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There is no question that fermentation takes place accidentally (as it must have done countless times before humans learned something about controlling the process), and most investigators believe that barley was first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent region of lower Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.Grain is heavy to transport relative to the beer made from it, so it is not surprising that there may be evidence of ale in these outposts and not unreasonable to suspect that accidental fermentation did occur at some point in the ancient Mesopotamian region, leading to beer making." ---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F.At some stage in the Neolithic era people had learned that if, instead of using ordinary grain, they used grain that had been sprouted and then dried, it made a bread that kept unusually well. The Egyptian process was to sprout the grain, dry it , crush it, mix it to a dough and partially bake it.The loaves were then broken up and put to soak in water, where they were allowed to ferment for about a day before the liquor was strained off and considered ready for drinking." ---Food in History, Reay Tannahill [Three Rivers Press: New York] 1988 (p.48) "Leavening, according to one theory, was discovered when some yeast spores--the air is full of them, especially in a bakehouse that is also a brewery--drifted onto a dough that had been set aside for a while before baking; the dough would rise, not very much, perhaps, but enough to make the bread lighter and more appetizing than usual, and afterwards, as so often in the ancient world, inquiring minds set about the task of reproducing deliberately a process that had been discovered by accident.This was a beehive- or barrel-shaped container of baked clay, usually divided into two by a central horizontal partition.The lower section formed the fire-box in which were burned pieces of dried wood, foten taken from the Nile, or even dried animal dung.Sources generally agree the discovery of the powers of yeast was accidental."No one has yet managed to date the origins of beer with any precision, and it is probably an impossible task.
Although some of the early Roman ovens had chimnesy to improve the draught and carry away steam, it was many centuries before chimneys were commonly used or dampers incorporated so that the heat could be more effectively controlled." ---The Story of Bread, Ronald Sheppard & Edward Newton [Charles T. 107-109) ""When I break your staff ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and shall deliver your bread again by weight; and you shall eat, and not be satsified." ---Lev. This type of oven may have been a small earthenware cylindar called tannur in the Bible as it is by present-day rural north Africans who still use it.A fire is kindled in the bottom and the dough is slapped against the hot interior walls, yielding curved disks of bread.Many other sorts of oven have been discovered in Israeli excavations.Larger, bi-level ovens have been unearthed which would have been more suitable for baking commercial quantities.They have a top rack to hold the loaves, while the fire below is stoked with "the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven..." (Mt. These baking techniques and others were known to the Romans, whose own commercial bakeries were not established unitl a relatively late date (171-168 B. Once Roman administrative genius was applied to even so commonplace a task as breadmaking, the results would be impressive." ---The Bible Cookbook, Daniel S. 371) About ancient Roman ovens "Many kitchens had an oven, furnus, sometimes called a fornax...
The oven opening was closed with a large stone, sometimes sealed with clay.