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Roman Stuffed Bread: Best 2000-year-old recipe


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Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Boozy Traveling Foodie Extraordinaire

Ancient Roman Bread Recipe: a 2000-year-old recipe

Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe: Quite a few years ago now, we had a UK jaunt that included a trip to Stonehenge. Whilst there, we wandered around the gift shop, and I procured a rather interesting cookbook. ‘Tasting the Past’: a book by Jacqui Wood, published in 2009 by The History Press.

A meandering journey through British food, offering up true historic recipes through the ages from the Celts, Romans, Anglo Saxons, Normans, the Medieval Period, Elizabethans, the Civil War, Georgians, Victorians, the Second World War and the Post War Years. It is a superb culinary journey, with some amazing discoveries. Did you know, for example, that the Romans used coriander and mint in their cooking? I have chosen one recipe to share. Here is Roman Stuffed Bread – a 2000-year-old recipe.

“What have the Roman’s ever done for us…” Read on.

Origins of Ancient Roman Bread 

The origins of ancient Roman bread trace back to the early days of Rome and the development of Roman culinary practices. The ancient Romans were heavily reliant on grains, particularly wheat, as a dietary staple. The cultivation and consumption of wheat became deeply ingrained in Roman society, contributing to the evolution of various bread types.

Initially, Roman bread was a simple, unleavened flatbread known as “panis,” and it played a crucial role in the Roman diet. As Rome expanded its influence and came into contact with diverse cultures, especially through conquests, trade, and cultural exchanges, the Roman culinary repertoire expanded. This led to the adoption of new techniques and ingredients in breadmaking.

One significant development was the introduction of leavening agents, such as natural wild yeast or sourdough starter. This innovation marked the transition from unleavened to leavened bread, contributing to the variety and texture of Roman bread. The Romans also developed distinct types of bread for different occasions and purposes, reflecting their culinary creativity and adaptation to changing circumstances.

In summary, the origins of ancient Roman bread are deeply rooted in the agricultural practices of Rome, with influences from cultural interactions and a gradual evolution in baking techniques. The importance of bread in the Roman diet and its adaptability to different styles and flavors showcase the rich history behind this essential food item in ancient Roman cuisine.

Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe - a 2000 year old recipe. Ancient Roman Bread, stuffed bread recipe

Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe:

I like this one a lot as it is a very unique recipe indeed. I tested this on a few friends in Singapore and it got the thumbs up.

So, this is Ancient Roman Bread, and therefore potentially a recipe from 2,000 years ago. But whatever did the Romans do for us? Maybe this is a good starter for 10. Well actually, it’s not a starter at all. Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe: 2000 years old, is a heavy main course, and I also made an onion gravy to serve with this.

I made enough Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe to use 2 stuffed loaves. This fed about 9 people. I’ll do a Phased approach to the recipe for you.

Phase I Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe – the loaves:

  • 2 big crusty loaves. I used Swiss crusty bread loaves;
  • 1 cup of white wine vinegar;
  • 1 cup of water;
  • 2 bags of grated cheese – go for a sharp cheese like a mature cheddar;
  • A good pinch of sea salt and cracked black Kampot pepper.

  1. Take each loaf, and set them down on a chopping block;
  2. Slice the top off carefully. Not too much, just literally take off a few cm’s of the top;
  3. Scoop all the doughy bread out of the loaves. You are literally creating a hollow loaf, just leaving the crusty bit;
  4. Do not create any holes. The loaf crust is your ‘bowl’ for cooking in and serving in;
  5. Place the doughy bread in a bowl, pour on the vinegar and water, sprinkle the salt and pepper, give it a wee mix with your hands, and set this aside;
  6. Place the hollowed loaves on top of some baking paper, on a baking tray;
  7. Fill the bottom of each loaf with some grated cheese – about 5 cm deep;
  8. Drizzle all over with olive oil, as these will eventually be baked in the oven.

Phase II Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe – the filling:

  • 2 finely chopped shallots;
  • 2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic;
  • 5 sliced Spring onions;
  • 1 roughly chopped bunch of coriander;
  • 1 bunch of mint – pick the leaves off the stalks and roughly chop;
  • 600g of finely sliced and cubed beef steak – I used corned beef steak;
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas;
  • 2 tablespoons of honey;
  • A good pinch of sea salt and cracked black Kampot pepper.

  1. Bring out the wok and fry off the beef, garlic, and shallots with some olive oil. Fry that off until the meat is cooked and browned slightly;
  2. Add in the honey, mint, coriander, salt and pepper, peas, and the bread that you soaked in vinegar and water;
  3. Stir fry this through. It will turn to a sticky consistency. This is the stuffing for the loaves.

Phase III Roman Stuffed Bread Recipe – Stuffing the loaves:

  1. Take the stuffing and push it into every nook and cranny in the hollow loaves, on top of the cheese;
  2. Push it it tight. Squeeze it into the corners, as when you come to cutting you want this to remain as a slice;
  3. Once you have done that you need to add more grated cheese on top;
  4. Fire up your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and pop the loaves in and bake for about 15-20 minutes;
  5. As soon as the cheese starts to brown you are done.

That is your Roman Stuffed Bread – a 2000-year-old recipe completed. I made a little onion gravy to go with this. Slice as if slicing a loaf normally. Layer up two slices per person and drizzle with some gravy. You get this sour, sweet, beefy, cheesy concoction. Well done the Romans, 2,000 years old and still so very good – ENJOY!!!

People also asked about Ancient Roman Bread Recipes

Question Answer
1. What types of bread did ancient Romans commonly consume? Ancient Romans enjoyed various bread types, such as panis quadratus, mustaceum, and flatbreads.
2. How was panis quadratus different from other Roman breads? Panis quadratus was a square-shaped bread, often distributed to Roman citizens during public events.
3. What ingredients were commonly used in ancient Roman bread? Ancient Roman bread often included ingredients like whole wheat flour, water, yeast, honey, and sometimes salt.
4. Were there specific breads associated with certain occasions in ancient Rome? Yes, for example, mustaceum was a wedding cake wrapped in bay leaves, contributing aromatic flavors.
5. How did ancient Romans name their bread based on its purpose? Names varied, such as nauticus for sailors’ bread, gradilis for finger food at the Colosseum, and ostiaries paired with oysters.
6. Were there regional variations in ancient Roman bread recipes? Yes, regional differences existed, reflecting local ingredients and culinary preferences in the vast Roman Empire.
7. What role did bread play in the daily life of an ancient Roman? Bread was a staple in the Roman diet, symbolizing sustenance and often distributed as part of the grain dole to citizens.
8. Did ancient Romans have specialty breads for festive occasions? Yes, mustacciuoli, a sweet bread, was associated with festivities, often served during special celebrations.
9. How did ancient Romans bake their bread without modern ovens? Romans used communal ovens or cooked bread at communal bakeries, showcasing communal aspects of Roman society.
10. Are there surviving recipes for ancient Roman bread, and can they be recreated today? Some ancient Roman bread recipes have been reconstructed, offering a glimpse into the past and allowing modern recreation.
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