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Sale of Bread Fresco, Pompeii

Sale of Bread Fresco, Pompeii



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Roman fresco showing sale of bread in market

Roman fresco showing the sale of bread in the market. The wall painting was discovered in the home of Julia Felix in Pompeii. Currently, the object is located in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

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Pompei Bread : Sale of Bread Fresco, Pompeii (Illustration) - Ancient . : A loaf of bread made in the first century ad, which was discovered at pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of mount vesuvius.. In addition to the bread the kitchen of pompeii was also based on the vegetables. Check out their menu for some delicious italian. In 79 ad a deadly eruption ended the history of small but wealthy roman cities of pompeii and herculaneum. I do not bake lots of bread though, i am more for pizza and that is plenty for me. A loaf of bread made in the first century ad, which was discovered at pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of mount vesuvius.

Radila sam ih kao lepinje,koje su inače izuzetno mekane i zaista, zaista preukusne. We bake the old traditional way ! Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples). Lunch, dinner, groceries, office supplies, or anything else: With many bakeries in pompeii, bread was a readily available staple.

Pompeii and Herculaneum: Lessons from the Ruins from brewminate.com Radila sam ih kao lepinje,koje su inače izuzetno mekane i zaista, zaista preukusne. This one loaf of bread (photo above) was one of many preserved. Coppa per il garum di pompei. See what vivian pompei (saypompei) has discovered on pinterest, the world's biggest collection of ideas. Mini meatballs, green peppers, marinara sauce & cheese. The ruins of pompeii were first discovered in the late 16th century, even though the existence of an. Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient later archaeologists even uncovered jars of preserved fruit and loaves of bread! Lightly breaded & fried seasoned chicken breast topped with our marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, served on our pompei italiano.

From the food and travel website.

With many bakeries in pompeii, bread was a readily available staple. From the food and travel website. Thick slices of italian bread, spread with a flavorful tuna paste, inspired by the ancient fish sauce called garum. The importance of bread in a roman's diet is justified by the finding of 35 bakeries. Mini meatballs, green peppers, marinara sauce & cheese. pɔmˈpei̯iː) was an ancient city located in what is now the comune of pompei near naples in the campania region of italy. Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples). These products were always present in rudimentary kitchens. Coppa per il garum di pompei. Walking through the lost city of pompeii evokes a lot of pompeii was quite obviously taken by complete surprise, the evidence of which is often. Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient later archaeologists even uncovered jars of preserved fruit and loaves of bread! I do not bake lots of bread though, i am more for pizza and that is plenty for me. In 79 ad a deadly eruption ended the history of small but wealthy roman cities of pompeii and herculaneum.

Bread may have been bought directly from the bakery, but it is likely that it was also sold from temporary stalls set up at different. For all the distance of years, the food of pompeii seems sunny and alive. Work and play in everyday pompeii gallery. Pompeii bread image used under creative commons license from thefreshloaf.com. This is the ultimate piece of toast:

Pompeii - bread oven | Pompeii, Decor from i.pinimg.com Order delivery from pompei on 1531 w taylor st, chicago, il. This one loaf of bread (photo above) was one of many preserved. Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples). From the food and travel website. Thick slices of italian bread, spread with a flavorful tuna paste, inspired by the ancient fish sauce called garum. Bread may have been bought directly from the bakery, but it is likely that it was also sold from temporary stalls set up at different. pɔmˈpei̯iː) was an ancient city located in what is now the comune of pompei near naples in the campania region of italy. See more of pompei bakery on facebook.

Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples).

Photo from wikimedia commonspublic domain. For all the distance of years, the food of pompeii seems sunny and alive. Radila sam ih kao lepinje,koje su inače izuzetno mekane i zaista, zaista preukusne. Many homes in pompeii baked their own bread but it seems that bakeries or pistrina were popular bakeries are easy to identify because of the large bread ovens attached to them. Ovo je definitivno nešto najbolje što sam u poslednjih nekoliko meseci probala. See more of pompei bakery on facebook. But it is unmistakably bread , and rather appetising, too. Bread loaves frozen in time. Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples). Strange pompeii artifacts that still capture our imagination today include prized archeologists digging through the weird pompeii ruins were given a fascinating task. Mini meatballs, green peppers, marinara sauce & cheese. Here are a few pictures of the pizzas cooked in pompeii oven and some bread. Unique dishes, such as libum, garum and savillum, were made with various combinations of ingredients.

Check out their menu for some delicious italian. We bake the old traditional way ! Here are a few pictures of the pizzas cooked in pompeii oven and some bread. Lightly breaded & fried seasoned chicken breast topped with our marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, served on our pompei italiano. The importance of bread in a roman's diet is justified by the finding of 35 bakeries.

pompeii bakery | Dr Owen Rees from owenrees.co.uk Photo from wikimedia commonspublic domain. But it is unmistakably bread , and rather appetising, too. In 79 ad a deadly eruption ended the history of small but wealthy roman cities of pompeii and herculaneum. Mini meatballs, green peppers, marinara sauce & cheese. Walking through the lost city of pompeii evokes a lot of pompeii was quite obviously taken by complete surprise, the evidence of which is often. Work and play in everyday pompeii gallery. Lunch, dinner, groceries, office supplies, or anything else: Bread loaves frozen in time.

Walking through the lost city of pompeii evokes a lot of pompeii was quite obviously taken by complete surprise, the evidence of which is often.

With many bakeries in pompeii, bread was a readily available staple. Postmates delivers from all your. This one loaf of bread (photo above) was one of many preserved. For all the distance of years, the food of pompeii seems sunny and alive. Photo from wikimedia commonspublic domain. Ovo je definitivno nešto najbolje što sam u poslednjih nekoliko meseci probala. Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples). Walking through the lost city of pompeii evokes a lot of pompeii was quite obviously taken by complete surprise, the evidence of which is often. In 79 ad a deadly eruption ended the history of small but wealthy roman cities of pompeii and herculaneum. pɔmˈpei̯iː) was an ancient city located in what is now the comune of pompei near naples in the campania region of italy. Mini meatballs, green peppers, marinara sauce & cheese. Thick slices of italian bread, spread with a flavorful tuna paste, inspired by the ancient fish sauce called garum. Pompeii bread image used under creative commons license from thefreshloaf.com.

Photo from wikimedia commonspublic domain. Unique dishes, such as libum, garum and savillum, were made with various combinations of ingredients. We bake the old traditional way ! In addition to the bread the kitchen of pompeii was also based on the vegetables. Check out their menu for some delicious italian.

Source: justinpluslauren.com

A loaf of bread made in the first century ad, which was discovered at pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of mount vesuvius. Bread loaves frozen in time. From the food and travel website. Many homes in pompeii baked their own bread but it seems that bakeries or pistrina were popular bakeries are easy to identify because of the large bread ovens attached to them. Work and play in everyday pompeii gallery.

