Come in to my humble bakery! My bakery, or pr sn', is only part of my establishment. I also have grain silos and a beer brewery, for I use lightly baked bread as part of the mash for making beer.
I have many kinds of bread within these stone-and-clay walls, breads made from barley or from emmer, a kind of wheat. The emmer bread is the best. I can flavor the bread with honey, eggs, dates, seeds, and various spices. I can also shape the bread into many shapes, including ovals, round shapes, conical shapes, birds, fish, and cows. I will make special shapes for festivals.
My bread is made in the most thorough manner. First, men pound the grain with heavy pestles, and to make even finer flour, and then women have ground the course flour between stones. I feel for the women, kneeling on the ground, grinding, and grinding. The flour is put through a sieve, and the dough is made of flour, milk, and other ingredients. In the northwest corner are my vats for mixing the dough. I also have a vat for water, one for flour, and one for fermenting. The dough is kneaded. Then we shape the bread.
My handmade bread molds are called bedja and are bell-shaped ceramic bowls. These large pots are excellent for cooking bread because the thick walls of the pots help me keep the bread crust from scorching as it cooks. My dome-shaped ovens are not ready for public viewing, but they will be soon.
I preheat the pots, then pour the dough into the pots, cover the bedja with other pots, and put hot ashes over the baking pits. Do not come too close, or the dark ash may drift over to you! This is my least favorite part, and I have the servants do it.
Or, if you would like, you can buy the bread that is fried in large pans. Either way, I hope you will agree that the bread is excellent.
David, Rosalie. 1998. Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File, Inc.
Lehner, Mark. Giza Plateau Mapping Project: 1993-1994 Annual Report. Available at:
Note: This covers Old Kingdom baking in Giza, not Upper Egypt.
(The ".asp" means you will need to chop off part of the address if you want to go to this link).
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