so the process of making bread is very interesting to me. Additionally, bread in my family has very significant cultural and religious meaning, and I would love to further explore the significance of different types of bread across various cultural and spiritual traditions. In addition to the cultural and social aspect, I would like to look at the scientific basis behind breadmaking. I found learning about the similarity of the ingredients of bread across cultures, the use of yeast, and the process of leavening to be particularly fascinating. More specifically, for my paper I hope to look out a couple of different variations of breadmaking across different cultural and spiritual traditions and analyze how the scientific process of making these types of bread differs across cultures. 

For example, in Jewish tradition there is a holiday known as Passover in which practicing Jews eat unleavened bread. This is to signify the fact that the ancient Israelites did not have time to wait for their bread to rise before escaping from Egypt. In my own culture, there is a special type of bread that is prepared before Easter to represent Christ rising from the dead. I would like to also explore other spiritual and cultural traditions surrounding breadmaking, as I’m sure there are many more than I am aware of. 

I would also like to frame my research in the context of the scientific process of bread making. For example matzo, which is eaten in the Jewish tradition, does not contain leavening, while kulich which is eaten in Russian orthodox tradition does contain a fair amount of yeast which is used to create a very fluffy type of bread. I would also like to explore other scientific methods of bread leavening, including the use of alternative leavening agents such as baking soda. For example, I am aware that in some countries such as Ireland people typically make a type of bread known as “soda bread”, which uses baking soda instead of yeast as a leavening agent.  I would also like to further investigate breadmaking tradition in the middle used or Islamic culture, since I am aware that some of these countries also tend to make different types of flatbread which may rely on a different leavening process. In addition to the social implications of these types of bread, I think it would be interesting to look at not only a variety of cultural contexts of breadmaking, but also a variety of scientific processes for how the bread is actually made. 

Of course there are many other types of bread and bread making processes that I could cover in my research, but these are a few in particular that I would like to touch on. I think that this would be an invaluable topic to investigate further, and I feel that this sort of research would tie in both artistic and scientific aspects of the curriculum.

 

References:

How Yeast Is Used in Cooking (thespruceeats.com)

Paska Easter Bread Recipe (Kulich) (natashaskitchen.com)

Home | Bread Diaries

The Crummy History of Matzoh (nationalgeographic.com)

The short but fascinating history of Irish soda bread (trafalgar.com)

What is the history of Pita Bread? Where does it come from? (greenspun.com)