Bread has been made, baked and enjoyed for ages. In fact it is certainly the oldest “dish” on earth and has been baked by our ancestors in all corners of the world. So it isn’t surprising that for todays #SundaySupper theme, Movie night, I decided to share with you the most basic bread recipe ever. How did I come to that you might wonder? Well, you might know already that I love historical fiction books and of course I am kind of a slight movie buff when it’s about films that show us how our ancestors lived and thought. Yes history is my passion, so therefore I had to choose one of my favorite and most inspiring thoughtful movies, Agora.
Agora, a Spanish production movie, takes it’s name from an ancient gathering place, similiar to the roman forum. I may quote Wikipedia in short for the movie’s story.
“The story turns around Hypatia, a female mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in late 4th century Roman Egypt, who investigates the flaws of the geocentric Ptolemaic system and the heliocentric model that challenges it. Surrounded by religious turmoil and social unrest, Hypatia struggles to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction.”
The movie and story of Hypatia are based on real events in the history of Alexandria, Egypt and it was at a time when the world was up side down. Alexandria had been Greek for several hundred of years, then the Romans came and around Hypatias life time the harbor city was taken over by the Christian faith. Hypatia itself never cared much abut religion and the hate that it produced, her aim was to solve the riddle of our Sun system and as a teacher she taught her students about the ancient Hellenistic Philosophies. Her life was more of a careless one, then she had slaves to care for her needs as it was common at that time. Yet as it had to come, the poorer population was drawn towards Christianity and so were her slaves as well.
Long story short, the movie depicts the downfall of the old gods and traditions. At the same time it explains well how brutal a Religious change can be. In the movie, Hypatia’s slave (and pupil as well) is deeply in love with the wise Domina, he converts to Christianity, helps the poor by giving them bread (as it was commonly done by the Christians) and falls into the dilemma of his hidden love for Hypatia. The story takes a dramatic turn and the ending is anything but what one would have expected, simply beautiful but deeply touching.
The Egyptian ages have always been my passion and as a child I used to always sit for ours deeply hooked in my mummy books. The bread, as many other things and foods, had been “invented”, most probably accidentally, by the Egyptians many 1000 years ago. Their basic bread recipe is of course unknown to us but it is much believed that Egyptians had used whole wheat grains, honey, water and yeast. Yes you heard right, yeast! The Egyptian folk invented the yeast and therefore I thought the basic bread recipe was a great fit for today’s movie inspired #Sundaysupper theme.
My recipe includes some polished white flour because whole wheat flour alone can be very though to handle and rises less. Further, I used dried yeast from Europe (because I can’t handle the Indian yeast). You can also use fresh yeast for the bread recipe. For the how to just follow the step by step basic bread recipe underneath.
- 200 grams White Flour
- 200 grams whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 200 milliliter Water
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Packet, a 7 grams, Dried Yeast or 1 Cube, a 35 grams, Fresh Yeast
- In a big bowl (bigger then mine in the picture if possible) add the White Flour, whole Wheat Flour and Salt and mix well.
- In a separate bowl add the water and dissolve the honey in it so that it is well mixed.
- If you use dried yeast add it at this point to the liquid honey mixture and mix well. If you use fresh yest then crumble it into the flour mixture so that it is well incorporated.
- Make a well into the Flour mixture and pour in the honey liquid mix.
- Now with your hand incorporate everything well.. Continue to work it out for 3-4 minutes on a humid working surface so that you have a whole neat and smooth dough at the end.
- Tuck the dough in underneath and keep it in a bowl covered with flour and a cloth.
- At this point I heat up my convection oven for 1 minute at 180 degrees, then I turn it off and keep the oven light on and place the covered dough in the oven and close the door. I do that because the yeast dough requires warmth to rise up. The yeast in the dough nourishes itself on the carbs in the dough and that is how air bubbles and lightness appear in the dough. Keep it to rise for about 1 hour or more, until the dough has risen well. Do the check by pocking into the dough with your finger, and you will see if it is light and fluffy and has risen well.
- Once risen, place it on a working surface and work it out for a minute so that it gets back to its original size. Place it on a floured oven rack so that the top is more smooth and make a design on top with a knife (as seen in the picture).
- Keep it in a warm place, just as you had done before, so that it can rise for another 30 minutes before you bake it.
- Once ready, preheat your oven at 180 Celcius for 5 minutes, then bake it for about 25 minutes until it is done. You can check if the bread is finished baked by knocking at the bottom. If the sound is hollow then the bread is finished baked, if not then it might just need a few minutes more in the oven.
- When finished baked, keep out to cool completely.