Thursday, August 20, 2020 Seminar: Milling from The Ancient World world to the Early 19th Century

The 1086 English Domesday Book records 6000 mills, mostly water mills. Water mill technology exploded after the end of the Western Roman Empire. By 1000, European rivers and streams were driving tens of thousands of mills to produce the flour that made Europe the global power that it became.

I am very excited to announce that Seminar #12, the first of the August -December series of Thursday Bread History Seminars will be led by Milling Historian, Tony Shahan.

Register at EventBrite. The seminar takes place via Zoom at 9am Pacific Time. This is 10am in Columbia, noon in New York, 5 pm Ireland and UK, 6pm Belgium, 7pm Nairobi and Turkey, and 9:30 pm in Bangalore, India.

Tony Shahan has spent the past 28 years studying, restoring, and working in historic mills. He is currently the director of the Newlin Grist Mill in Concordville, PA. The Newlin Mill was constructed in 1704 and has remained in operation for the past three centuries. His most recent projects include researching the material culture of mills, exploring connections of milling with brewing and distilling, and rebuilding a 16’-diameter water wheel using 18th century tools and techniques.

I asked Tony Shahan to lead the seminar the upcoming Thursday because of his wide ranging expertise in milling from the classical world through to the development of the roller mill, the current dominant milling technology. Tony Shahan will examine the evolution of early technologies used to grind meal and sift flour from the classical world to the early 19th century. The survey delves into how grindstones and power systems evolved into the milling traditions we think of today, and investigates sifting technologies that affected early flours.

Tony Shahan has thought a lot about milling. His talk will not only be an exploration of tools and machines, but will also examine the changing relationship between millers, bolters, and bakers. As those of you who have attended previous talks, a central interest of this bread history seminar series is people. Society and culture has changed significantly over the previous 2,000 years. Tony Shahan offers insights into how milling technology and social structures are related.

Tony Shahan knows a lot more about about milling than I do. I look forward to joining you in this Seminar to learn about the key technologies that transforms grain into usable flour for our bread.

As always, there will also be a bread to make at the Seminar that ties into the talk. Tony and I will choose a bread this upcoming weekend so you will have the recipe in plant of time for the Zoom seminar on Thursday, August 20.

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