We were one of the frying groups again. Our basic procedure was the same as Group E’s. We began by roasting and then grinding the barley. We added water, honey, and oil in an effort to make the maza stick together.
While half of our group was working on the grinding, we made the punic puls. We combined the farro, feta, honey, and egg. We poured it into the pan and added about ¼ cup of water to soften. The water was optional, and I’m glad we added it as it made the puls more like porridge and less like hummus (in texture only).
Data and Minutes
Maza: Cooking Barley
We used 496g of the 1193g of barley provided, which was enough to get ½-¼ inch of barley covering the bottom of the pan. We did not preheat the pan, and stirred the barley constantly. It was directly over the fire, but we temporarily moved it when the bottoms of the barley started to burn.
|1:33pm||Pan with barley placed on the fire|
|1:38pm||Noticed some colour appearing|
|1:43pm||We noticed a popcorn smell from the barley|
|1:46pm||Pulled the barley off the fire|
|1:51pm||Put the barley back on the fire|
|1:55pm||Pulled the barley off|
|2:01pm||Called it done|
Total cook time: 28 minutes
Some non-scientific observations: the constant barley stirring was mesmerizing, and we decided we wanted a cold beverage to go with it. About halfway through, the barley pan seemed more full than it was when we had begun. We thought that the water in the barley might have expanded the kernels, but we didn’t check the truth of this.
Maza: Grinding Flour
We started grinding with the mortar and pestle and finished with the mitate. The mortar and pestle wasn’t actually too bad to grind with. Those of us with smaller hands found the size of the pestle hard to grip, and we got cramps in our thumbs. Once you had a grip, we found that pressing hard was actually a hindrance, as you want to leave space for the full kernels to move around in the mortar (so they can actually get ground).
It took about 20 minutes to finish grinding a full mortar’s worth of barley. As we ground, the flour got lighter. If we had known that, we would have cooked the barley longer.
The mitate had a learning curve, but it was much more efficient. We found that some of us were definitely better than others. Those with longer arms had to lean over the instrument less. We found the technique was to let the ground flour build up on the mitate, as it stopped the circular kernels from falling down into the finished pile. It would’ve been good to have a sifter, but we did the best we could to pick out the full kernels from the flour before eating.
The barley flour was really good by itself. It would do well sprinkled on something. We also ate the barley kernels whole, which were very good too. The barley tasted nutty and wholesome, almost like a popcorn kernel.
The maza making was annoying. We added a lot of water, honey, and oil in an effort to get things stuck together, but it never really worked. I would want to try to get it very wet and then let the patties dry out. The mixture just ended up very sticky and tough to shape, and they would fall together as we ate them. The mixture looked like cat litter (the clumping kind) and the finished product sort of looked like… cat poop. We shaped it into circular balls so it would look different. If you closed your eyes, they were very good. We decided we would make them in real life as a hiking trail food or a healthy snack.
The punic puls was very easy. We just mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl (163g dried farro, 490g feta, 82g honey, and 1 egg) and plopped it into a pan. We didn’t know what the end product would look like, but Jake told us it was a type of porridge so we aimed for that texture. We added about ¼ cup of water to the pan and put it over the fire to simmer. We gave it an occasional stir, but we could pretty much stand around it and chat or do other things. We removed from the heat when the bottom started to burn.
The puls took 16 minutes to cook, and looked pretty much the same the entire time.
We had a much better time with this lab than last week’s. The food was wholesome and easy to eat, compared to the fatty oily cheese from last week. We decided that we would be pretty fine eating the maza every day. Some people liked the puls more than others, but the majority of it was either eaten or taken home to eat later. We also tried the puls on some of the other group’s bread, which was delicious! After we finished eating, we didn’t feel as sick as we did last week. As I mentioned in class today, it would be great to have a lot of fiber in the diet!