The House of Netjer, a Kemetic Orthodox Temple

[PUBLIC] Kemetic Orthodoxy General Forums => [PUBLIC] All Things Egypt: Ancient & Modern History and Culture => Topic started by: Pawabitui on July 23, 2014, 02:52:12 pm

Title: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on July 23, 2014, 02:52:12 pm
Em hotep everybody *henu*

Since years I've been interested in the creation of bread and beer the traditional way. In other words: How did my ancestors do it? How is it done without any industrialisation, how can I do it at home? Over the time I've been gathering information and experience about these things and over a year now I make my own bread. I've already had some kind of honey-brew-beer done, but it got a bit … forgotten, because I lagged enough input to get a clear idea how to proceed.

But that changed! Got some tests running already and am very curious what the results will be like.

My goal was to find an easy way to get these things done at home with very little money and very little effort. Wesir also pushed me a little to do this thread... and I figured I should do it in steps, post by post, because it would be waaay too much to post everything in a single novel of a starting post. So let us begin with the very basics. :)


This is a very interesting kind of yeast that is not really found anywhere in the stores novadays. Simply because this yeast is slow, it takes longer to grow and to make the bread-dough rise. It needs time. But this turns into an up for us! Because it needs time, it also doesn't mind if you forget it a day or two and you don't need to watch it permanently. Also: Once the sourdough is established, it can't go bad. Neither can the bread done with it. Like yeast it is a kind of mushroom-culture thingy. Rot is too. But sourdough is so strong that all other kinds of rot-bacteria can't manifest. In other words: The bread I make with it can't run to seeds, after weeks it's just dry but still edible.

To establish your own sourdough you need this:
- rye flour
- warm water (warm to the feel of your palm, more like 'lukewarm')

The flour needs to be finely grounded. I have no idea how it is done in different countries! In Germany, there's a number on the package, the higher the number the finer the flour. But, at the same time, higher is 'just' better, not ultimately necessary.

Now if you've gotten both, take 100g each and mix them into a bowl. Cover it with a towel.
Done. :)

Repeat each day for the first week, thus you'll have a sourdough of 1400g at the end. But before I got into numbers, here's what you need to take care of:
Smell the dough each day. As the name indicates, it is supposed to develop a sour odour. If it smells bad, like something rotting, that it does just that. Sadly it can happen. It's helpful to have a room temperature of above 20°C and no drafts (if that's the right word, no air blowing through the room that might cool the bowl).
It's a matter of luck in the end, but in most of the cases your sourdough should go well and develop a healthy brown colour. And remember: Once it's established, it can't go bad. You can actually dry the entire thing to store it for years, just put the dry crisps into water and, tada, new sourdough. :)

You need to make a bread from the sourdough after the week. Obviously because you've got three pounds of stuff in a bowl that needs feeding to grow even more! I'll thus get to the how-to-do-first-bread in a moment.
There are a few things left to mention. Once your dough is established you should keep an eye out how much of it you need. The idea is that from our 1400g of dough you take 1000g for a 2kg bread, and leave the 400g to feeding. Thus the culture gets stronger over time.

Because of the amount of dough you might want to use 50g of flour and water, starting the third day of your first week. Thus you'll have 900g at the end of the week, thus we'll take 500g for our first 1kg bread, which is a fairer size for a first-test bread. :)

If you ever have more dough than you need but don't want to bake, just remember to mix it once per day. Or skip it entirely for up to two days, but remember to add more water afterwards to become a decent consistency. (Doing this for a year now, I don't even measure it anymore, I just add flour and water as I feel right because I've developed an eye for what it is supposed to be like and likewise others who do this for so long will. It's pretty easy, honestly.

That also means that your first bread is going to suck. :P That's not because you're a bad baker, but because the sourdough hasn't developed any strength yet. It will nonetheless taste good, but the dough won't risely entirely, thus the bread will end up a bit tough. If it's hard to chew, break it into pieces and boil it in water together with salt, pepper, onions, garlic and some soup-herbs of your liking → tada, tastey breadsoup.

Your first bread.

I want to add here that the sourdough is fairly flexible. I've done quite a bit of bread meanwhile, ranging from spicey pepper-bread over herb-bread to sweet fruit-bread. But for now let's stick with the most basic of all basics from which all other recipes diverge.

500g sourdough
400g wheat flour
100ml warm water (like above)
2 pinch of salt

Mix all of this together in a bowl and cover with a towel.
- The dough is supposed to be nonesticky, but you might want to have something prepared to free your fingers off the dough while it is sticky. If the whole dough is mixed and doesn't stick to your hand: good! If it's still sticky: Add flour until it isn't anymore.
- on the other end: If the dough isn't wet enough to bind all the flour, add water, but very carefully! A sip of water can be enough. :)

Let the dough rise for 2 hours (later, when the dough is stronger, 1 hour is enough)

Prepare a baking pan by putting fat or oil on the surface, just enough to 'lubricate it'
- or -
have a baking tray prepared fat or baking paper.

