There is nothing better than fresh bread in the oven. Its aroma, its texture … unsurprisingly, eating bread is an ancient tradition. And it’s much older than previously thought. Even older than the origins of agriculture. The bread you just found (a bit stale, by the way) is no less than 14,000 years old. And the scientists analyzed it. Now we can give you the recipe for the oldest bread in the world.
Wheat flour, wild barley, ground tubers and water. Do you dare to prepare it? Who tried to replicate it was Amaia Arranz-Otaegui from Spain, a postdoctoral fellow in archaeobotany at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He found the charred remains of bread at an archaeological site in the Black Desert of Jordan.
The finding is significant. The remains prove that bread was baked 4,000 years before agriculture began. The oldest known leftover bread comes from Turkey and dates back 9,000 years. The origins of bread were linked to agrarian societies that grew grain and pulses. “We now have to analyze whether there is a connection between bread production and the origins of agriculture,” said the researcher.
Dorian Fuller is a researcher at University College London, UCL, and the author of the study. He said, “The importance of these charred leftovers is that they show the added effort of mixing ingredients to make food.” This shows that bread had a very special place. And it can explain the motivation of those who eventually started growing wheat and barley.
The recipe for the oldest bread in the world: Jordanian bread
- Take wheat flour and wild barley
- Grind roots of wild plants into a fine flour
- Mix everything with water to make a batter
- Bake in a hot stone oven or over hot coals
The charred remains were examined with an electron microscope. And Lara González Carretero, a researcher at the UCL Institute of Archeology, did.
“The bread was made from flour made from wild wheat and barley varieties mixed with water,” said González Carretero. “They added wild tuber flour to the mix. They gave the bread a nutty taste, a little bitter. Analysis of the remains under a microscope revealed evidence that the grain had been ground, sifted, and kneaded.
The wild tubers were roots of an edible aquatic plant called the tiger nut. The researchers tried to replicate the recipe in the laboratory. The result was bread that tasted similar to today’s multigrain bread. They think flatbread looked similar to flatbread.
The remains of charred bread were found in two buildings, each with a large round stone oven. The bread may have been baked by groups who hunted gazelles and caught small animals. These communities also collected plants such as nuts, fruits, and wild grains.
It is possible that the bread was used to wrap fried gazelle meat or some other animal. Scientists believe the bread was baked for a celebration or party. “Bread is a strong link between our past and the culinary cultures of the present,” said Arranz-Otaegui. “Bread connects us with our prehistoric ancestors.”
Well you already have it. The recipe for the oldest bread in the world. Let’s do this.