Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 254-255

Tools

Book XVIII

boiled with prime flour of emmer and then mixed with the flour, this process being thought to produce the best bread. The Greeks have decided that two-thirds of an ounce of leaven is enough for every two half-pecks of flour. Moreover though these kinds of leaven can only be made in the vintage season, it is possible at any time one chooses to make leaven from water and barley, making two-pound cakes and baking them in ashes and charcoal on a hot hearth or an earthenware dish till they turn brown, and afterwards keeping them shut up in vessels till they go sour; then soaked in water they produce leaven. But when barley bread used to be made, the actual barley was leavened with flour of bitter vetch or chickling; the proper amount was two pounds of leaven to every two and a half pecks of barley. At the present time leaven is made out of the flour itself, which is kneaded before salt is added to it and is then boiled down into a kind of porridge and left till it begins to go sour. Generally however they do not heat it up at all, but only use the dough kept over from the day before; manifestly it is natural for sourness to make the dough ferment, and likewise that people who live on fermented bread have weaker bodies, inasmuch as in old days outstanding wholesomeness was ascribed to wheat the heavier it was.

XXVII. As for bread itself it appears superfluousWays of making bread. to give an account of its various kinds—in some places bread called after the dishes eaten with it, such as oyster-bread, in others from its special delicacy, as cake-bread, in others from the short time spent in making it, as hasty-bread,a and also from the method of baking, as oven bread or tin loaf or baking-pan bread; while not long ago there was

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938