Bake like a Palaeolithic

22 October, 2010
Page 39 

Egyptians invented bread? Pah! Tear up those history books (or more constructively, post an amendment on Wikipedia), because it looks like Palaeolithic humans got there first 30,000 years ago. New research suggests flour was developed as a way for hunter-gatherers to survive harsh seasonal climate changes. The Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History in Florence analysed hand-sized grindstones found in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic and found signs of wear and traces of plants that point to a knowledge of flour-making.

They were apparently switched on to harvesting, drying, grinding and cooking plants. The flour would have been mixed with water to make a pancake-like flat bread dough, cooked on hot stones. This resulted in a bread that was "crispy like a cracker, but not very tasty," researcher Laura Longo told Reuters, having replicated what the team believed to be the milling and baking process.

Later in history, bakers would make dough products tasty through the addition of salt before the Food Standards Agency was formed and took it out again, thus making it unpalatable. Such is the circular nature of history.





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