From crispy morning toast to savory garlic bread, toasted bread is a staple in many cuisines around the world. But have you ever wondered how this simple yet delicious invention came to be? Join us on a journey through time as we explore the fascinating history of toast.
Toasting bread is believed to have been first practiced by the ancient Romans, who were seeking a way to preserve their bread which had a short shelf life. They found that by toasting the bread, it could be stored for a longer period, thus making it more versatile and reducing food waste.
While we attribute toasting bread to the ancient Romans, the history of bread-making goes back even further in time. The earliest known evidence of bread-making comes from an archaeological site in Jordan that dates back 14,000 years. Bread was also an important part of the diet of the ancient Egyptians, who are believed to have started making bread around 6,000 to 8,000 years ago
Toasting Bread Throughout The History
Toasting bread became common around 2000 years ago, during the Roman Empire. The word toast comes from the Latin word tostus, which means to burn or scorch.
Originally, a toast was made by placing bread on a hot stone in front of a fire. Later, bread would be placed on sticks or wire frames and cooked over the fire. This practice will stay unchanged for over a millennium.
By the mid-19th century, toasting forks that could be used to cook toast over a fire were introduced. George Harold, an American from Brooklyn, New York, created a toasting fork that was patented in 1865. It consisted of spring tongs and clamped ends to hold the bread.
The advent of electricity marked a turning point in the history of toasting bread. The first electric toaster was patented by George Schneider in 1906, and just three years later, Frank Shailor introduced the D-12, the first commercially successful toaster.
While few toasters were invented in the early 1900s, they were far from the toasters we use today. These early versions only toasted one side of the bread at a time, requiring people to flip the bread manually to toast the other side.
Toast as We Know it Today
It wasn’t until 1921 that a modern, pop-up toaster was invented. American Charles Strite invented a toaster that automatically stopped toasting once the desired toasting level was reached. His patent also included an enclosed casing for the bread to be toasted in and the ability to toast multiple slices of bread at one time. This automated the toasting process and changed the way we toast bread forever.
Sliced bread was first invented by a man named Otto Rohwedder in 1928. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri, which began selling sliced bread on July 7, 1928. The invention of sliced bread revolutionized the way people consumed bread and quickly became a staple in households across the United States.
Today, almost every home has a toaster that can be used for toasting bread, along with other options. People enjoy their toast in a variety of ways. In Australia, a favorite way to eat toast is with the yeasty spread Vegemite. In the United Kingdom, it’s common to eat brown beans on toast, while Americans tend to favor peanut butter or jam.
Let’s Toast to Toast!
With thousands of years making toast, our love for toasted bread doesn’t come as a surprise. From ancient campfires to modern-day kitchens, toasted bread made its way through history making toasters the appliance we can’t go without.