Source: www.thevintagenews.com

Bread may have been bought directly from the bakery, but it is likely that it was also sold from temporary stalls set up at different. I do not bake lots of bread though, i am more for pizza and that is plenty for me. Lightly breaded & fried seasoned chicken breast topped with our marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, served on our pompei italiano. See more of pompei bakery on facebook. Coppa per il garum di pompei.

See what vivian pompei (saypompei) has discovered on pinterest, the world's biggest collection of ideas. In addition to the bread the kitchen of pompeii was also based on the vegetables. I do not bake lots of bread though, i am more for pizza and that is plenty for me. See more of pompei bakery on facebook. The ruins of pompeii were first discovered in the late 16th century, even though the existence of an.

A loaf of bread made in the first century ad, which was discovered at pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of mount vesuvius. With many bakeries in pompeii, bread was a readily available staple. Bread may have been bought directly from the bakery, but it is likely that it was also sold from temporary stalls set up at different. Work and play in everyday pompeii gallery. This one loaf of bread (photo above) was one of many preserved.

Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples). A loaf of bread made in the first century ad, which was discovered at pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of mount vesuvius. Order delivery from pompei on 1531 w taylor st, chicago, il. Photo from wikimedia commonspublic domain. Bread may have been bought directly from the bakery, but it is likely that it was also sold from temporary stalls set up at different.

Source: famenycmagazine.files.wordpress.com

These products were always present in rudimentary kitchens. Check out their menu for some delicious italian. From the food and travel website. Order delivery from pompei on 1531 w taylor st, chicago, il. Strange pompeii artifacts that still capture our imagination today include prized archeologists digging through the weird pompeii ruins were given a fascinating task.

Source: www.kickassfacts.com

Unique dishes, such as libum, garum and savillum, were made with various combinations of ingredients. But it is unmistakably bread , and rather appetising, too. Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient later archaeologists even uncovered jars of preserved fruit and loaves of bread! Bread loaves frozen in time. Thick slices of italian bread, spread with a flavorful tuna paste, inspired by the ancient fish sauce called garum.

Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient later archaeologists even uncovered jars of preserved fruit and loaves of bread! We bake the old traditional way ! Work and play in everyday pompeii gallery. But it is unmistakably bread , and rather appetising, too. Strange pompeii artifacts that still capture our imagination today include prized archeologists digging through the weird pompeii ruins were given a fascinating task.

See more of pompei bakery on facebook.

Source: upload.wikimedia.org

Walking through the lost city of pompeii evokes a lot of pompeii was quite obviously taken by complete surprise, the evidence of which is often.

Source: roundhaybakehouse.com

But it is unmistakably bread , and rather appetising, too.

Source: roundhaybakehouse.com

Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples).

Source: ridiculouslyinteresting.files.wordpress.com

In 79 ad a deadly eruption ended the history of small but wealthy roman cities of pompeii and herculaneum.

Source: www.thefooddictator.com

Lightly breaded & fried seasoned chicken breast topped with our marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, served on our pompei italiano.

Here are a few pictures of the pizzas cooked in pompeii oven and some bread.

Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient later archaeologists even uncovered jars of preserved fruit and loaves of bread!

Source: www.kitchenproject.com

Mini meatballs, green peppers, marinara sauce & cheese.

Work and play in everyday pompeii gallery.

Source: upload.wikimedia.org

Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient later archaeologists even uncovered jars of preserved fruit and loaves of bread!

These products were always present in rudimentary kitchens.

Bread sale fresco from the house of julia felix at pompeii (national archaeology museum naples).

Source: www.thevintagenews.com

The ruins of pompeii were first discovered in the late 16th century, even though the existence of an.

Walking through the lost city of pompeii evokes a lot of pompeii was quite obviously taken by complete surprise, the evidence of which is often.

Source: upload.wikimedia.org

Ovo je definitivno nešto najbolje što sam u poslednjih nekoliko meseci probala.

The importance of bread in a roman's diet is justified by the finding of 35 bakeries.

Source: www.grownuptravels.com

I do not bake lots of bread though, i am more for pizza and that is plenty for me.

This is the ultimate piece of toast:

Source: peripateticbone.files.wordpress.com

Pompeii bread image used under creative commons license from thefreshloaf.com.

Here are a few pictures of the pizzas cooked in pompeii oven and some bread.

Source: www.grandvoyageitaly.com

This one loaf of bread (photo above) was one of many preserved.

Source: emilianotufano.files.wordpress.com

These products were always present in rudimentary kitchens.

Ovo je definitivno nešto najbolje što sam u poslednjih nekoliko meseci probala.

pɔmˈpei̯iː) was an ancient city located in what is now the comune of pompei near naples in the campania region of italy.


THE BAKER’S AND BREADMAKING

The importance of bread in a roman’s diet is justified by the finding of 35 bakeries. The building in itself is pretty standard, the baker’shasn’t really changed at all in these centuries ,wood was used, and grinders were used to make the flour, a brick oven and a place where dough was kneaded before going into the bread oven because the baker’s were associated together with the stables because the animals would live and work the move the mill to be transported after.
And with any business. There was always signs of good luck. The ancient Romans were a suspicious bunch. The famous stone with a man’s phallus and the words ‘hic habilat felicitas’ means ‘you will find happiness here’ was found written on one of the walls of the baker’s shop N. Popidius Priscus.

Grain was grinded using lavic stone, it was made up in 2 parts: the top one was clepsydra and the bottom one a coned shape.

Grain was grinded using lavic stone, it was made up in 2 parts: the top one was clepsydra and the bottom one a coned shape.

On the top part there were 2 wooden brackets which made the part spin, on the bottom one –the grain then got crushed into a powder form – flour as we know it now, which fell down onto an iron slab at the circular base of the grinder.
The flour was then sieved using 1. One which was very fine, this was destined for very rich customers and 2. A sieve that was slightly less fine, this would be called integral that would be sold to the lower class citizens and poor folk.


Jump to the recipe

Bread is one of the most universal and common foods, present in some form or another in almost every continent, culture, and time period. There are and have been thousands of varieties that differ in shape, taste, texture, and context and possibly thousands more that have been lost to history. The ancient Romans are now infamous for foods and dishes that seem bizarre and outlandish by modern observers today but as an empire that expanded across three continents and contained hundreds of different cultural and ethnic groups, the foods consumed in ancient Rome were also rich, diverse, and varied. One of the most common foods across the world, the many different breads consumed by the Romans were a reflection of the many social, cultural, economic, and political groups that lived within the empire.

