Whether you’re an avid bread eater or you’re trying to stay away from it on the Paleo diet, you might be wondering who invented flour and how people discovered they could make flour. You might also be surprised to know that ancient Paleo people often made flour and were just as much bread eaters as they were vegetable and meat-eaters.
Flour is a powder that is made by grinding cereal grains, seeds, or roots. It’s the most important ingredient when it comes to baking bread, cakes, and other food. Flour can be made from a white variety of ingredients. In Europe, North America, the Middle East, India, and North Africa, flour is made from wheat.
However, in central America, flour is often made from corn. Some places in central Europe make flour from rye and other cultures even make flour from rice.
The first evidence of flour was found to be from around 30,000 years ago. It came from the Upper Paleolithic region in Europe. The oldest technique used to make flour was using a combination of a stone mortar and pestle. Later on, the Romans used flour by grinding seeds on cone mills. The ancient Greeks were the first ones to use watermills before 71 B.C. As you can see, the history of flour is complex and has had many changes.
Before industrialization, making flour was a complex and laborious process. Watermills and windmills allowed for greater production though and even gave the bread longer shelf life. In the old times, bread needed to be eaten quickly because it didn’t have any additives in it that would allow it to last longer.
White flour also used to be the most expensive and could only be afforded by the rich. Nowadays though, white bread is considered to be significantly cheaper compared to whole wheat bread or whole-grain bread. The roller mills made removing the germ of the flour much easier making white flour more affordable for the poor.
In the 1930s, flour began to be enriched with iron, niacin, thiamine, and
riboflavin. Folic acid was added in the 1990s.
As you can see, flour has a long history that has changed rapidly with modern technology. Now there are many different kinds of flour including:
● Unbleached flour: flour that has not undergone bleaching or doesn’t have the same color as traditional white flour
● Refined flour has had the germ and bran removed. It’s also called white flour.
- Bleached flour is a type of refined flour that has had whitening agents added to it.
- Usually, the agent is potassium bromate, benzoyl peroxide, ascorbic acid, and chlorine
- All-purpose flour does not have leavening agents.
- Self-rising flour is sold premixed with chemical leavening agents. It’s often used for
- lighter and softer baked products.
- Enriched flour is flour with nutrients that are often replaced during normal processing.
Flour can be made from many different agents besides grain, including:
- Acorn flour
- Amaranth flour
- Atta flour
- Bean flour
- Brown rice flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Cassava flour
- Chestnut flour
- Chickpea flour
- Coconut flour
- Corn flour
- Rice flour
- Hemp flour
- Maida flour
- Mesquite flour
- Nut flours
- Peasemeal or pea flour
- Peanut flour
- Potato flour
- Rice flour
- Rye flour
- Sorghum flour
- Tapioca flour
If you’re interested in learning more about where the flour came from, this article will discuss flour making from ancient times all the way up to modern times.
Where did flour come from?
Flour has been made since prehistoric times. The earliest methods to make flour were to grind grain between stones. These methods include the mortar and pestle method and the saddlestone method. While most people are familiar with the mortar and pestle method, the saddlestone method might be new.
Saddlestones are used when a cylindrical stone is rolled against grain held in a stone bowl. The quern method was also used sometimes. This is when a horizontal, disk-shaped stone is spun on top of grain held on another horizontal stone.
Millstones were developed later. Millstones are when one vertical, disk-shaped zone is rolled on grain sitting on a horizontal disk-shaped zone. The first millstones were operated from animal or human power. However, the ancient Romans created techniques to use waterwheels to power millstones. Windmills were also used to power millstones in Europe by the twelfth century.
In North America, the first mill was operated in Boston in 1632. It was powered by wind.
Did flour come from the Old World?
Based on historic findings, flour comes from the Old World. Flour has been around long before the establishment of America or other modern societies. People have been making flour starting from 30,000 years ago.
Flour making and processing were definitely around in Roman times as well which was long before the New World.
When did humans first make flour?
Humans were thought to first make flour about 32,000 years ago. Paleo people in the southern part of Italy first began to make flour using homemade tools as well as combination pestle and grinder.
This is the earliest evidence in food processing that scientists and paleontologists have been able to find. These findings were discovered in a cave called Grotta Pagliacci in Puglia.
Scientists found several tools that were evidently used to make flour. They used rounded ends of stones to bash seeds against other rocks to break them up. The flat
surface of the stone showed wear and tear that would only be produced by grinding seeds into flour.
Why did humans make flour?
Many people think that ancient humans lived solely on vegetables and meat. However, evidence has shown that humans started making flour and processed foods more than 30,000 years ago.
Flour was most likely made as a way to vary the diet and to receive more adequate nutrition. Modern doctors and dieticians have stated that flour and the foods that come from flour are part of a balanced diet. Prehistoric humans probably discovered that they could make more food from grains and flour to make more food. The extra nutrients gave them better energy and the ability to move around and hunt more.
Flour can also be more filling than vegetables and fruits. Processed foods from flour may have been eaten on nights or days where meat was not available or where more people had to be fed.
Where did humans first make flour?
The evidence of people first making flour was found on the southern tip of Italy. There was evidence found in a cave showing old tools that would have been used to grind grains and seeds to make flour.
There is also evidence from many other places in Europe including the Czech Republic and Russia. However, the site in Italy is considered to be the first place where humans probably made flour and discovered all the different foods they could make with it.
How did humans first make flour?
Flour was made very differently during prehistoric times than how it’s made now. Tools found in parts of Europe suggest that flour was made with tools used as grindstones and pestles for processing grains. Some of the tools even still contained traces of flour on them.
Flour grains come mostly from cattails and ferns. These are starchy plants that are similar to potatoes. Processing the plants included peeling, drying, and grinding roots. The resulting flour from these methods and vegetables are whisked into the dough and cooked.
Did cavemen use flour?
There is much evidence from archeologists and scientists that cavemen used flour to cook and make meals. Cavemen also prepared vegetables and cooked almost everything from scratch including flour.
Flour is thought to have increased the mobility of ancient people because it’s considered an energetic food that would have given them enough physical power to move from place to place.
The main caveman sites with flour tools found are Bilancino II in Italy, Kistenski 16 in Russia, and Pavlov VI in the Czech Republic. Modern humans and Neanderthals inhabited both of these regions meaning that they probably inherited these flour-making skills. These discoveries in these caves show that cavemen started
making flour around 30,000 years ago.
Flour was probably used during this time to mix with soup and other vegetables to make a more nutritional and well-balanced meal.
Flour has a long and interesting history. The flour that was used back in ancient times was much different than the flour you may use today since you can find so many different varieties in the supermarket in modern times.
Historians used to think that flour was first made during Roman times, but about years ago discoveries were made in caves throughout Italy and other parts of Europe. Since then, the process of making flour has shifted dramatically with the invention of water and windmills.
Modern people don’t have to think about where their flour comes from or the process that went into making it. During ancient times though, people spent days making flour and creating processed foods to better sustain their lifestyles.