Tuesday, March 01, 2011

History of Biscuit

The word biscuits derives from ‘panis biscoctus’ which is Latin for twice-cooked bread and refers to bread rusks that were made for mariners (ships biscuits) from as long as the Middle Ages.

In thee early history of Europe, biscuits were twice-baked. Roman legions, medieval crusaders, and the armies of Napoleon ate the old style, keep-forever, twice baked, had as rock hardtack or stone bread, or in French, ‘bis-cuit’.

The dough pieces were baked and then dried out in another, cooler, oven. They were very unattractive being made from more or less flour and water.

One of the major kitchen inventions of goods baked from wheat, biscuit derived from the Roman ‘lagani’ (pasta).

‘Wafers’ are probably the oldest types of biscuits; ancient records show that they were widely used in religious ritual.

As a type of baked flour product they were introduced into Britain by the Normans from France.

Iberian sailors called them ‘mazamorra’ for their density and unappetizing texture.

Once a staple food of army camps and naval vessels, biscuits is a class of flat, hard, unleavened bread that satisfies hunger and settles queasy stomachs.

The word biscuit in the English language , published in 1755 by Dr. Samuel Johnson gives primary definition as ‘a kind of hard dry bread, made to be carried to sea’ and a secondary one of ‘a composition of fine flour, almonds and sugar, made by the confectioners.’

The first biscuits, in terms of mass production, were of an unsweetened type relating more to crackers in modern parlance.

In 1700s, Portsmouth, England, became the source of biscuit for government victuallers. In the royal dockyards, an assembly line of baker personnel produced at the rate of seventy four ounce biscuits per minute for military during war and peace.

In North America, the biscuit was a part of colonial culinary history. According to history when Mayflower sailed for New England, it contained 15,000 brown biscuits and 5,000 white to accompany bacon and smoked hearing.
History of Biscuit