The flour, bread, and grains consumed by the Romans were usually made of wheat, barley, or emmer, a grain related closely to wheat.(1,6) Other grains were also used less commonly, including rye and millet.(6) Of them all, wheat eventually became the most sought-after grain, not due to any spectacular taste or texture, but because it grew slower than barley and so was considered almost a luxury item because of this.(7) It was also thought to be more highly nutritious and easier to digest.(11) As the empire expanded and the population grew, grain was imported from newly conquered territories, including Egypt, Sicily, and North Africa.(7,11)

In the earlier periods, most of the grain was ground at home by hand using a hand mill or quern, both of which rely on two stones rubbing back and forth or in a circle to grind the grain between them into meal or flour. Later, large bakery businesses used much bigger mills which were turned by animals (usually mules) or enslaved laborers to produce large batches flour and meal to sell to customers. Some cities even had water mills powered by rivers. While later advances in technology created finer and finer flours, they were still much coarser and the resulting breads and porridge were much tougher and denser than modern breads today. They were also prone to having ground stone mixed in as a result of the grinding process.(1)

When bread was made, it was sometimes kneaded in stone bowls, which may have added more minute bits of stone powder to the bread. The kneading could be done by hand or by wooden paddles.(1) Early breads were baked in the warm ashes of the family hearth or in a pan. These techniques were still used at home or in the rural parts of the empire but most bread was baked in ovens if possible. It was believed that bread baked in ovens came out lighter, better tasting, and better for the body.(11) Early ovens were actually carved out of rock faces. Inside the hewn out spaces, a fire was burnt until hot before being put out, the ashes removed, and the dough placed inside while still warm. It was closed with a large boulder or sealed with clay until it was baked through. Man-made ovens were later made of brick or stones but still operated the same way. Chimneys were later added to help better control the temperature and humidity inside the oven. Baking could also be done at home over or in the family's hearth. When large, professional bakeries became established, they used a more sophisticated oven which had two spaces, an opening at the bottom where the fire was stoked and a separate space over it where the bread was baked. This more closely resembles modern ovens used today, with racks for the food over a heating element underneath.(14)

Grain has been the backbone of many diets across the world and across time. The Roman Empire was no different. For many, especially the lower class, grain-based foods like porridge and bread made up the majority of their meals.(11) Grain was so important that it was even used as a political tool to influence voters. Politicians running for office sponsored legislation to provide low-cost and even free grain rations and later bread to the general public. This government-provided ration became so popular that it was a fixture in Rome for several years.(1) Upgrading the ration from grain to bread is thought to have improved the diets of many Romans, who were eating mostly porridge prior to this.(12) Called the annona , it was lauded as a way to relieve poverty throughout the empire. At one point as much as a third of the total population was receiving free bread through the annona .(11) As the empire expanded, more and more grain was needed to keep up with the ration for an ever-growing population.(1) With expansion, however, came new and fertile farmlands, and later the empire was importing more and more grains from newly conquered territories.(7)

Once bread became a fixed part of Roman life through government rationing, demand increased exponentially. While milling grains and baking bread was still done at home, most citizens preferred to buy or receive their bread already made for the sake of convenience. With the increase in demand for pre-made bread, many millers diversified to also become bakers. Commercial-style bakeries emerged, especially in the larger cities like Rome and Pompeii, where grain was ground, baked into breads, and sold all in one business. Bakeries sold average loaves to people for daily consumption but also created specialty breads eaten on holidays, festivals, or special occasions They also made more complex breads to be eaten by the wealthy.(1) Some even became known for specializing in exotic breads adopted from the many diverse people who inhabited the empire.(6,10)

Large industrial-style bakeries were a common business in the largest cities in the empire and were called pistrina . They could be massive, between 600-1,500 square meters just on the ground floor, which housed animal- or slave-powered mills, preparation space to make baked goods, ovens, storage spaces, and storefronts to sell wares. With the high increased in bread consumption, professional bakers, called pistor , and bakery owners became some of the most lucrative businessmen in the empire.(1) While baking at home it was done by women, these large, commercial enterprises were all run by men who formed guilds called the Collegium Pistorum .(1,7) Like other politicians, bakers used their access to bread to influence politics in their favor. Some became so powerful they ran for office while others were happy to simply pull strings from the sidelines. Some became so wealthy they were laid to rest in elaborate and massive tombs.(7)

Bread was a staple food of the Roman Empire and eaten by all people regardless of social or economic class. However, that didn't mean that all breads were created equal. Finer flours, the result of more rigorous and time-consuming milling, created finer breads which were more expensive to produce and buy, usually only affordable to the wealthy. Lower classes had coarser loaves.(6) How bread was eaten was also determined by what a person could afford the poor usually consumed it plain or only dipped in a bit of wine or milk while the wealthy ate it paired with cheeses, fruits, eggs, olives, and honey.(6,11) In a time and culture without cutlery where upper-class diners were expected to eat reclining with only one free hand, breads and pastries were the ultimate finger foods, acting as food and dining ware all in one.(11)

Leavening, the process which

bubbles to help bread rise

and give it an airier texture,

until later which it is believed

Greeks. Before this, allowing

the dough to rise was seen as

the equivalent to letting to it

go bad and the Romans were

disgusted that people would

choose to let their dough

earliest Roman breads made

unleavened breads were made by a simple combination of flour and water

mixed together and baked into a coarse flatbread called maza.(1) These flatbreads were often made on the hearth at home or in pans over the fire.(7)

When leavening did make an appearance, it seems to have heavily influenced Roman bread making. Many of the breads represented in art and frescoes from the Roman Empire are pictured as being round and risen and scored into eight equal wedges. This is also the kind of bread discovered not long ago almost perfectly preserved in a bakery in Pompeii.(7) Other breads resembled pancakes, croissants, buns, and wafers.(1,11) They were sweet and savory a savory flatbread served with pickled fish and onions was called piada .(1) Others were flavored with poppy seeds and honey or suet and cheese.(11) Lentaculum was a bread made of emmer and salt shaped into round discs, while artolaganus is described as a dense, coarse cake. Parthia bread, a regional specialty, was soaked in water before being baked and was highly regarded for being so light and airy that it was sponge-like.(6) There was even a square bread called dice which was made with aniseed and cheese.(11) Leavening truly opened the doors for a variety of different styles and shapes to enter Roman cuisine.(7) Baking technology also helped. With the introduction of the bi-level oven, professional bakers learned to create different pastries at different temperatures. Flatbreads, for example, were baked when the fire was first started, followed by large leavened loaves, dishes made with meats, pastries, and finally, the really delicate desserts as the heat started to die.(14)

