The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread in ancient Athens?

wholegrainOH's picture
wholegrainOH

bread in ancient Athens?

anybody have any sources for what would have been the bread in Athens during the 5th century BCE?  It's mentioned in many, many ancient texts, Solon says that leavened bread was reserved for feast days, Aristophanes mentions barley bread in a context that suggests it's the everyday bread for poorer people--but apart from that, can't find much.  Any ideas?

 

Alan

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

There are lots of articles there. 

Could it be that the first discus was a bad loaf?  It got thrown away and became a sport?  Just a thought.....
wholegrainOH's picture
wholegrainOH

did that--lots of articles, lots of mention, but couldn't find any recipes.  That's where I got the barley bread mention from Aristophanes, etc. 

 A discus would be just about as heavy and flat as my first attempt to do whole wheat bread, lo these many years ago! 

thanks!

 

Alan

RFMonaco's picture
RFMonaco
wholegrainOH's picture
wholegrainOH

much, much thanks.  Will get the book from library tomorrow and give it a whirl.  Most grateful--

Alan 

 

wholegrainOH's picture
wholegrainOH

got book.  Subtitle tells it all:  recipes from the classical world for the modern cook.  All so heavily adapted as to be useless.  All the bread recipes, for example, use active dry yeast; obviously not available in the ancient world.  Not a single recipe for an unleavened flatbread.  Oh, well!  Will have to develop something from looking at the ancient texts myself-- 

Alan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but the Greeks and other bread cultures were also actively involved with beer brewing and wine making.  One by-product of these other two is fermented whole grain, or fermenting squashed grapes & fruit which would be just full of yeast.  It would not be too hard to figure that the "used grain" from beer brewing was possibly pounded into mush and added into bread.  This would provide levening would it not?   

Mini O

wholegrainOH's picture
wholegrainOH

to be sure--there would have been lots of wild yeasts floating about Athens, from all the wine making, and it's certainly probable that 'used grain' would help in the breadmaking process.  But I still suspect that unleavened bread, or at the least flat bread, would have been the everyday fare for the common folks.  so, still ready to experiment.  Tracked down barley flour today, since Aristophanes talks about barley loaves being what people ate most of the time.  Will post what I come up with--

Alan 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Here is a link that you might not have read. Flat breads (strange to many of us) were baked on the sides of ovens, still seen in the mideast today. The fact that the Greeks invented front loading ovens, implies that they let their bread rise somewhat. The levened bread invented the oven, so to say.

Bread History Greek 

Mini O