The Story of a Loaf of Bread

The Story of a Loaf of Bread

The Story of a Loaf of Bread

Thomas Barlow Wood

I have ventured to write this little book with some diffidence, for it deals with farming, milling and baking, subjects on which everyone has his own opinion. In the earlier chapters I have tried to give a brief sketch of the growing and marketing of wheat. If I have succeeded, the reader will realise that the farmer's share in the production of the staple food of the people is by no means the simple affair it appears to be. The various operations of farming are so closely interdependent that even the most complex book-keeping may fail to disentangle the accounts so as to decide with certainty whether or not any innovation is profitable. The farmer, especially the small farmer, spends his days in the open air, and does not feel inclined to indulge in analytical book-keeping in the evening. Consequently, the onus of demonstrating the economy of suggested innovations in practice lies with those who make the suggestions. This is one of the many difficulties which confronts everyone who sets out to improve agriculture.

In the third and fourth chapters I have discussed the quality of wheat. I have tried to describe the investigations which are in progress with the object of improving wheat from the point of view of both the farmer and the miller, and to give some account of the success with which they have been attended. Incidentally I have pointed out the difficulties which vi pursue any investigation which involves the cultivation on the large scale of such a crop as wheat, and the consequent need of adopting due precautions to ensure accuracy before making recommendations to the farmer. Advice based on insufficient evidence is more than likely to be misleading. Every piece of misleading advice is a definite handicap to the progress of agricultural science.

The fifth chapter is devoted to a short outline of the milling industry. In chapter VI the process of baking is described. In the last two chapters the composition of bread is discussed at some length.


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