So-called "Picenum bread" (or Panis Picens ) is mentioned only briefly in one passage by Pliny

the Elder in his section on grains and bread making in Naturalis Historia

( "Natural History" ).(1,2) Among many other regional varieties, it is described as a special

invention created by the people living in the Picenum region of Italy.(1) Picenum was the name

given to a region of western Italy on the coast of the Adriatic Sea located in roughly the same

area as the modern day Marche region.(2) It was originally home to a loose conglomerate of

Iron Age tribes and a few small cities before being taken over by Rome in 268 B.C.(8,9) The

bread it became so famous for was made by soaking the groats or flour in liquid for a period of

nine days. On the tenth day, the soaked flour is then turned out and kneaded into a dough with

grape or raisin juice before being baked in clay molds, called artoptae .(1) After baking, the

molds were broken to free the bread, which was then soaked in milk, wine, or honeyed water

Picenum bread is described as a specialty bread and a delicacy which may have been

consumed by the wealthy. This may be due to the time-consuming, ten-day process which

would have made it more expensive to produce and so only available to those who could

afford to buy it, making it a kind of status symbol.(1) This kind of bread is said to have been served during a

banquet which was attended by Julius Caesar.(2) Banquets were often more than just about hosting they were expressions of power and important social events where foods and decorations were as much about symbolism as they were about tasted. How food was executed and how costly the ingredients meant a great deal more than how common or available they were.(11) Given this, Picenum bread, with its rather humble ingredients of groats and milk, may have been elevated in status due to its long preparation time, hinting at a host's ability to plan ahead and their mindfulness in preparing the banquet. According to one poet, "Picene bread rises with its white nectar as a light sponge swells with water."(13) Obviously, some people were really liking Picenum bread.

Though translations and interpretations vary, the recipe below attempts to follow the translation included in Mark Grant's Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens and Mary Ellen Snodgrass' World Food: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence from Hunter Gatherers to the Age of Globalization .(2,15) The translation from Roman Cookery states that Pliny the Elder wrote in his Naturalis Historia :

"There still remains a sense of pride in Picenum over the local recipe for bread made with groats. Soaked for nine days, then kneaded on the tenth day with raisin juice to look like pastry, it is afterwards put in earthenware pots and baked in the oven where the pots should crack open. It is not served unless it has been softened, usually in milk or honeyed wine."(2)

While it's only mentioned in one passage, interpretations vary rather widely. Some believe it was made with dried fruits and nuts.(1,6) Some translations state it is made with whole groats while others believe it was made with ground flour.(2) Groats are the kernels of grains which have been processed only enough to remove the hull (also called the husk or chaff) of the grain. Because they are minimally processed, they take longer to cook, have a "hearty, chewy texture," and contains nutrients not found in more processed grains. Some groats, including a kind of wheat groat called bulgar, have a rich culinary history in many Middle Eastern cultures. Groats often have to be soaked or simmered for a long period of time before being cooked or consumed, which may give evidence that Picenum bread was made with groats rather than flour.(3) Groats were used by the Romans to make bread and these loaves were probably considered lower class breads under normal circumstances given the high regard held for loaves made from finer flour.(6) Other interpretations say Picenum bread was made with alica flour while others state it was made from alica groats.(12,13) Alica was a kind of emmer wheat, described as being very coarsely ground but highly prized.(13) It was often used to make breads and cakes, including a flat hard cake called libum which was used as offerings. Alica groats were also roasted and offered to the deities during a thanksgiving festival called the Feast of the Ovens.(15) Other sources say it was made of spelt flour, a common flour at the time.(14)

Soaking the groats for such a long period of time (without air conditioning or refrigeration in the hot Italian climate) has been thought to have imparted a sour or fermented taste to the bread and has been compared with making bread with a sourdough starter. This, however, can be dangerous as it can result in the groats becoming rotten rather than fermented.(2) Cooking the dough in a clay mold may have been connected to an older tradition of baking bread under earthenware or clay pottery, which would have helped keep the bread moist and given it a bit of rise and lightness in the era before leavening was introduced.(6) Other recipes would soak flour in grape juice and set it aside to help it ferment, which was another interpretation of the Picenum bread recipe. Others used water or ale with similar results.(11) Some recipes say the Picenum groats or flour was soaked in water, grape juice, raisin juice, or wine before baking.(15)

While many different shapes of breads were around throughout the Roman empire, a few descriptions of Picenum bread state it was formed into a long shape or even rolled.(12) Other describe it as a flatbread which came out naturally dry, hence why it was later soaked in milk.(14)

Soaking the bread before consuming it was a fairly common

practice in Rome. Bread dipped in wine was an acceptable breakfast

and bread was often served plain at large meals in order to soak up

the many sauces and dips that commonly came with Roman

dishes.(11) Wine was an important part of daily life in the

Mediterranean world. The earliest literature from the Roman

Empire on wine and vineyards dates to 160 B.C. and Pliny himself

wrote about winemaking in his Naturalis Historia. Many recipes

from surviving Roman cookbooks include recipes for making wine

cocktails and refreshers, including a beverage often served at the

beginning of meals called mulsum , made from wine sweetened with

honey. Like grains, different types of wine were divided into a

hierarchy with aged, strong, sweet, white wines were considered the

most superior. These were often diluted with water (drinking

undiluted wine was considered a primitive and barbarous custom),

sweetened with honey, and flavored with spices. At the bottom of

the wine hierarchy were the cheap, young red wines drunk on a daily basis by those who couldn't afford anything else.(4)

The inclusion of milk in the recipe is rather puzzling given the Romans disregard with the product. Milk was considered a drink of the lower class farming community living in the rural areas of civilization. It was hardly ever drunk by anyone who wasn't living on or near a farm as it spoiled too quickly to be transported and gained a reputation of being a drink of the poor, unsophisticated, and/or young. When confronted with the Germanic and Celtic people living to the north, the Romans and the Greeks were appalled by the "excessive amounts of milk" they drank. Milk kept better in the cooler climates to the north than the warmer, wetter climates to the south and was more heavily consumed by the people living there. The Romans and Greeks used this as evidence of their northern neighbors' barbarism. Milk was present in the Roman Empire, but was turned into cheese which the Romans adored at all meals at any time of day.(5) They felt the same about those who ate butter as they did about those who ate milk (often the same people), calling them primitive and outlandish "butter eaters."(6) The Romans and Greeks, who had access to olive oil, had no need for butter. When used in baking, olive oil produced denser and sturdier breads and pastries, which was probably needed by diners who ate by reaching out for their food with one hand while reclining on a couch.(11) Some versions of Picenum bread state it was principally soaked in milk mixed with honey, while others state it was usually wine mixed with honey, or even just honeyed water.(12,14)

Like dozens of other ancient recipes, there is a large range of interpretation on how bread from Picenum was made. I used the above-mentioned recipe due to the descriptions of alica as a coarse-ground grain, which seemed to somewhat match other recipes describing it as being made with groats. To substitute groats, I used steel-cut oats, which are basically groats that have been sliced in half. I wanted to stick with just oats but the results were too runny so I ended up adding flour. I also omitted adding dry fruits or nuts (though I was sorely tempted) as they aren't mentioned in Pliny's descriptions. That doesn't mean they weren't used but I just wanted this first attempt to stay as loyal to what little historical information there is as possible. For raisin juice I just used white grape juice, which may or may not have been the same thing (if they aren't I'm not entirely sure how I would go about getting juice from a raisin). I did also two different soaks, mostly out of curiosity about how they each taste but also to provide a non-alcoholic option. To try to imitate the clay molds, I baked it between two cake pans. My breads turned out pretty dense and chewy, but still sweet and full of flavor. The one soaked in milk has been a great breakfast food (and the wine one a pretty nice way to end dinner).

