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The oven opening was closed with a large stone, sometimes sealed with clay.
Ovens which worked on this principle, but were constructed of bricks or small stones, may still be seen in the ruined city of Pompeii.
Sources generally agree the discovery of the powers of yeast was accidental.
"No one has yet managed to date the origins of beer with any precision, and it is probably an impossible task.
Most archaeological evidence, however, suggests that fermentation was being used in one manner or another by around 4000 to 3500 B. Some of this evidence-from an ancient Mesopotamian trading outpost called Godin Tepe in present-day Iran- indicates that barley was being fermented at that location around 3500 B. Additional evidence recoverd at Hacinegi Tepe (a similar site in southern Turkey) also suggest that ancient Mesopotamians were fermenting barley at a very early date...51-52) "The brewing of beer may well have occurred soon after the production of cereal crops, and no doubt for a long time beer was home-produced and in the hands of housewives responsible for preparing the gruel or bread..first production of beer may be reasonably considered as an accidental discovery resulting for the malting of grain for other purposes." ---Food in Antiquity: A Survey of the Diet of Early Peoples, Don Brothwell and Patricia Brothwell, expanded edition [Johns Hopkins: Maryland] 1998 (p.166) On the Web Recommended reading: English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Elizabeth David Six Thousand Years of Bread, H. Jacob The Story of Bread, Ronald Sheppard and Edward Newton Ancient ovens & baking "The most important part of the baker's equipment is, and always has been, his oven.bread yeast wheat flour rye flour maslin oatmeal semolina spelt ancient ovens Byzantine bread Chinese bread Colonial ovens Colonial bakeries Baking in America/Panschar French Revolution London prices Restaurant bread service anadama bread artisan breads bagels baguette banana nut bread bannock biscuits bishop's bread Boston brown bread brioche bread pudding bruschetta campaillou challah cheese straws ciabatta cinnamon rolls cinnamon toast cloverleaf rolls coffee cake colomba corn bread crackers cranberry bread crepes croissants croutons crumpets diet bread doughnuts Easter breads English muffins flatbreads flower pot bread focaccia National Loaf (UK) pain de campagne pain de mie pancakes panettone panforte panko paratha parbaked bread Parker House rolls Parthian bread pita popovers potato bread pretzel bread pretzels Pullman loaves pumpernickel pumpkin bread roti rye & Indian bread rye bread sandwich bread Sally Lunn salt rising bread scones Ship's biscuit sourdough stuffing & dressing tea cakes thirded bread toast tortillas waffles white bread whole wheat bread zucchini bread The history of bread and cake starts with Neolithic cooks and marches through time according to ingredient availability, advances in technology, economic conditions, socio-cultural influences, legal rights (Medieval guilds), and evolving taste. Variations in grain, thickness, shape, and texture varied from culture to culture.
Archaelogical evidence confirms yeast (both as leavening agent and for brewing ale) was used in Egypt as early as 4000 B. Food historians generally cite this date for the discovery of leavened bread and genesis of the brewing industry.For six thousand years and more it is the oven, however crude or complex, which has transformed the sticky wet dough into bread.