Take your dough and kneed it thoroughly again. Put it into the baking pan or roll and shape it into a typical bread on the baking tray.

Add a towel and leave it to rise again for anther 2 hours (same as above, faster once the dough is stronger)

Now for the tricky part!

I prefer baking with air circulation.

Take the towel off your bread and wetten the surface with water.

Put a heat-proof bowl or cup of water into the oven

Put your bread in the oven

Put the heat to 230°C and bake it for 30 minutes.

After that, lower the heat to 200°C, open the oven for about a minute to let the stored heat out, close the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

After that, lower the heat to 170°C, open the oven for about a minute to let the stored heat out, close the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

Done! Take your bread out (careful, damn hot) and wetten the surface again. Let it cool for at least another hour, for the heat inside is still working on it.

Now it's ready to be eaten. :)

So far, so good.
I'll leave the thread like this for a while and want to see first if people are interested in this. If so, I'm glad to share more recipes. Also this is very important, because you need to know these two steps of making your own homemade bread to do the traditional beer I'm having here. But before that I need to wait what my experiments will turn out like. To tell you the least: They taste interestingly well! Just need to see which of these need the least amount of work in the long run. :)


edit 1.1 - added information about dough stickyness
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Vaalea on July 23, 2014, 08:56:32 pm
Thank you for the information and shared experience, Marukay.

It's appreciated; I'm taking notes as to compare differing recipes about bread is always interesting to do.

Sidenote, stickiness gets helped some with putting flour or powder over hands prior to working with the dough, best done with powders that would be a part of the baking already and aren't 'in the way'. It's also possible to use the scraps after to make mini-rolls of them and bake them separately if there's a *lot* of overlefts on the hands and around.
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Shezatwepwawet on July 25, 2014, 09:37:41 pm
Before I had to drop anything with gluten from my diet last year, I regularly made my own sourdough bread. I love the process and it's delicious like nothing else.
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on July 26, 2014, 04:37:02 am
I'm still amazed how many people in the temple make things themselves! I've met so many people in Germany and Austria, pretty much nobody knows even how to cook. XD L
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: NeferuHethert on July 27, 2014, 06:44:53 pm
Thank you for the detailed information on how to make bread. I've always admired anyone who can go through the complicated process and produce something so wonderfully delicious. Nekhtet!
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Katbast on July 27, 2014, 08:45:23 pm
This thread actually inspired me to set up a couple of bread starts in my kitchen. :)
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on July 28, 2014, 06:36:40 am
Thank you and you are welcome! :) With all those interested people who enjoy the idea, I'll happyly continue with the next step, probably starting next week when the new year has begun. I'll definately include the reciepe for 1,5kg mixed flour bread and a trick or two to make the result more fluffy, since sourdough is a bit heavy.
Depending on length I'll include the reciepe for herbal-bread, but the recipe for sweet fruit bread would take too much space, thus this has to wait. ;)
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on February 17, 2015, 06:10:41 am
Em hotep everyone.

First of all I want to let you know this topic ain't dead. I am just very, very friggin slow.

This is partly because I want to be more sure of the things I post here. Most of these are based on research I made on my own. Also there is a lot of real life going on, preventing me from checking the boards at all.

And there is the sourdough. I gave a rough explaination how to aquire and feed the dough, but had to realize myself it lacks a lot of things that might come in handy to know. Most of all I was troubled by the question how one can judge if the dough got too dry or too liquid.

A short summary: The sourdough is a living thing, what we make use of is a form of fungi that is developing and living within the dough. It is stronger than any bacteria of rot and decay. This fungi lives from the floar we feed it with and needs water as well, it produces a characteristic gas, alcohol and some sort of acid.

So, as mentioned above, there are two states that are bad for you and the dough.
1. Too dry
2. Too liquid

1. Too dry:
Though the dough itself is immune to bacteria of pertty much any kind, if the dough becomes too dry, so if the top and edges of the bowls get a skin of dough, or even reach crispyness, the dough becomes something alike to soil. On this dry and hard parts of the dough, fungi and bacteria can settle. And they are nasty, because they'll develope a network of roots throughout your entire dough. Even if you feed it frequently, and the dough stays in a too dry state, the fungi will just spread, because the sourdough weakens.

The solution, simply, is too add some more water. Get the balance away from too dry. Through that the sourdough will gain strength and beat the fungi. One can smell the decay once it has settled, and you shouldn't bake bread nor eat any of it then! However, once the sourdough is balanced again, there is no danger left and everything is well again.