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Reliefs from the Tomb of Eurysaces the Baker in Rome. Scenes show the breadmaking process from when the grain was weighed and sold at market (top), to being ground and shaped into dough (middle), and finally being baked into bread (bottom). Credit: Ancient Rome(3C)

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(Left)The ruins of a bakery in Pompeii where the large oven and mills are still standing. (Right)A drawing depicting what a bakery in Ancient Rome may have looked like during business hours. Two men work baking bread loaves into the oven while another, most likely a slave, turns the giant mill to grind grain into flour. Credits: (Left)Bread, Cakes, and Ale(1A) and (Right)123RF(2B)

Modern recreations of the variety of breads available to the Ancient Romans. Credits: Italia Squisita Eng Youtube Channel(4D)

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(Above, left) A carbonized loaf of bread found intact from Pompeii. It has been scored into right wedges for sharing and a baker's mark or seal can be seen in one wedge. (Right)A fresco from The House of the Baker in Pompeii shows customers buying similar-looking bread. Credits: (Above, left)The British Museum(5E) and (Right)BBC(6F)

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The Marche region of Italy (colored red), was the location of the ancient Roman region of Picenum. Credits: Wikipedia(7G)

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Roman fresco of different foods, including grapes, pomegranates, and what may be an amphora of wine. Credits:History on the Net(8H)


Two "thermopolia" (that on the right belonged to Lucius Vetutius Placidus, see its painting)

These shops were always open to the streets, like those we see in the older quarters of Italian towns at the present day. (..) The Shops were very small and mean in appearance and were all of one character, having the business part in front and one or two little chambers behind. A few only of the better class appeared to have had any second floor, and of that there is no other evidence than the occasional occurrence of a ruined staircase. The shop was open to the street, like those of modern Italy, and was closed at night by sliding shutters. In front it had a broad counter of masonry, with three little steps at the end next the wall for the display of the goods, and a small oven in the opposite end, where the articles sold were for consumption as food or drink. When first excavated, many of the shops had the names of their owners written over them, mostly in red paint. Others had signs in terra cotta, to denote the trade which was carried on within them. Murray
Fast food is not a modern invention because many small taverns at Pompeii and Herculaneum sold food and beverages to passers-by. We can assume they mainly operated at lunchtime when public buildings and markets were open. Their customers came from other towns or just did not have time to go home and have lunch. A more elaborate thermopolium with an inner garden has been found at Ostia. The word means "sale of hot (food)".


Sale of Bread Fresco, Pompeii - History

Archaeological tours, packages and exclusive multy day excursions in Campania for tourists, lovers,

The presence of many bakeries and pastry shops (about 34) for the production and sale of products made of flour, suggests that the bakery was one of the most thriving city of Pompeii. The larger plants (about 23) were almost always fitted with grinders, stall, and a residential neighborhood, but without the shop for direct sale.

The work began in the bakery with the weighing of grain, wheat was then placed in the mills by the journeymen bakers (pistores). The millstones were made of lava stone (catillus), material that did not leave harmful residues in flour to the teeth. They had an hourglass shape and long arms of wood, and inside them was inserted a conical element of smaller size (meta). These machines were operated by slaves or donkeys, which imprinted them a rotary motion can grind the grain. The flour obtained was then collected on a lead sheet that covered the circular base of brick mills. Followed the sieving adjusted depending on the type of customer to be served. The meshed sieves were used to obtain very fine white flour for breads precious, those for the coarse and coarse brown flour suitable for making bread for the populace. So, everything was mixed with water and distributed on special boards where you gave the required shape and bake.

Some types of bread were decorated with anise, poppy seeds, sesame and other trees established on the crust with egg white. It seems that only in the late-Republican began to use the yeast, obtained by mixing millet or bran flour to sour.

The ovens were made of bricks (opus latericiumcium), while the floor of the bakery was made of slabs of basalt lava, the same material used to pave roads, which facilitate the evolution of animals or slaves who pushed the millstones tied to wooden beams.

On the outer wall of the furnace of panifico connected to the house of N. Popidius Priscus, was found a slab of travertine with a phallus in relief with the inscription "hic habitat felicitas", now in the Secret Cabinet of the National Museum of Naples. The writing, the clear apotropaic value, linking the production of bread and the generative force of nature.

Of special interest are found in the charred eighty loaves Modestus shop. They have nearly all of a circular shape to eight segments, a diameter of about 20cm, and an average weight of about 580g.


Baking Bread with the Romans: Part III – The Panis Strikes Back

Salvete Pistores! Good day from Rome! I hope you like rabbit holes because we’re about to go down a deep one. It’s time to revisit the Panis Quadratus, the Pompeian bread that has been represented so beautifully and frequently in the archaeological records at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Most of us at some point in our lives have seen images of these iconic loaves of ancient Roman bread as they were represented in frescoes or as artefactual evidence itself at the 2,000-year-old Roman town of Pompeii. In 1862, 81 of these circular loaves were excavated from a large industrial oven at the Bakery of Modestus at the site and since then these beautiful examples of ancient food preparation and food culture have intrigued bakers, archaeologists and food historians alike.

