Year 4 has been learning all about the Romans and discovering how they fed their famously powerful army by baking Roman Army Bread.
Baking flourished in the Roman Empire from as early as 300 BC, but it wasn’t until 168 BC that the first Bakers’ Guild was formed, within 150 years there were more than three hundred specialist pastry chefs in Rome. The Romans enjoyed several kinds of bread, with interesting names. Lentaculum, made originally flat, round loaves made of emmer (a cereal grain closely related to wheat flour), with a bit of salt. There was also oyster bread (to be eaten with oysters); ‘artolaganus’ or cakebread; ‘speusticus’ or ‘hurry bread’, tin bread, Parthian bread and the Roman Style Slipper Loaf. Breads were made richer by adding milk, eggs and butter, but only the wealthy and privileged could afford these.
Our children made their Lentaculum style dough in the classroom, carefully following the recipe and doing lots of kneading. They then took it to the kitchen to put it in the ovens, collecting it once it was baked.
There are few more wonderful aromas the the smell of freshly baked bread, and it certainly set everyone’s taste buds tingling when it came out of the oven.
Perhaps this was the reason the Roman Army could march such vast distances each day!