Do you know what the oldest man-made food in human history is? Bread. Bread is perhaps one of the most eaten staple food all over the world. It comes in various forms; so much so that almost every culture has its special recipe. Bread can be both leavened and unleavened and plays a significant role even in some religious or secular contexts.
Scientists have found evidence which suggests that the earliest bread can be dated back to 14,500 years ago. It’s the oldest recipe still in use and also the oldest known recipe.
But before we get to a modern version for this ancient bread, let’s take a look at the history for the oldest of off-the-grid recipes.
In 2018, a group of researchers unearthed charred remains of bread in a stone fireplace at a site in northeastern Jordan. Their analysis of these breadcrumbs led to the discovery that the practice of making bread is far older than it was previously thought to be. It is now known that bread making existed even 4000 years before formal agriculture began.
This bread was more like an unleavened flatbread, made from flour that was a mix of wild cereals like barley, einkorn or oats and the ground-up roots of an aquatic tuber. It was then baked in a stone hearth. As for the taste, it might have tasted somewhat like a multi-grain bread of our times, maybe a bit grittier.
How To Make The Worlds Oldest Bread
The ancient recipe calls for flour from wild cereals, but that might not be available to most you. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of ingredients and their suitable modern alternatives for making this bread
- 1 cup sprouted wheat flour. If you feel adventurous, you can opt for flour from wild wheat or barley as well.
- 1 cup sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed. The ancient recipe, however, calls for pound up roots of wild plants that grow in water (like sedge or bullrush)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Oil for frying. Traditionally, this bread was baked on hot stones on fire and unless you can manage that, frying in a pan is just as fine.
- A mixing bowl
- A pan for frying
- Knife for cutting the dough
- Rolling Pin
Mix the flour, sweet potatoes and salt in a mixing bowl. If you are using ground and dried tubers instead of sweet potatoes, then add a splash of water.
Knead the dough till it is no more sticky, you might need to add the flour gradually to get to the right consistency.
Now shape the dough into a log with your hand and cut it into smaller pieces with the knife.
Make balls out these pieces and flatten them out with a rolling pin. You can also use your hands to flatten the dough and give a rough shape to it.
5. Heat It
Put the pan on medium heat and heat a teaspoon of oil.
6. Fry It
Fry the bread in the pan, one at a time. It should take 2 to 3 minutes per side to become brown and fluffy.
7. Enjoy It
Enjoy your ancient bread.
It is really interesting to think about how the humble bread has been passed on through generations of mankind. What started as a simple flatbread baked in a fire has now evolved into the complex varieties of bread that we get to see even at our local bakeries.
So if you are someone who loves cooking, do give this recipe a try. And if you haven’t cooked anything other than the occasional cup noodles, maybe this is the perfect bread recipe to start your culinary journey with.