When I published my first article and interpretation for a Panis Quadratus recipe in September of 2017 here on Tavola Mediterranea, the response was overwhelming and wonderful. Readers from all corners of the web and all areas of culinary and academic backgrounds chimed in to offer their thoughts and theories on how this iconic bread was made and which kitchen implements may have been used to create its intriguing and unusual form. What was the loaf made of? Why was the loaf sectioned into 8 or more pieces? What tools were used to create its forms and features? These questions prompted conversations on sites such as Hacker News and on the Tavola Facebook page, and via email and comments on the original post’s page. This topic and some of my work was then featured on Atlas Obscura and on Simon Morton’s ‘This Way Up‘ (RNZ) after the initial article was circulated online. The overall response prompted me to do some further research and experimentation in an attempt to try to get closer to understanding the process that went into making this stunning bread and recreating it as true to its original form as possible. But it wasn’t easy. This recent process of research and experimentation has been a veritable bread-nerd rabbit hole, a process that depleted wheat supplies in the state of California, and a process that saw an army of bread overtake my home like a scene out of Mother! This process also allowed me to understand how the ingredients behaved with water and starter, how these loaves may have been formed, and how these loaves could have been made efficiently and in high volume during the height of the Empire. This article will delve into some of my new research, experimentation, ideas and theories and will quite possibly take us one step closer to understanding how the Panis Quadratus (or Panis Siligineus) was made and what tools and ingredients were used to make it. So, if you’d like to go down this rabbit hole with me, get some grain from your horreum and pour yourself a nice mug of mulsum,… but before we begin here’s a bit of history and context:

Barley and bread wheat (Triticum Aestivum) were the two most frequently used grains in Greek and Roman cooking with barley yielding almost 9 times more supply than wheat itself making wheat somewhat of a luxury grain. While the Roman province of Egypt was the prime supplier of wheat to the Empire for many years, wheat was also being shipped in to Rome and its surrounding settlements from Pontus and Sicily.

Professional bakers in Rome, and in Pompeii, did not exist until the 2nd century BC and it is suggested that this advancement in specialized crafts has everything to do with the appropriation of Macedonia for the Republic by Aemilius Paulus. It is also suggested that Pliny the Elder’s reference to Greek knowledge of leaven indicates that yeast likely became a component of Roman bread-making during this time as Greek bakers were employed in Roman settings: “The Greeks have established a rule that for a modius of meal eight ounces of leaven is enough.” (Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis – Book XVIII-26(11)). This also suggests that the advent of leavened bread-making by the Romans in the 2nd century, despite the feelings of disgust or impurity that ‘putrefied and rotten dough’ invoked in many, brought bread to a whole new level of social and dietary significance.

At this critical point in Roman history, bread was the backbone of the Roman daily diet. Commercial bread-baking began to emerge and the role of baking meager flat-breads on the home hearth moved from the hands of women in the household into the hands of the men who ran commercial bakeries. These commercial bread bakers (pistores) were powerful men in Roman society and the bakeries themselves are incredibly telling and sensory environments. Bread required massive quantities of wheat, fire-wood, and slave and animal labour to produce a daily supply to feed approximately 12,000 people. Donkeys walked in circles tirelessly, for hours on end, rotating the industrial sized quern-stones (grain-mills) that ground the wheat slaves did the same if animal labour was not possible. A kneading apparatus was also employed that featured rotated wooden bars that paddled dough just like our modern Kitchen-Aid mixers do only with human or animal strength to power it. The ovens were fired from dusk until dawn and enough grain had to be imported from within the region or from provincially confiscated territories to supply the Roman people with their daily bread. Bread was prepared daily, in high volume, sometimes in the home but mostly in commercial bakeries run by a Corpus Pistorum (or Collegium Pistorum): a veritable trade-union of powerful bakers who were likely looked upon as a Roman version of the ‘Hoffa teamsters’ of the day. The men who controlled the bread and the commercial ovens often ran for office or influenced civic elections themselves. A common saying of the day was to say that a baker ‘gave good bread’, ‘bonum panem fert’, which meant that he could be a trusted community member or a potential civic official.

To understand the power that bakers once held in Imperial Rome, all one has to do is stand in the shadow of the enormous tomb of master baker, Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces, that was erected outside of Porta Maggiore in Rome during the 1st century BC. The monument, which is often touted as being garish and overdone, is a beautifully rendered structure that visually and textually summarizes the accomplishments of a respected Roman baker and his baking enterprises. The construction materials used to build the monument also incorporates actual circular bread-kneading bins as a part of the structure. At the top of the structure is an epitaph that reads as follows: ‘Est hoc monimentum Marcei Vergilei Eurysacis pistoris, redemptoris, apparet’ which translates into English as: ‘This is the tomb of Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces, baker, contractor, it’s obvious!’. In addition to the epitaph, a band of marble reliefs line the top of the structure that beautifully demonstrates the stages of Roman bread production in a commercial bakery setting.

Archaeological Evidence

Turning now to the beautiful Roman resort town of Pompeii, let’s explore some of the archaeological evidence for making Panis Quadratus in this setting. In 1862, the Bakery of Modestus was excavated under Guiseppe Fiorelli and produced 81 intact and semi-intact loaves of bread that were abandoned in situ in a large oven when the original bakers fled the bakery, and the town itself, during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. 76 of these 81 loaves were the circular, 8-wedged variety that we see frequently on display in the museums and in publications about the site.

De Luca (1863) conducted an in-depth study of the loaves and some of the finds at The Bakery of Modestus and notes that the wedge divisions on the top of the loaf are relatively even in relation to each other, they’re convex, and the divisions between them were created by ‘something sharp’ and with the application of pressure. De Luca also remarks that a central ‘sag’ is common in the loaves with a hole-like indentation that is not perfectly circular or centred. He suggests that the horizontal rim around the external edge was created with several slashes of a knife as he felt that that contour was not even or created with one single motion. De Luca also notes that the exterior of the bread is a darker ‘brown’ with the inside crumb appearing to be lighter in tone. The density of the crumb is also less than the crust demonstrating some cavities in the crumb than can be found in leavened breads. The loaves, on average, measured 20 cm in diameter but fluctuated, due to composition, oven-spring, or spreading, anywhere from 18 cm to 22 cm (7 inches – 8 2/3 inches).

Complementing some of this form-related archaeological data at Pompeii in a very useful way are a group of 25 bronze pans that were found in situ in the Bakery of Sextus Patulcius Felix at Herculaneum. Judging by their sizes and location in a pistrinum at the 2,000-year-old site that is located fifteen kilometres north of Pompeii. These pans were interpreted as being pans that were used for forming bread and pastries, not for baking them, by Amedeo Maiuri (1958). This interpretation is also supported by the fact that the loaves excavated at The Bakery of Modestus were not found to have been baking in pans in the oven that they were excavated from but rather were found resting on the oven floor.

De Luca (1863) also records that on August 7 th , a small grain mill was excavated at the Bakery of Modestus that contained a large amount of unmilled grain. Physical (visual) and chemical analysis of the carbonized grains revealed that all of the grain found in this mill was ordinary bread wheat (triticum aestivum). This wheat was often milled and sieved several times, refining it to a delicate, fine flour that was called ‘siligo’, thus the other name often used when referring to this bread: panis siligineus.

