1st GREEK FOOD BLOGGER CAMP & ANCIENT ATHENIAN BREADS

Imagine this: informative sessions; people with similar interests; beautifully made food ; great wine; gifts from the sponsors.

Yes, I am talking about the first Greek Food Blogger Camp, which was totally worthwhile.

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The organizers Vicky and George (creators of the Greek Food Blogs Portal) did a fantastic job, the speakers* kept everyone very interested, and as I’ ve said, besides the great inedible information, there was fantastic wine and food prepared by bloggers and catering.

 

My gift to GFB Camp bouffet was a modern re-creation of two kinds of ancient Athenian breads: a streptikios and a cheese & honey bread.

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Ι already talked about those breads here.

Bread making has been traditional in Greece since ancient times but today is very difficult to reproduce the flavor of ancient breads because the recipes are incomplete.

For my breads I chose emmer (Triticum dicoccum) and durum wheat (triticum turgidum) because most ancient Greek wheat bread is made from them. Triticum turgidum produced semidalis, a fine flour.

Ancient sources inform us that there was a wide variety of different kinds of breads with loaves with coarse texture and loaves with a fine consistency. Kernel hardness is one of the most important factors influencing the flour texture since crushing is more difficult for grains with hard endosperm. Emmer and durum wheats are all hard, their hardness is variable though. Moreover, emmer is a hulled wheat, which means that husks enclose the grain. During threshing the outer chaff  don’t release the grain.

For this experiment I bought 1kg durum wheat grains and 1 kg hulled emmer grains. I dehulled them by pounding them in a wooden mortar;  initially the emmer chaff remained almost unaffected. The dehulling process was difficult and time consuming but when I used a stone mortar it became more efficient.  Before grinding the grains with a rotary hand quern, I coarsely broke them.

 

After 60 minutes of grinding, both emmer and durum flour had a fine texture, contrary to the belief that querns can’t grind durum wheats into fine flour. They certainly can, but it takes effort.

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Emmer flour 

 

 

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 I substituted grape must for sourdough in streptikios. Excellent as always.

 

 

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 Streptikios was a bread made with a little milk and there was added pepper and a little amount of olive oil; if not oil, then lard. I used emmer flour, olive oil, goat milk, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

 

 

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 The honey & cheese plakous was made with t.t.durum wheat, honey and cheese. Original “recipes” do not specify the type of cheese to be used but since cheese and honey provide the flavoring in this sweet bread, I used a  flavorful soft fresh goat cheese and thyme honey.

 

Both breads were baked in the wood fired brick oven of the bakery in my neighborhood (THANK YOU guys for your support!). In the “On the Powers of Food”  Galen says that the bread from a large oven is the most digestible bread. This view may have been shared by ancient Athenians who bought bread from bakery shops and bread sellers.

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “1st GREEK FOOD BLOGGER CAMP & ANCIENT ATHENIAN BREADS

  1. Dear Mariana,
    Thank you very much for your kind words! I just realised that I missed a rare opportunity to taste your ancient Athenian breads. (I actually missed the entire food session) I think this is another good reason to organise the 2nd camp, hoping that you will be so kind to repeat this marvellous experiment for us.
    Best regards
    George

  2. Hi Mariana,

    My mouth is drooling over your food. Those bread really look delicious and I am sure they taste delicious as well. I am very disappointed that I could not participate in your Greek Food Blogger Camp, I live in Oklahoma. However, would you be so kind to publish your recipes on Facebook, I would certainly like to learn how to prepare them. Please keep me posted. Thank you.

    Liida

  3. George, I thank you and Vicky for your great efforts in organizing such an event.I had a splendid time! Of course it’s a pity you missed the food session because the food was absolutely wonderful!

  4. Hi Lidia, I am so sorry but cannot give out those recipes because they are in a book that will be published soon. But in the meanwhile you can do your own experiment, can’t you?

  5. I am so impressed with the efforts you set forth in grinding your own flour by hand and then using the neighborhood bakery to bake these loaves; I would have loved tasting them and know they were just delicious!

  6. “…today [it] is very difficult to reproduce the flavor of ancient breads because the recipes are incomplete.” For this reason, I’m in awe over how you use what information is available to reconstruct these recipes by using not only ingredients most similar to what were used originally but also by techniques in processing and baking! No automated dehulling and grinding, or electric ovens . . . tasting these breads is as close to tasting the ancient as most of us would likely ever get. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Making bread using ancient methods is one of the many joys to the doing of experimental archaeology, Joumana! 🙂

  8. Tracey, one way to replicate as closely as possible the activities of ancient people is to experiment. Of course, this kind of experimentation provides us a better understanding of ancient everyday life. 🙂

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