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Ancient Bread recipe, found in Herculaneum during archaeology dig, a loaf of bread.

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here is the recipe. I have no idea if this is gluten free?



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Making 2,000-year-old bread

In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live. Try it for yourself using Giorgio's recipe.


400g biga acida (sourdough)
12g yeast
18g gluten
24g salt
532g water
405g spelt flour
405g wholemeal flour

Carbonised loaf of bread, AD 79, Roman, Herculaneum. © Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei


Melt the yeast into the water and add it into the biga. Mix and sieve the flours together with the gluten and add to the water mix. Mix for two minutes, add the salt and keep mixing for another three minutes. Make a round shape with it and leave to rest for one hour. Put some string around it to keep its shape during cooking. Make some cuts on top before cooking to help the bread rise in the oven and cook for 30–45 minutes at 200 degrees.


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ok. If one studies grains well before GMO stuff, you will see how wheat was one of the first altered. I imagine you can just use whatever choice of grains that work up for yourself if you do this recipe.

I just thought it was cool . I know the Romans were huge about having their daily bread rations and this shows how a loaf was to be divided up per serving of it.

So, you can still shape it this way for some fun.

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Yes, Emmer wheat is one or two up from original wheat. Um :scratchhead: Can't think of the other common wheat that was found in pyramids or something and started up for growing again. Folks with gluten allergy often can eat these early versions without trouble. I wondered if the original bread actually had the added gluten or whether the folks who made this recipe added it? Where would ancient people gotten gluten?




OK, I looked up ancient grains for the other very early wheat type: Einkorn! It's thot to be the oldest known grain variety. Landrace [can survive with little/no cultivation] to the fertile crescent [israel, Irag, Jordan, Ethiopia, etc]









I've seen some ancient recipes....but I've never seen a loaf tied up with a cord to keep shape. Archaeology is fascinating at times.


Anyone compute this into U.S. measurements yet? I know there are sites with calculations....I haven't had much energy and mental focus to pursue it yet.


MtRider ....mebbe later. :cook:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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One of my links above is not working, tho I tried to fix it. :shrug: If you copy/paste , it does take you to the site.



From the last link: http://naturalfamilytoday.com/nutrition/list-of-ancient-wheat-varieties/




Einkorn was cultivated in what is now known as Iraq. It is thought to be one of the oldest grains that is still available in the world today.

Einkorn does not contain the 33 strand peptides that are a problem for those with celiacs disease and although it is still not recommended for celiacs it may be okay for those with more mild gluten intolerance. It is good to add to breads and baked goods but will be very sticky unless put with some other types of flour.


Emmer is is understood to be what the ancient Mesopotamians grew and used. It is popular in Italy and is known as farro there and it is used in pastas and risottos. It has many healthy proteins in it and makes a nicer, softer dough than Einkorn.


Spelt is more commonly known and used than the other wheat family members listed here. It is known to be lower in gluten, probably because it is closer to its ancient form than most modern wheat. It may be closer to the older forms because in the last century it was mostly used for animal feed.

Again many with gluten intolerance do not seem to be bothered by spelt grains. Spelt has more protein and fat than modern wheat and so makes for a heavier product.


Kamut is another ancient relative of wheat, also of Egyptian heritage. It has not been crossbred so again more easy to use for many people. It is considered to be higher in gluten than the other ancient grains but still it is less than modern wheat varieties . It is also high in protein.

Red Fife

Red Fife is a heritage grain first grown in 1842 by David Fife and his family in Ontario, Canada. There is some controversy over whether this wheat is lower in gluten content that many of the more modern wheat grown and sold these days.

Some growers claim there is a gliadin content (a protein that causes intolerance) of 35% as over against that of 80 % in more modern strains. There are also anecdotal stories of how this grain has been tolerated by those who cannot tolerate other more hybridized wheat varieties. (for more on Red Fife, read this.)



Triticale is a combination grain of rye and durum wheat and is a grain that would not occur naturally because it is a hybrid of two different grains. It was first grown in 1875 although it was not released for commercial production until 1969. It does have a lower gluten content than wheat as well as a higher protein content.


Any of these grains in the wheat family may be used in bread recipes but all of them still contain some gluten. My recommendation is that if you try any of them do it in sourdough recipes (as discussed last week.)


There is a medical disclosure at this site.....check with your own doctor before taking anything stated here as fact for yourself and any gluten challenges you might have.


[NOTE: Bold and underline is mine....for clarity]


For informational purposes only.....for anyone who hasn't seen these distinct varieties which are still available to buy for food or seed to plant.




MtRider :cook:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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I just heard about a grain called Treff that is quite ancient and is supposed to be gluten free. I don't know if it can be ground up but most can be so it probably can be too.


Does anyone know about how we get xanthum gum? That is in modern non gluten bread recipes as it behaves like gluten and binds the dough together with an elastic ability. It takes very little per recipe. Maybe that was used, Mt Rider?

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I think DH got xanthan gum at a health food store. But the brand is Bob's Red Mill which is on the Internet. There is another product too...forgot the name. Added to low gluten flours.


Yeah, Teff is out of Africa . Had a friend who'd been a missionary there and told of their flat bread staple.


Non-wheat grain and second article says it's gluten-free. [double-check to make sure it isn't low gluten] One pound of teff can produce one TON of grain in 12 wks. That's efficient farming!







So many more food options, internationally. IF we could get some things to grow here.


MtRider :lois:

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