A History of Bread IELTS Reading General Training with Answers
Reading Passage 3
A History of Bread
A Although bread is not a staple food in all countries around the world, it is in many and in others it is of great importance. As an example, the UK bakery market is worth £3.6 billion annually and is one of the largest markets in the food industry. Total volume at present is approximately just under 4 billion units, the equivalent of almost 11 million loaves and packs sold every single day. There are three principal sectors that make up the UK baking industry. The larger baking companies produce around 80% of bread sold in the UK. In store bakeries within supermarkets produce about 17% and high street retail craft bakers produce the rest. In contrast to the UK, craft bakeries still dominate the market in many mainland European countries. This allows genuine craftspeople to keep alive and indeed develop skills that have been passed on for thousands of years.
B Recent evidence indicates that humans processed and consumed wild cereal grains as far back as 23,000 years ago. Archaeologists have discovered simple stone mechanisms that were used for smashing and grinding various cereals to remove the inedible outer husks and to make the resulting grains into palatable and versatile food. As humans evolved, they mixed the resulting cracked and ground grains with water to create a variety of foods from this gruel to a stiffer porridge. By simply leaving the paste to dry out in the sun, a bread like crust would be formed. This early bread was particularly successful, when wild yeast from the air combined with the flour and water. The early Egyptians were curious about the bread ‘rising’ and attempted to isolate the yeast, so that they could introduce it directly into their bread. Bakers experimented with leavened doughs and through these experiments Egyptians were the first to uncover the secret of yeast usage. Hence, the future of bread was assured.
C As travellers took bread making techniques and moved out from Egyptian lands, the art began spreading to all parts of Europe. A key civilisation was the Romans, who took their advanced bread techniques with them around Europe. The Romans preferred whiter bread, which was possible with the milling processes that they had refined. This led to white bread being perceived as the most valuable bread of them all, a preference that seems to have stuck with many people. The Romans also invented the first mechanical dough-mixer, powered by horses and donkeys.
D Both simple, yet elusive, the art of controlling the various ingredients and developing the skills required to turn grain and water into palatable bread, gave status to individuals and societies for thousands of years. The use of barley and wheat led man to live in communities and made the trade of baker one of the oldest crafts in the world.
E Before the Industrial Revolution, millers used windmills and watermills, depending on their locations, to turn the machinery that would grind wheat to flour. The Industrial Revolution really moved the process of bread making forwards. The first commercially successful engine did not appear until 1712, but it wasn’t until the invention of the Boulton and Watt steam engine in 1786 that the process was advanced and refined. The first mill in London using the steam engines was so large and efficient that in one year in could produce more flour than the rest of the mills in London put together. In conjunction with steam power, a Swiss engineer in 1874 invented a new type of mill. He designed rollers made of steel that operated one above the other. It was called the reduction roller milling system, and these machines soon became accepted all over Europe.
F Since Egyptian times, yeast has been an essential part of bread making around the world, but yeast was not really understood properly until the 19th century. It was only with the invention of the microscope, followed by the pioneering scientific work of Louis Pasteur in the late 1860s, that yeast was identified as a living organism and agent responsible for dough leavening. Shortly following these discoveries, it became possible to isolate yeast in pure culture form. With this newfound knowledge the stage was set for commercial production of baker’s yeast and this began around the turn of the 20th century. Since that time, bakers, scientists and yeast manufacturers have been working to find and produce pure strains of yeast that meet the exacting and specified needs of the baking industry. ielts-reading.com
G The basics of any bread dough are flour, water and of course yeast. As soon as these ingredients are stirred together, enzymes in the yeast and the flour cause large starch molecules to break down into simple sugars. The yeast metabolises these simple sugars and exudes a liquid that releases carbon dioxide into the dough’s minute cells. As more and more tiny cells are filled, the dough rises and leavened bread is the result.
The passage has 7 paragraphs A-G. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.
i. A key ingredient
ii Bread as an industry
iii South American influences
iv Techniques spread
v A time of change
vi Taxes affect trade
vii The ancient process
viii The essential process
ix New recipes
x Respect for a skill
28. Paragraph A
29. Paragraph B
30. Paragraph C
31. Paragraph D
32. Paragraph E
33. Paragraph F
34. Paragraph G
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the text? Write
YES if the statement agrees with the information
NO if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
35. Few mainland European countries today favour the craft style bread made by independent bakeries.
36. The first leavening effects were done accidentally.
37. The Romans were responsible for one of today’s favoured types of bread.
38. Pasteur’s work in the 19th century allowed bread to be manufactured more cheaply.
Questions 39 and 40
Complete the sentences below. Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
39. Dough made with flour, water and yeast ______________ in the mixture produce sugars from the starch.
40. Dough rises because of the ______________ released by the liquid formed.
A History of Bread IELTS Reading Answers
40. Carbon dioxide
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