Group: Ann Beimers, Will Brewster, Morgan Dieschbourg, Em Jahn (not present due to illness)
This week, along with groups A, B, and D, my group was asked to bake a few loaves of bread. The first loaf we bakes was called “Savillum Libum,” and it consisted of 165g of bread flour, 819g of drained feta cheese, 1 egg (approximately 73g), and 88g of honey. We combined all of these ingredients into a large mixing bowl and then formed a loose loaf by hand. I call this a “loose loaf” because it was not quite possible to knead the dough due to the overwhelming amount of cheese. Instead of kneading, we just pressed the dough together until it stuck and held its shape (see fig. 1).
Before baking the savillum libum, we preheated the cast iron pot over the fire for about 10 minutes. It is worth noting now that we did not have any accurate temperature-measuring devices, and this affected our ability to successfully bake our loaves. We simply relied on our senses to determine when the crock was hot enough, and then kept an eye on it throughout the baking process. We baked the savillum libum for 20 minutes on the heat, and then checked on it. It was not progressing as quickly as we had hoped, so we kept adding time until the total baking time was 37 minutes. At this point, the savillum libum was still not baked, but we had already prepared our second bread dough, so we needed to call it and move on (see figs. 2 and 3).
The second loaf we baked was a “simple loaf.” This loaf consisted of 5g of salt, 250g of bread flour (the same flour we used for the savillum libum), and 175g of water (see fig. 4). The dough that was formed using these measurements ended up being incredibly sticky and wet, so I added approciximately 2-3 tablespoons of extra flour in order to get a workable consistency. We then kneaded the dough for 5 minutes and then formed it into a ball. This dough was incredibly smooth and neat, unlike the savillum libum. The dough ball ended up sitting out for awhile since the savillum libum took an extra 17 minutes to bake, but I made sure to cover it with a towel so that it would not become coated in ash or dirt. I am not sure if leaving the dough sitting out for awhile really effected the baking process in any way, but it baked pretty smoothly. Just as with the savillum libum, we had to adjust the baking time from the originaly guidelines. We again let the pot heat up for 10 minutes, but these we baked the bread for 15 minutes on the heat. Then, we took the pot off the heat and let it continue to bake in the hot crock for 18 more minutes. The total time to bake was 33 minutes. See figs. 5 and 6 for a comparison of the first two loaves.
Lastly, we baked the sourdough that we recieved from Morgan in the same way as the simple loaf that we baked directly prior. We placed the sourdough loaves into the pre-heated pots, and then cooked on the coals for approximately 20 minutes. We then removed the pots from the heat and left the bread to bake for about 10-12 more minutes (varied by group). The bread that was ultimately produced was much lighter, fluffier, and spongier than either of the other breads (fig. 7). It had a distinct sour taste and was definitely the most successful bread we made, mostly due to the hand Morgan had in the 24-hour process of rising and forming the loaf.
|Savillum Libum Ingredient||Mass (g)|
|Red Fife Bread Flour||165|
|Simple Loaf Ingredient||Mass (g)|
|Red Fife Bread Flour||250|
This lab was ultimately super interesting and fairly straightforward to accomplish. It was fascinating to see the wide-variety of bread that could be produced from just a few simple techniques. It is nice to think that ancient shepherds and Greek civilians could experience a diversity of culinary experiences even with such a simple set of ingredients.
I am sad to be finished on the island, but I am looking forward to departing from culinary endeavors and learning about other branches of ancient life.