Cook with the British Museum and bake a 2,000-year-old loaf from Herculaneum

The British Museum in London has updated its blog with a recipe any Roman simply cannot ignore – chef Giorgio Locatelli’s loaf of bread based on an ancient recipe from Herculaneum.

Herculaneum (Image Wikipedia CCL)

The recipe was originally created by Chef Locatelli for the museum’s 2013 Herculaneum exhibition. Now it has been uploaded again for us all to enjoy.

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Dunking suggestion once you have baked your loaf

No more worrying about grocery deliveries or the local bakery running low on stocks of our favourite olive ciabatta – this 2,000-year-old recipe contains sourdough, buckwheat and wholemeal flour for an accurate copy of a loaf of bread that was placed in an oven by a baker in AD 79, only to be found still in the oven and carbonised from the heat of Vesuvius when Herculaneum was excavated in 1930.

Triclinium (dining room) mosaic in the house of Neptune and Ampritrite at Herculaneum, Italy (Image CCL) – scene of ancient bread eating

For those of us with gluten intolerance, the recipe may need a little tweaking – but for whole-hearted, full-blooded, iron-stomached Romans, this is the definitive Herculaneum bread recipe that will help you march on your stomachs.

It looks delicious – there is a handy video plus written recipe instructions on the British Museum’s blog.

Nota bene: In Herculaneum, dining rooms were obviously decorated a little more lavishly than our own today – if you want to add a mythological mosaic or two before you slice, see above for inspiration.

Buon appetito!

Cooking up a Roman feast

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