Their claim to fame in modern society was that the 900 or so scrolls, commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were probably some or all of the contents of a library belonging to the sect who allegedly lived as a secluded community on the plateau of Qumran in Israel.
This recipe is loosely based upon a loaf of bread that has been attributed to them.
They were apparently able to cook the loaf in the sweltering sunlight – whereas, seeing as I live in the slightly cooler climate of France, I shall be using a gas cooker.
YOU WILL NEED:
Cast Iron pan with cover (or some other oven proof covered pan) Either a French Oven or a Dutch Oven
Hand meat mincer
– (or a controllable blender or machine that can gently mince soft wheat berries ie slowly)
Fairly large mixing bowl
Sieve with coarse grid (so that the wheat shoots can expand through them)
Plate to cover bowl
Tea-cloth to cover bowl and plate
Grease-proof cooking paper
2 cups of sproutable wheat berries
– (either from your local farmer or one of the many bio shops that sell wheat for sprouting)
Some flour (coarse wholemeal flour is best)
Loads of fresh water
Preferably two oven gloves
PREPARING THE WHEAT BERRIES
If you have gleaned these from the fields – which you are allowed to do in France (after the field has been harvested), you will need to separate berries from chaff and dirt … and snails and other insects and other bits of grass and stuff!
(The Essenes began this process dedicating the berries to the angel of water).
1. In the afternoon (around 3pm) place berries in bowl
2. Rinse with water three or four times to ensure no bits of chaff are in the mix
3. Submerge in water once more – only this time ensure the berries are totally under the water
4. Cover with plate
5. Cover with cloth – and store in a dark place
(This next part was dedicated to the angel of the air).
1. First thing in the morning rinse berries again about three or four times until the water is clear
2. Pour all berries into sieve
3. Place sieve into the now empty bowl
4. Cover sieve with plate
5. Cover plate with cloth and store in a dark place
6. Repeat this process about three in the afternoon and again last thing at night
Note: by the end of the day you should start to see the berries germinating – a few will have little white spots on the end of them.
THE NEXT DAY
Repeat yesterdays process today
MINCING AND KNEADING
(The final part was dedicated to the angel of the sun).
1. Rinse once more first thing
2. Between 11am and 3pm at the latest begin the cooking process:
a. Turn on the oven to high (about 200c)and place the empty covered pan into it (if you are using a cast iron pan then you will need to “cook” it for about 25 minutes)
b. coarsely mince the berries and sprouts (this may take up to 25 minutes!)
c. cut out a large circle of paper (around 12 inches in diameter)on which you can place the cake of bread
d. sprinkle a liberal amount of flour onto paper
e. About this time turn the cooker down to about 160c
f. Now comes the messy fun bit! Place the minced berries onto table top and “knead” …
… actually all you will be able to do is to squeeze the “dough” …
… do this just for about three minutes – and enjoy it!
Once it is kneaded, make it into a fat round bun shape. Ensure that you can easily and lightly lift the whole loaf off the surface without much remaining stuck to it.
g. Rinse your hands, then carefully lift the loaf onto the centre of the paper, and then lightly as possible pat it into a circular cake shape about half an inch thick and about 6-8 inches in diameter
h. CAUTION! VERY HOT PAN AND LID ARE USED HERE!
USING OVEN GLOVES quickly take out the covered pan, take off the cover, drop cake on paper centrally into the pan, WITH OVEN GLOVES put the cover back on, and place into oven
i. cook for 55 minutes
j. USING OVEN GLOVES remove the cover and continue cooking for another 10 minutes
k. USING OVEN GLOVES remove pan, and take cake out of pan
l. Let cooked bread cool for about five minutes then carefully remove paper from cake
m. You can begin eating the bread within about thirty minutes …
… but for best results place bread in a sealed tin over night …
… then it will have softened to perfection!