The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oldest living bread recipe

Almost_famous's picture
Almost_famous

Oldest living bread recipe

I'm trying to locate the oldest recipe of bread known to exist. Anyone know of one that might be a candidate? I wouldn't be surprised if something exists from ancient Rome or Greece, but I'll settle for the Middle Ages.

 

Many thanks. 

 

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

There is a wikipedia article about Bread that might give you some leads: 

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread

 

Colin

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

There was a piece in National Geographic a couple of years ago about bread baking in ancient Egypt. If I recall correctly, they rebuilt an oven as accurately as they could and tried to reproduce the recipe.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'm reading "6000 Years of Bread" right now and from what I have read so far it would have to be an Egyptian flat bread. The Egyptians were making breads from wheat long before anyone else and their acceptance of the "magic" needed to use the "sour dough" that helped the dough grow was a key element in their success.

I would highly recommend anyone who is the least bit curious about history to check out this book. I have learned more than I was expecting and the author is very well studied in the subject. I have a completely new respect for the product made of grain and water that kept our ancestors alive for thousands upon thousands of years I agree with Floyd's take on this which is why I bought it in the first place. Thanks Floyd!

Check it out. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24 

In answer to your question about what is actually the oldest recipe, I would have to think if you read this link, http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3760/ultimate-starter-wild-wheat and made a basic flat bread you would be close.

Eric

Schlake's picture
Schlake

There is a new edition of that book coming out soon with new material by Peter Reinhardt.  I have it pre-ordered.

Floydm's picture
Floydm
Almost_famous's picture
Almost_famous

Thanks for the quick responses, but I need to clarify -- I'm looking for a published recipe, or at least one written in a journal, and not for the origin or the first instance of bread. I was thinking something perhaps from the Roman Empire might still be extent. If not that, then perhaps the Middle Ages?

Thanks! 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Can you read hieroglyphics? If those count, the Egyptians published a number of those about bread baking.

If you are looking for something with teaspoons and exact time and temperatures, I think you are going to be out of luck until very recently.

Schlake's picture
Schlake

http://www.piney.com/BabNinkasi.html

 

The ancient Sumerians used bread as the basis for their beer, and we still have a poem/prayer from them about it. 

christi's picture
christi

 christi   I can't see any reference to grinding the "hulled grains".  Is the poem describing making sprouted bread or beer?

helend's picture
helend

The Romans ate both leavened and unleavened barley and wheat breads but the wheat was SPELT - there are plenty of recipes if you do a search on Roman Bread but the following is a link to a reasonable discussion based on actual acounts

http://www.coquinaria.nl/english/recipes/Rombread.htm

There is also a link here to a mediaeval bread based on a description from that time.

 

 

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Some of the oldest breads, notably from Egypt were made with Emmer with domesticated Emmer showing up as early as 7700 BC, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmer_wheat#History.

Unfortunately Spelt is incorrectly translated from old texts where Eikhorn or Emmer may be used, not that it matters much as these 3 are of the same grain family.

You may want to consider an early recipe being that of the pita which dates back to Mesopotamia or Babylonian times. I found this page which may shed some light on the history.

rcornwall's picture
rcornwall

Yes I think ancient Egypt is about the oldest we can reliably find evidence of. The oldest known pictures of bread are from about 3000 b.c. It is believed that most "loaves" were a kind of flat bread, but a conical shape, or bread cooked in earthenware jars was also common. The dough would have been coarsely ground wheat or barley, possibly a combination. Also the water of the river Nile has a naturally occuring strain of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is used in baking yeast even today. So they were producing  what we would consider very real loaves of bread.

rcornwall

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I personally think the oldest recipe got dumped long ago for a better tasting one. The quest for the oldest recipe sounds noble. Publishing started with the Guttenberg Press, in the 1400's. --Mini Oven