2. Too liquid:
As mentioned above, the dough produces alcohol and acid. If the dough becomes too liquid, there will be a lot of acid within it. To speak in plain words: The sourdough chokes on it's own feces. This isn't too bad to us, after all it is this effect we can use to produce honey-beer from the sourdough. Also the bread will get a stronger aroma and will be softer after baking. However, the sourdough can die, and the acid can become strong enough to damage your hand.

Again, simply add some more flour to push the balance back.

In general
the dough is a living thing and is affected by the climate, air condition and draft. You can use a scale each time you feed and still there will be differences after a while. For general caretaking I'd recommend to clean the bowl every one to two months. For that, use up as much of the dough for baking as you can and put a handful into a smaller bowl - if no second big bowl is at hand. Simply clean the bowl afterward and put the dough back in. A tea-spoon of the dough is more than enough to get the culture savely started over. And remember, you can dry the dough on a plate into small flakes. This way you can save some backup and use them to restart any future sourdough.

Hopefully this was of some help to you. I look forward to add reciepes for bread, rolls, cakes and alcoholic drinks you can make of sourdough.

Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on June 28, 2020, 02:26:57 pm
Em hotep and: Well, finally some progress!

Brewing beer with basic ingredients was a tough nut to crack for me, and still is. I only got progress, no tested method yet. But read on!

I looked into several sources about brewing. Just like with bread or mead, I don't trust in recipes which require industrial ingredients and/or methods. I keep thinking: "Every farmer and his wife could do it with what they had, hundreds and thousands of years ago! How did they do it?"

But what I read about brewing mostly confused me, and most of my experiments had discouragingly nasty results. There's even a Egyptian source which talks about baking barley bread, putting that in a pot with water, seal it with clay and dig it in. Other sources talk about the brewing process, where you have to keep the temperature in minute check and scoop the protein from the mixture while brewing it.

I never got any good results. I refuse to buy yeast, since I've got my sourdough culture (which is solid five years old by now and even has been to Scotland!)

Lately, I reconsidered. The brewing is supposed to get the starch from the grain. After pressing it through a towel, you'll have a floury soup kinda thing, which is called mash if I'm not mistaken.

Furthermore, when I make mead, I just mix honey with water (1:2 or 1:3), let it sit in a barrel for ten weeks and shake it every day. Shaking aside, I just put water, yeast and sugar in a pot, the rest is chemistry. With honey providing sugar and yeast. Can beer be that different?

I got that flour soup from brewing. I read that historians hypothesize that the mash sat where a lot of baking was done, too. The baking yeast was thick in the air and cultivated the mash. Then: Chemistry.

So I thought the difference between wine and beer might just be that one takes yeast specialized on sugar, and the other yeast specialized on starch.

Also: Baking yeast works in my fridge. It's one trick to keep your dough working when you're on a vacation and can't feed it. Rot bacteria are kept at bay. Did that Egyptian recipe perhaps dig the clay pots into the earth to keep the brew cool, just to give the yeast a head-start against rot? Brewing  and fermenting ARE just races between different cultures of bacteria.

Today I got two glasses of mash with yeast. The mash is made from rye, because that's what the sour dough feeds on and because I get the whole grain easily in a supermarket, as opposed to malt or barley. One of the glasses resides in my fridge, the other in a cool dark place around 20°C.

And the second glass is already working! It's foaming and smelling pleasantly of sweetness and a bit of alcohol! If it doesn't start to rot in two days, I'm finally on to something, and can continue to work on that with a few experiments I have in mind. Also I need to figure out how to store the brew, stop the fermentation when it's done, and see if the taste is worth all that trouble.

Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Tatuayinepu on June 28, 2020, 03:46:47 pm
Nekhtet! Father will be interested in this as well as Wesir.
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on June 29, 2020, 11:51:33 am
Indeed! :D

I'm conscious I've been giving limited useful information as to how exactly things to be done. Currently I either can't get more specific or chose not to, since it's all too much of a punch than a recipe that I'm doing.

The brew decreased in intensity but still produces some bubbles and pressure within the glass. I'm positive I'll be able to deliver more useful information in a couple of weeks. Sorry, these things do take their time. :)
Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Pawabitui on July 02, 2020, 01:08:27 pm

It has been slightly alcoholic, pleasant but unfamiliar in taste, and even my very sensitive colon has not been complaining about the digestion. I'd call that a success! :D

I ordered a new barrel and did some calculations and planning. Within the next days I'll be brewing and preparing that barrel for the fermentation process. I will see to it that I don't forget to make precise notes of what I did and with what - for myself and for you!

Title: Re: Bread and Beer for Wesir!
Post by: Asetmehheri on July 03, 2020, 01:53:47 am
Very cool! :)