Bread in the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution really moved the process of bread making forwards. The first commercially successful engine did not appear until 1712 but it wasn’t until the invention of the Boulton & Watt steam engine in 1786 which drove the Albion Flour mill in Battersea that the process was advanced and refined.
The Albion Mill was far ahead of its time.
It was rumored to be so large and efficient that in one year it could produced more flour than the rest of the mills in London, put together.
Unfortunately the mill mysteriously burnt down after 5 years, at the time it was alleged that the other flour millers had formed a gang and burnt the mill down but it was never proved.
In London at this time, pastry chefs sold their goods from handcarts. This developed into a system of delivery of baked goods to households, and demand increased greatly as a result. In Paris, the first open-air café of baked goods was developed, and baking became an established art throughout the entire world.
For most of the 19th century millers continued using Windmills and Watermills, depending on their locations, to turn the machinery. It wasn’t until 1874 that a Swiss engineer invented a new type of mill; abandoning the use of the stone mill-wheels, he designed rollers made of steel which operated one above the other. It was called the reduction roller-milling system, and these machines soon became accepted all over Europe and in Britain.
At the time of the Industrial Revolution, the North American prairies which were ideally suited to grow wheat, provided ample grain for the fast-growing population of Great Britain. This, together with the invention of the roller-milling system, meant that for the first time in history, whiter flour (and therefore bread) could be produced at a price which brought it within the reach of everyone - not just the rich.
The History of Bread - The Modern Era and The Chorleywood Process