Roman Army Bread

Posted 25 January 2011 by

I love making bread. Cooking is kind of like alchemy, and bread-making is food alchemy at its most basic. Turning flour and water into nourishing, sustaining food. It’s one of the oldest known prepared foods (thanks Wikipedia…) and apparently our ancestors were eating bread up to 30,000 years ago; albeit made from different plant starches. They were eating bread in the British Isles long before potatoes. Of course, bread wasn’t always as we know it and in the Bronze Age, bread made from spelt flour was common. Spelt is a type of wheat flour; it tastes slightly different and has more micronutrients than normal wheat flour. It may also be slightly easier to digest. This recipe for Roman Army Bread comes from the back of my Doves Farm spelt flour packet. I’m not sure it was passed down from genuine Roman soldiers, but with honey and olive oil, it’s playing the part!

A loaf of spelt bread on a bread board.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf):

  • 500 g spelt flour
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 15 g yeast
  • 400 ml water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Dissolve the honey in 200 ml hot water and add 200 ml cold water. Add the yeast and let it get frothy. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and mix in the olive oil. Pout in enough liquid to make a sticky dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes and then leave in a warm place, covered, to rise until it has doubled in size. Knock back the dough and place it into a bread tin. Leave to rise until it has doubled in size again. Bake the loaf at 180¬į C for 40-45 minutes.

A sliced loaf of spelt bread showing the crumb.I will be submitting this recipe to Wild Yeast’s YeastSpotting.

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2 Responses to Roman Army Bread

  1. debs says:

    that looks nice, I like breads like that, it’s the nutty grainy breads I’m not keen on….did it taste good??

    • Debbie says:

      It’s got quite a distinctive taste, it’ s hard to describe. Give it a try though if you want something different, or you’d probably like the honey & rye bread. No nuts or grains there! ūüôā

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