Full Version: Roman Military Bread
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A friend in one of the Cultus Deorum groups on Facebook posted this and I thought it might be of interest.
That is very interesting. Thanks for posting. I've made a few different types of Roman bread myself to see what it is like, and I did quite a bit of research on ancient baking because a character in one of my books was a baker.

But I'm a bit confused about letting the dough "rise" while on campaign. Rising implies a leavening agent of some sort, such as a sourdough starter, but I didn't see anything mentioned. Evidently the Romans were quite ingenious about leavening, as Pliny lists a number of different ways to do it.

I don't know if soldiers on the march would bother with carrying starter dough with them or if they would just make due with unleavened bread. If they were camped in one place for an extended period they could make their own starter, though, as Pliny says it takes nine (?) days.
David, it was very interesting to read about bakers guild and the basic root for making bread etc. in your book "Dead Romans". That was completely new to me. What is your opinion on roman bread taste-wise? Is it something like Chiabatta? I have always wondered about this. Wink
In my experience, Roman bread is pretty different from most of what we eat today. For one, it is much heavier. The taste can be either more subtle or quite strong, depending upon the recipe.

I have made a couple of Cato's bread recipes, which I mentioned here. I didn't like the libum at all, but the savillium was good.

My favourite Roman bread recipe has to be Pliny's grape juice bread. If I had more time I would make this more often. This was really, really good, especially with the sides. Pliny recommends milk and honey, but it was excellent with olives and olive oil, too.
Thanks for the info, David!
Starter can be created almost anywhere since the yeast floats in the air. Try mixing flour and water, covering it and let it sit.
Yes, that's true, but it takes time for the natural yeast to get established. When I made Pliny's grape juice bread it took five days before I had bubbles.

Here's something else I've wondered about, though. Modern flour is heavily processed, but perhaps Roman-style coarsely ground flour is more conducive to natural yeast growth. If this is the case, then the starter dough probably didn't have to sit as long as we need to do it in the modern era.
Dang that stuff looks pretty heavy, if anybody tasted "Roman" military bread how does it feel on the teeth?
Yep, One of our guys tried making a loaf based on the petrified find in Pompey. With a little bit of honey it was spectacular.
Thanks for the link. Very, very interesting.
Where could I buy something like that plate and dome for the mini-oven?
And I wonder if I could use that on top of a wood burning stove rather than on a charcoal fire?

Is there any chance the clibanus is related to North African tajines? They look awful similar.

The bread sounds good... to me, but I might have trouble getting the family to eat it. Mom asks me if I'm mad at her anytime I make something with whole grain.
Where could I buy something like that plate and dome for the mini-oven?


Not too sure where you are in the world, but there's this for Europe: