50 Fascinating Facts About Baking & Baked Goods

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1Electrically Baked Panko Breadcrumbs

Electrically Baked Panko Breadcrumbs

Panko breadcrumbs are made from bread baked with an electrical current. This results in bread without a crust, which is then ground down into breadcrumbs.

2. In the 17th century, English women baked a special kind of bread as an aphrodisiac by kneading the dough against their privy parts (vulva) by wriggling and then baking it. This bread, known as Cockle bread, was then given to the object of the baker's affections.

3. Blackout Cake, sometimes called Brooklyn Blackout Cake, is a chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate cake crumbs. A Brooklyn bakery, Ebinger's, invented it during World War II in recognition of the mandatory blackouts to protect the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

4. Alexander Fleming may have accidentally discovered the antibiotic properties of molds, but ancient Egyptians used moldy bread as a treatment for infected burn wounds.

5. In the Victorian era, many of the cookies consumed were funeral cookies. These cookies were fed to mourners after being allowed to rise on the chest of the deceased, as it was believed the dough "absorbed" the deceased's qualities.

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6Icelandic Hot Spring Rye Bread

Icelandic Hot Spring Rye Bread

In Iceland, there's a traditional rye bread called Rúgbrauð that you can bake in a pot by burying it in the ground near a hot spring.

7. A flat cake from ancient Greece and Rome consisting of many dough layers interspersed with a mixture of cheese and honey is called a placenta. They flavor it with bay leaves, bake it, and then cover it in honey. Because of its flat, round shape, the temporary fetal organ was named after this cake.

8. Archeologists discovered a loaf of bread made in Pompeii in the first century AD that had been preserved for centuries in the volcanic ash. It was impressed by a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use to prevent fraud.

9. Pound cake gets its name because of how it was made in the 1700s. Originally, the recipe called for one pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.

10. Desperation pies are defined by inexpensive staple ingredients for filling. These types of pies were more popular during the Depression, World Wars, and before refrigeration. Varieties include green tomato pie, shoofly pie, chess pie, and vinegar pies.

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11Milano Cookie's Naples Inspiration

Milano Cookie's Naples Inspiration

Pepperidge Farm's original cookie, the Naples, a single vanilla wafer with dark chocolate filling on top, inspired the creation of the Milano cookie. When shipped to warmer climates, the cookies would end up stuck together. The company resolved the problem by sandwiching Naples cookies together to form the Milano.

12. Around 64% of people bite the head off gingerbread before eating the rest of it.

13. The Philippines creates its own version of apple pie using coconuts and condensed milk. Soledad Pahud, who discovered apple pie while working as a maid in the United States, is believed to have invented buko pie. Upon returning to the Philippines, the lack of apples led her to create the coconut-based recipe.

14. Every loaf of sourdough that Panera Bread has ever baked comes from the same 33-year-old sourdough strain they refer to as the 'Mother dough'.

15. Pumpernickel, a type of rye bread, is named after the Germanic words "pumpern," meaning flatulent, and "Nickel," a reference to Old Nick (a familiar name for Satan). The dense bread is hard to digest, causing excess flatulence. Hence, pumpernickel means "the devil's fart."

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16Yorkshire Pudding's Appetite Tamer

Yorkshire Pudding's Appetite Tamer

Originally, the purpose of serving Yorkshire pudding as a first course with thick gravy was to stifle the diners' appetites with inexpensive ingredients so they wouldn't eat as much of the more expensive meat in the next course.

17. The onomatopoeic sound that occurs when you snap a Pocky Stick in half inspired the name of this Japanese chocolate biscuit.

18. American muffins are actually individual "quickbreads" or oil cakes (like zucchini bread), making them essentially cupcakes. English muffins are griddled flatbreads, which is why they are chemically and nutritionally more similar to pita or pizza than to American muffins.

19. Traditional red velvet cake gets its signature red color and velvety texture from a chemical reaction occurring between unprocessed cocoa powder, acidic buttermilk, and basic baking soda.

20. Pretzels get their unique flavor and color from being glazed with a sodium hydroxide (lye) solution before baking.

21Crescent Victory: Croissant's Origin

Crescent Victory: Croissant's Origin

Croissants are an Austrian invention, created after their victory over the Ottoman Empire in 1683. The croissant's crescent shape is believed to symbolize the Turkish flag. It was the Austrian emperor’s daughter, Marie-Antoinette, who introduced it to France.

22. Voodoo Doughnut, a doughnut shop in Portland, used to sell doughnuts glazed with NyQuil and others packed with Tums and Pepto until local health officials ordered them to stop.

23. During weddings in medieval England, people would stack scones, cookies, and buns as high as possible. The bride and groom would then try to kiss over this stack of pastries. If they kissed without making it fall, it was believed the couple would have good fortune.

24. Before most houses had ovens in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, street hawkers sold muffins door-to-door as snack bread, giving rise to the traditional song "Do You Know the Muffin Man?"

25. The King Cake is a Mardi Gras tradition that involves baking a cake with a trinket inside. The trinket finder must either supply the following year's cake or host the next party.

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