In Neolithic times, the main wheat crop
was Emmer (Triticum dicoccum). This wheat
was grown throughout the Fertile Crescent, the area where farming seems
to have originated around what is now Iran, Iraq Egypt and
Syria. Wheat would have been harvested and threshed by hand,
using flint sickles and wooden sticks. Winnowing would also have been
done by hand, using wicker basket trays.
Storage of grain was often in deep pits
in the ground, covered over with clay and straw to exclude air and
pests. Grinding was done using flat stone querns and rubbing
stones. The resulting grist (course ground) could be used to
make porridge and the flour (fine ground) could be used to bake into
Hot stone baked Einkorn flour flatbreads - 8cm diameter
In addition to wheat flour, barley, oats, wild grasses and dried peas could also be ground into flour for cooking and baking. Neolithic recipes do not exist as there were no understandable written references to cooking. Archaeological evidence suggests that many forms of bread were cooked by mixing the flour with milk or water into a stiff dough and baking it on a hot stone slab over an open fire. Such bread needs cooking as soon as it is mixed and it requires eating within an hour or so, before it becomes too dry and rubbery to be palatable.
Download the following .pdf recipes
This part of the Bread Pages looks at the key recipes that were used in different periods of history.