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very old bread

At the start of the month I unexpectedly ended up on a tour of Pompeii at the foot of Vesuvius. I wasn’t quite prepared for the massive tent city outside the city selling cheap tourist crap but Pompeii itself was remarkable. And not surprisingly, there were bread related things to look at …

I actually forgot to check what this was as I simply assumed it was a loaf of bread so my bad:

But the photo below is part of a spiced bread called Panis Quadratus. Here’s a recipe if you wanted to recreate it (I’m tempted to give it a go).

It turns out that there were about 35 bakeries in Pompeii and here’s the oven in one of them. The bottom part was for storing wood.

And in the same bakery area, here’s the millstone (consisting of the runner stone on top and the bedstone on the bottom) which would have been turned by hand via poles inserted into the top part to act as a lever. The grains at that time would likely have been a mix of spelt and wheat. They were slowly poured into the top as the runner stone was turned and then the milled flour was channelled to the outer edge of the bedstone for collection.

Not sure braving the crowds and the trinkets is worth the visit but seeing those carbonised loaves was breathtaking.

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