On a side note, the term ‘Panis Quadratus‘ is the most commonly used term for this bread when referred to in English. It wasn’t fabricated by academics or classicists, though it is derived from a quote by Atheneus: “Seleucus (fr. 40 Müller) says that warm bread crumbled into liquid is called blema. Philemon says in Book I of A Complete List of Sacrificial Offerings that purnos is the name for bread that is made from unsifted flour and contains all parts of the grain he also reports that incised loaves, which the Romans refer to as kodratoi, are called blomiaioi, and that brammite is the term for bran bread, which Amerias (p. 10 Hoffmann) and Timachidas (fr. 26 Blinkenberg) call eukonos . Philetas in his Miscellany (fr. 11 Dettori) reports that spodeus is the name of a type of bread consumed only by one’s relatives.” (Athenaeus, The Learned Banqueters. 114.e). Some readers may consider the name to be confusing, as the loaf is cut into 8 sections, but if you consider that those eight sections could be created by four long linear divisions, created from end to end of the loaf edge (travelling straight though the centre node), you’re then looking at four lines, not eight.

So doesn’t this data give us a bit more to work with? I’d say we should offer a libum to Ceres in thanks but we don’t have time we have lots of wheat to mill. So with this additional information and some good old-fashioned experimentation, let’s see if we can move a bit closer to making this loaf as true to form through experimentation and further interpretation! It’s time to strap the donkey to the quern-stone, roll up our toga sleeves and see what we can arrive at with this new information. Some of the implements used in this experiment may not be readily available to most but feel free to improvise if you decide to follow along. Here’s what you’re going to need:

Baking Bread with the Romans: Part III – The Panis Strikes Back

Ingredients (for two loaves and a bit)

  • 5 pounds (2.2 kg ) of whole wheat flour (hand-milled or store-bought)
  • 5 cups (1.25 L) of tepid water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of bread starter*
  • 2 tsp salt
    • Flour sieve
      • Large mixing bowl
        • Large cotton tea towel
          • 2 shallow 8” (20 cm) circular baking pans
            • Baking or gardening twine
              • Parchment paper
                • Cooking scale
                  • A thin dowel or an 8” (20 cm) circular wooden wheel
                  • Optional: A ceramic baking cloche or a custom testa. You can also use a dutch oven if you use parchment paper below the bread during its final rise. You may also use a pizza stone or large baking sheet.

                  *The hydration of your bread starter may affect the hydration of your dough. Your end goal is to achieve a large ball of dough that is firm but workable Not too dry as to crack or rupture when rising but not too wet or tacky as to spread too much during the proofing process. Here is a recipe for Pliny the Elder’s levain, or bread starter, if you’d like to make your own.

                  Note: We’re going to do some of this by weight, including weighing the dough prior to shaping as you would in a modern commercial bakery. This choice was made as it was highly likely that these loaves were a controlled product and were likely weighed before sale as well as before baking in order to keep their sizes as uniform as possible for yield and distribution accuracy.

                  Preparation

                  1. Begin preparing your dough by mixing the starter in with the tepid water until it is fully dissolved.
                  2. Sieve your flour, hand-milled or otherwise. Use the exact amount indicated above as your refined flour component in the dough.
                  3. Add the flour and salt and to the mixture and begin mixing your bread dough. If the pistores used a kneading machine, you go ahead and power up that Kitchen-Aid mixer if you want to sip your mulsum with your other hand! You may also take an old-school approach and use a donkey and a plank of wood… or your hands. Again, depending on the coarseness of your flour and the hydration of your starter, assess the dough as you go and add water or flour as needed to obtain a workable ball of dough that is not too sticky or too dry.
                  4. Cover your mixing bowl with a damp tea towel (ring the water out well) and let the dough stand until it doubles or triples in size. This time will vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen and its humidity levels.

                  Once the dough has risen, retrieve your cooking scale and your 8” baking pans. Here’s where things get interesting. At this stage I decided to experiment with how much dough would fit nicely into the size of a proofing pan that has a lip that is equal in diameter to the average panis quadratus loaf. I considered that the pistores in the Roman bakeries likely weighed their bread to maintain a consistent size and output when making these loaves, especially considering the fact that the loaves were often weighed before distribution. Beginning with one Roman pound of dough, which is equivalent to 329 grams, I began pulling dough from my mixing bowl and weighing it until I had an amount in on my scale that looked like it could sit inside the 8” pan (De Luca’s 20 cm average diameter) with enough room to expand, both towards the sides of the pan and slightly over the upper lip. This amount turned out to be an even 4 Roman pounds of dough per loaf which equates to 1kg and 316 grams, or 1316 grams.

                  Dust a clean work surface with some flour. Flip one of the pans over and hold it slightly above your dusted work surface until it falls out onto the table. Dust the upper surface of the loaf lightly with flour. Here’s where things are going to get interesting again: we are going to create the pointed wedges on the top of the loaf known in Italian as the ‘otto spicchi’. Upon closer observation, it is clear that the grooves that create the eight wedges on the top of the panis quadratus are not knife slashes in the top of the dough, as previously thought. These are impressions in the dough. If we look closer at the inside of the grooves that separate each of the eight wedges, we can see that they’re slightly curved downwards and appear to have been made with a blunt, not sharp instrument. De Luca’s assertion is not entirely accurate, nor was my initial interpretation of these divisions in September of 2017. Making these impressions with the back of a knife would have also been dangerous, especially if you were pivoting it from the centre outwards, so consider this when you choose your tool to make the wedge formations. I had something completely different in mind when I decided to approach the form and fabrication of this iconic loaf once more: I had a wooden wheel custom made for me with thin spokes that creates blunt, linear, and rounded grooves between the wedges and also creates a centre depression where the cog of the wheel sits. I pressed this wheel into the top of my loaf prior to baking and then used my finger to create the depression in the centre of the loaf where the cog impression was visible. Did the Roman pistores use discarded wagon wheels or custom made wheels to stamp their bread? A wooden, wheel-like implement made a lot of sense to me considering that any tool of this kind would have been burnt at Pompeii, and thus eliminated from the archaeological record. A wheel-like tool would have also created an even distribution pattern between the wedges, as De Luca observed. It also created an outer rim along the horizontal edge of the loaf. This seemed to me to be the most likely tool that was used to create the otto spicchi but I could not figure out why they chose this form, what inspired it, and where they got the device… until I met Franco Tella, and classical archaeologist working with MiBACT in Rome. Franco and I met at Ostia Antica weeks after I had conducted these experiments and we had a long conversation in front of the Grandi Horrea (grain store-houses) in the heart of the ruins of the ancient Roman port town. Tella explained that the horrea were situated in close proximity to the bakery at Ostia in order to facilitate the milling of flour. Grain and flour was moved back and forth between the two buildings by either slaves or by a small wagon called a ‘carrus’. He showed me the photo of a carrus that was rebuilt based on one that was excavated at Ostia Antica and I immediately looked at the wagon and examined its features. Small wooden wagon. Small wooden wheels. Eight wooden spokes.

