A Rare Egyptian Stamped Bread

This is an important Egyptian bread. While it is rarely reproduced. As far as I am aware, this is the only surviving Egyptian bread whose entire surface is marked with a stamped pattern. I would put this into a class of “stamped breads.” This is the only example I know of of a surviving bread with this level of stamping. If you know of others, please leave a comment with the link to the bread.

This tomb bread was evaluated with a scanning electron microscope by Caroline Cartwright and John H. Taylor as part of their 2015 analysis of the breads and bread fragments held by the British Museum. They published their work in the British Museum’s “Technical Research Bulletin Volume 9, 2015.” You will find a link to the Research Bulletin towards the bottom of the page.

Cartwright and Taylor determined the bread was made of barley, that it includes whole barley grains, and also like many tomb breads, “much cereal chaff.” It also has ash on the surface, though in this low resolution photograph we cannot see it.

Judging by the uneven surface in the photograph, and ingredient list, my guess is that this is a coarse barely bread, probably not sifted. While many examples of Egyptian breads show a certain carelessness when it comes to its shape, this one seems to be a perfect circle, suggesting attention to detail when it was formed.

Based on this sample, I infer that there was a type of bread with stamped surface decorations, and I assume that this is not the only possible pattern.

How to replicate this loaf.

I suggest working with a coarse whole meal barley flout. if you mill your own, then mill barley with its bran still attached. Add pre-soaked barley gains to the bread. Test as both a leavened and unleavened loaf. If leavened, then I suggest testing stamping the loaf both after the formed loaf has risen, and just before you put into the oven, or the stamp when the loaf is formed.

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