Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Bread for August 2

The big news in the baking world this week is the recent discovery, in Jordan, of the world's oldest known bread oven. It is 14,400 years old, and pre-dates agriculture by some 4,000 years. Here's a picture of it:
It's not quite an "oven" exactly, and the bread was unleavened flatbread, but still. Some archaeologists believe the discovery of grains and the ability to bake them is what got agriculture started in the first place! From the article,
“Bread involves labour intensive processing which includes dehusking, grinding of cereals and kneading and baking. That it was produced before farming methods suggests it was seen as special, and the desire to make more of this special food probably contributed to the decision to begin to cultivate cereals. All of this relies on new methodological developments that allow us to identify the remains of bread from very small charred fragments using high magnification,” said Professor Dorian Fuller (UCL Institute of Archaeology).
You can still see flatbreads baked in this fashion in many parts of the world, chiefly surrounding the Mediterranean. Wet dough is flung onto the sloping sides of a stone or steel oven, where it bakes from the top with direct heat from the fire and from the bottom through the radiant heat coming from the stone or steel oven. This is basically how my own bread bakes too -- a flame above, a heated stone below.

Okay, since most of you aren't here for the archaeology, this week I'll have Parmesan- Pepper with new and improved and, in fact, quite good parmesan. I was a bit disappointed with the allegedly "artisan" parmesan from last time -- it wasn't bad, but it wasn't outstanding, either. These are very expensive loaves to make, so they will be $6.00 each, and I scale them at 900 grams (wet) instead of a kilo.

I will also have Country French, semolina, and sprouted grain. I should have a few loaves of the Leinsamenbrot too, since I have buttermilk in the fridge this week. And I'll have at least something sweet, maybe with raspberries or blackberries, depending on how much time I have. 

See you on Thursday from 5-7 on Main Street!

--Erik Ryberg

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