                  Perhaps this wheel was inspiration for the bakers? Perhaps the image on the bread was symbolic of the wheel and the industry? Perhaps discarded or broken carrus wheels were used to create the impressions on the panis loaves? We can’t be too sure until I can measure the wheels of the carrus but it certainly got my blood pumping when I saw the wooden wagon and understood its use at the bakery at Ostia Antica. I was one happy little bread-nerd indeed. Now, I understand that no one at home will have a custom-made wooden wheel like mine (yet) so take a device that is accessible to you to create the divisions in the top of the loaf be it a thin dowel, a thin pencil, or something else that is linear, thin and blunt. Make the sections even and the depth the same from groove to groove.

                  Now, we arrive at the part of this experiment/recipe that will cause the internet to collapse in on itself and some academics and food writers to become very cranky. I stand behind the theory that a ‘spread restrictor’ was used on the horizontal waist-line of the bread. Why? Because it works and it provided results that were similar to the carbonized loaves that were found at Pompeii. Was it twine? A ring? A band of some sort? Who knows…. But something created that severe indentation and spreading did not occur during baking. The bread dough for this experiment was dense and of low hydration (approximately 55%) which allowed the dough to be malleable but to also hold its form while baking, as the loaves did at Pompeii while they were being ‘incinerated’. What did not hold, however, was a horizontal groove when it was created by a knife or by the bottom, rounded inner edge of the wooden wheel after it was pressed into the formed dough. Spreading occurred each time and the loaf expanded outwards during the baking period (oven-spring) almost eliminating any indication of a horizontal groove around the waist of the loaf. So I used a restrictor again. You can too. I used heavy, untreated garden twine and gently tied it around the loaf prior to baking.

                  Revisiting the recipe for Panis Quadratus, its form and fabrication was a wonderful experience. Finding additional data regarding fabrication was helpful in narrowing down how much materials to use and how to prepare it all. The form, yet again, remains somewhat of a mystery but is less elusive than it was before. I believe that the theories of a wheel-like tool for creating the eight wedges and a horizontal ‘spread restrictor’ has validity. The eight wedges on the top of the loaf were likely formed to be broken apart easily and used as an ‘edible eating utensil’ for sopping up stews, soups and pulses. But what functional purpose could the horizontal groove serve other than being evidence of a horizontal restriction of some sort? The loaves were not ripped apart horizontally and there are no wedge separations on the bottom of the loaf this loaf isn’t two halves, one on top of the other. The groove along the waist-line appears to serve no purpose other than being residual evidence of spread-control that was implemented in order to preserve oven floor space during baking and to keep all loaves a uniform size. It is uncertain as to how it was made, however, as the grooves are not as defined on the waist-line as the divisions on the top of the loaf.

                  The centre depression and the sag in the middle of the panis also remains a mystery. The impression of a wheel cog does not really translate well but pushing it down with an index finger makes that depression appear deep and off-centre as most of the centre depressions appear on the excavated loaves. The sag is difficult to achieve unless the loaf is very flat and pressure is applied from the centre pushing the wedge edges upwards and outwards. Again, baking and oven-spring may also push the centre straight up once again as it did the sides without restriction.

                  If there’s one definitive conclusion that can be made from exploring this bread once again its that this loaf of bread seems to remain one of the greatest mysteries in the Roman archaeological record. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out… the panis strikes back. But we won’t give up, will we? No. We are not quitters. Therefore, I will be going into the laboratory at the Naples National Archaeological Museum this autumn to study these loaves up close and personal. Another step closer, once again, to understanding the pride of the Roman table. Stay tuned! This saga will continue…

                  Acknowledgements: Thank you to Drs. Ken Albala, Scott Stull and Profs. David Mattingly and Penelope Allison for throwing ideas around with me, for letting me rattle on and on about this bread via phone and email, and for aiding me in my research.

                  If you would like to acquire one of the wooden wheels that were used for this experiment, it can be purchased in the Tavola Shop.

                  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions about this article using the comment form below. Did you try this recipe? If so, feel free to join the discussion and post photos on Tavola’s Facebook page.


                  Any questions?

                  The kitchen of ancient Pompeii is a journey through the history of taste. Ingredients of the place gave birth to dishes that you can still today find on our tables with simple recipes now elaborated. Want to know more? Write us in the comments! And do not forget our guide in Pompeii, which is essential to discover the city with a click.

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                  The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

                  This is the ultimate piece of toast: a loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud.

                  I can’t get over how well it maintained its shape and texture, through both the volcano eruption and the ravages of time. It’s a very unsettling tribute to the normalcy of day-to-day life leading up to the catastrophic event: a (sort of) edible memento mori.

                  Elsewhere on the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things:

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                  32 comments

                  Is it really edible? If it is completely dry, like bread does under the right conditions, that would prevent it from becoming moldy and in theory it could be watered and baked once more for 10 minutes and be like fresh…

                  This is actually a great example of early branding. The Romans also branded oil lamps and amphorae with the names of the artisan shops that made them. These same names could be found all over the roman world – perhaps the first multinational brands…

                  Reblogged this on Fashionnation1on1 and commented:
                  When we used to visit the Boston Museum of Art, one object always touched us. It was an Egyptian honey cake in a small metal pie pan. Here we have found that we are not the only ones who love and obsess over ancient pastries. Read on… and thanks to Ridiculously Interesting.

                  I think this is quite a good website and I’m learning about Pompeii right now and it is um… boring until I found this website about the Bread! cool

                  I love this. I am a (devout amateur) baker & have visited Pompeii several times. As an American sailor, I took a couple of young Neapolitan ladies on a guided (by me) tour of Pompeii in 1966. They were amazed at the history of their “neighborhood”. The oven from which the pictured loaf was taken was part of our tour. I found this site while searching to make sure the “Roman style” loaf I intend to bake for my granddaughter tomorrow is authentic in its appearance.

                  …It looks like a big Roman Orio (w/out the filling)

                  I love the bread and the history behind it but please, when educating people, please do so correctly. It is a tribute to the NORMALITY of day to day life, normalcy is not a word!

                  Actually, normalcy is indeed a word although less common than normality, it has been in dictionaries since the mid-nineteenth century, which is about the same time that the word ‘normal’ and ‘normality’ emerged as the concept we understand it as today. (An excellent book on the subject is Lennard Davis’s ‘Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body’, which traces the emergence of statistical measurement in the 19th century to contemporary perceptions of abnormality). The word ‘normalcy’ was rescued from obscurity in a famous speech by American president Warren G Harding in 1920, who, even then, was falsely accused of using a neologism.
                  When educating people, please do so correctly.


                  Watch the video: The Bread of ANCIENT ROME. Pompeiis Panis Quadratus (August 2022).