Mount Vesuvius erupted back in 79 AD. It was a monumental explosion that covered the unsuspecting townspeople in layers of ash and soot – effectively mummifying them instantly. But right before the volcano blew, a baker in one small Italian village, put a batch of dough into the oven. Seconds later – BAM – the volcano went off and the baker’s whole town of Herculaneum was buried in soot and ash. And the baker’s oven was lost to time for millennia – until archeologists began to excavate the area in 1930. And that’s when they found this sole baker’s oven…
Because the archeologists found the piece of dough in the oven, they knew so much about the people of the time. They figured out what kind of ingredients they used, their preferred method of baking and more.
Inspired to recreate the ancient bread, the British Museum hired chef Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the 2,000-year-old baking recipe.
The museum uploaded the ancient recipe to their website and also published a video, which we’ve included below.
If you’re a bread fanatic, you must try this ancient loaf bread.
The British Museum writes about the recipe and the history behind it: “In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live. Try it for yourself using Giorgio’s recipe.”
The following ingredients are required to make this ancient Italian bread.
-about 1 and 3/4 cups or 400 grams of biga acida (sourdough)
-about ½ ounce or 12 grams yeast
-about 2/3 ounce or 18 grams gluten
-about ¾ ounce or 24 grams salt
-about 2 and ¼ cups or 532 grams of water
-about 1 and 3/4 cups or 405 grams of spelt flour
-about 1 and 3/4 cups or 405 grams of wholemeal flour
Now follow these directions:
Activate the yeast in the warm water. Then mix the biga into it. Now mix and sieve the flours together while adding the gluten. Add this to the water mix. Combine for two minutes then add the salt. Mix for another three minutes.
Turn the dough into a round shape and then let it rest for an hour.
Wrap a piece of string around the dough to provide shape while it bakes. Make shallow slices across the top to help the bread rise. Then bake the bread at about 400-degrees F for about 30 to 45 minutes.
The video recipe below has been well received by viewers on the internet. About 1.8 million people have tuned in to watch how to make this ancient bread.
Here are some of the most popular comments:
“step 1: make some bread step 2: wait 2000 years,” joked one viewer.
“you are not even going to cut it so we can see the texture?” shared a frustrated baker.
Will you try to make this ancient bread recipe? Check it out below and you’ll see how delicious this bread loaf looks like at the end of the clip.
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