Citizens, you may not be aware that I – your glorious leader and erstwhile arbiter of all things gastronomically tasteful – was once an ancient history major in college!
I’ve had the privilege of excavating several sites in Egypt, Santorini and Greece and have been fortunate to have visited Pompeii in my youth. The weight of antiquity is fully felt as you walk amongst these hallowed streets, knowing how many thousands lost their lives in an instant thanks to the volcano ever-present on the horizon.
Thanks to the action of the quick-setting volcanic ash, much has been preserved in Pompeii – up to and including foods like this loaf of bread, found still inside its oven! It’s moments like this that quicken the heartbeat of any archaeologist – I can only begin to imagine what it must have felt like to discover something so fragile, and unique.
The fact that this survived the eruption is nothing short of miraculous, and the loaf has several unique features: there’s the bread stamp on it which reads ‘Property of Celer, Slave of Q. Granius Verus’. It is also wrapped in a cord, and it’s divided into eight wedges.
Here, you can see a modern chef recreating the bread – though using modern baking techniques.
The amazing blogger at thefreshloaf.com has instead decided to recreate the bread using artisinal techniques, which I heartily endorse. I hereby present their recipe in its entirety for the pleasure of my glorious Citizenry! :D
Battle on – The Generalissimo