Sometimes eating authentically is not eating deliciously. At least not to our spoiled modern palates.
While still using modern milled flours, this recipe attempts to recreate something like ancient foragers in the Near East might have eaten. The Natufians were the first society we know of to switch from foraging to intense cultivation, and it changed the world forever. They were still dependent on hunting and gathering, but also began guarding and storing plots of wheat and barley, and it changed them dramatically.
This was the beginning of civilization as we know it today… it’s also unleavened and not exactly palatable…
But to the Natufians it was everything. Their new permanent villages had giant querns and grinding stones just for milling and shaping this hard to process cereal crop, and ritual houses for the necessary magic to make it work. Here’s a recipe that might be something like what they threw in the ashes of their fires.
FAIR WARNING: This bread is dense and chewy!! Good for croutons or toast but… not much else.
Combine flour and salt and mix with your hands.
Add the water and knead on a floured flat surfact for 10-12 minutes until you have something relatively smooth.
Woof. That is one dense dough. No wonder peoples’ teeth went to shit right about this time.
Set aside in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
Flatten the dough into a thick disc. Place directly on a layer of ashes, then bury with remaining ashes. Let cook for 45 mins-1 hr, depending on heat and amount of ashes. When bread sounds hollow if tapped, or an ancient digital instant thermometer reads 200, you’re done.
My personal recommendation is to use this bread as a soup crouton, to soften it up and impart some joy into the process of eating. Soon enough, humans will discvoer leavened bread, and bakers can really get going.
Brush off the ashes and let cool before slicing.
If however, you’re not as concerned with authenticity, and just want to make something tasty try MODERN ASH BREAD.