Thursday, January 04, 2024

Egyptian Bread and Cakes

The Egyptians grew a variety of crops, including grains, vegetables, and fruits, for consumption. However, their main focus in terms of diet revolved around essential crops, particularly barley, along with significant grains like einkorn wheat and emmer wheat, primarily used for making bread.

It is suggested that the Egyptians learned the art of baking from the Babylonians. In their bread-making process, the Ancient Egyptians incorporated yeast, a skill initially developed for brewing beer. They maintained reserves of sourdough, a basic mixture of beneficial fermentation organisms, using portions of it to inoculate fresh doughs.

After harvesting the grain, ancient Egyptians used grinding stones to transform it into flour. This coarse flour was mixed with water and kneaded to create bread dough.

Egyptian cooks sometimes prepared bread in large bowls on the ground, where they would physically knead the dough with their feet. The shaped dough was then either formed into loaves or placed into cone-shaped molds and baked over an open fire.

The Egyptians were innovators in the development of ovens. The earliest examples were cylindrical vessels made from baked Nile clay, featuring a tapered top to create a cone shape and an internal horizontal shelf-like partition.

Due to their fondness for sweet flavors, ancient Egyptians used flour to make cakes. With the absence of sugar, they turned to honey, dates, and fruit juice as sweeteners. The initial cakes likely originated in ancient Egypt, with yeast contributing to their light and fluffy texture. Honey served as both a sweetener and a topping, while nuts and spices were added for extra flavor. In some cases, cakes were decorated with honey or syrup icing.
Egyptian Bread and Cakes