Our daily bread
The first charred crumbs of a flatbread made by Natufian hunter- gatherers from wild wheat, wild barley and plant go back to 14,600 to 11,600 years ago were found at the archaeological site in the Black Desert in Jordan. Many centuries after people discovered that yeast will make bread bigger and make it softer, they started adding it.
Bread in Croatia is the main ingredient of our nutrition no matter if it is a classic one, gluten free, sourdough, with cereals and seeds...and we make it on a daily basis. In former Dubrovnik Republic citizens used mainly barley, millet and wheat. However as there was not enough fertile land most of those cereals were imported from Italy and Otoman empire. Government made sure to have always enough supplies for everybody and therefore they created state granaries called „fundik“. They were literally big halls built as water well. One of those ancient warehouses in the Old City is nowadays converted into the Ethnographic Museum with 15 halls where grain was stored. Word „rupe“ translated to English means „holes“. Mills were built on fast streams which were located in Konavle valley, Župa Dubrovačka, Ston, Trsteno village and close to the old town, near Minčeta fortress. Citizens of Dubrovnik Republic were buying grain from the state and bringing it to be weighed and grinded in the mills. One percentage of the grain went as paycheck to the mill owner. There were many bakeries in the Old City and that job was usually given to the ladies which were named „pećarice“. Their bread differed by the way how they baked, varieties, shapes and tenderness.
„Beškot“ was very known bread product which was ideal as food for the sailors on many trade ships that Dubrovnik had. It was hard roasted bread that could last longer. Bread was baked in special stone ovens or under the iron bell directly on hot fireplace. Early in the morning „pećarice“ were making dough and always they would do it with sour dough which they grew or they were adding whey (sirutka) which would make it rise faster. Once the bread was baked,they would wrap it in a kitchen towel and let it cool. For the Christmas, even today, especially in the countryside ladies will make traditional bread „luk“ (Christmas Arch with candle, branch of rosemary and olive in the
middle), for Easter „teharice“ (easter doughnats) and „galeta“ (famous among seamen because it lasted longer and they dip it into wine or milk). In our traditional cooking classes we teach how to make bread from scratch as this is always the first step of presenting our local cuisine. For some guests it is the first time they make their own homemade bread.. The most important thing is that the process of making bread brings us closer to each other and it is a beautiful introduction to the
magic of cooking. How our ancestors did years ago, we continue further on.
Homemade bread ( for 6 person)
800 g of white flour
50 g of corn flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1 cube of fresh yeast
400 ml of lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
Into 200ml lukewarm water add 1 teaspoon of sugar, fresh yeast and 1 teaspoon of white flour. Mix it and leave it for 20min to raise up. On the table mix white flour with corn flour and leave the hole in the middle. Into that hole pour a little bit of yeast+water and add step by step flour aside to make first like a small pool. And then finally you add all flour and if needed pour more lukewarm salted water. Knead until dough won't be sticky on your fingers and table, but it should be done very gently using more palms. Put into an olive oil greased pan and leave it in the oven on the lowest temperature for 20min. If you want you can knead it again and leave it for 20min more. Make cross
on the bread before putting in the oven. Bake at 200 Celsius( 390 degrees Fahrenheit ) for 45 minutes until it gets golden brown or bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to wire
rack to cool, you can wrap it with the kitchen towel. Be patient for at least 20min and bon appétit!