You probably are not aware of the fact that Siberians take a piece of bread whenever they are at the dining table. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or a quick snack, there will be some bread to accompany it for sure. There is an old saying in Siberia «Bread is the staff of life» or, to paraphrase it, bread is the principal part of every meal. Although Siberians did not exactly invent the butter broth they did invent many varieties of bread. Let us explore them together with the culture of eating bread in Siberia!
It is believed that bread first appeared at Russian tables 15000 years ago. People in ancient Russia had always been preoccupied with how to survive and where to get food. They noticed that some plants could feed you well and made you full for a longer time. At first, they ate raw seeds of those plants but later started to make something similar to present-day flour. The idea to bake the flour substance came to the ancient people by chance: some of the dough fell on to the warm fire coals, and the dough became baked.
Siberian people learned to worship bread since their early days. Children at schools are taught that left-over bread should not be thrown away. Grown-ups know well that when you share your bread with someone, it means that you are not just suggesting to share a meal, but you are seeing them as friends too. There is an old Siberian wedding tradition dedicated to bread too. When newlyweds first enter the house as a married couple, they are given a loaf of bread with salt to bite. If the wife bites the bigger piece of bread, it means she will be the head of the household. If the husband has the bigger piece, then he will be the master of the house. Bread even has its holiday; people celebrate it on the 16th of October. When you are a guest at a Siberian home or dine out at any Siberian cafe, the bread will be added to your every dish. There are, however, three recognized kinds of bread that you can taste everywhere in Russia, but I strongly recommend to do it in Siberia too!
Did you know that there is one kind of bread in Siberia that we call «the king of all other kinds»? This bread is made of white flour. It first appeared on the tables of noble people (tsars and aristocrats). Peasants were allowed to taste this kind of white bread only during special events.
In their daily life, peasants ate simpler loaves made of rye flour. This bread is the second popular Siberian bread that people have been baking since the 11th century. Although this bread was considered food for poor people, it soon became very popular and beloved among everyone. There was a story once that the soldiers of the Russian army got sick because their ratio lacked rye bread. Before baking rye bread, ancient bakers put an imaginary cross on the dough with the knife. Rye bread is called "Borodino bread" in Siberia. The legend has it that the recipe for rye bread appeared after the Battle of Borodino.
Nowadays, Siberians know a lot of delicious ways to turn a simple piece of bread into a culinary masterpiece. One of the most popular recipes is to eat a piece of bread with butter sprinkled with sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, just add jam or marmalade on top of it and you will feel the taste of the most simple Siberian treat! Try all of the famous kinds of bread in the Baker Street Cafe, one of the most popular Siberian bakeries to experience the culture of eating bread in Siberia!
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