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Maza
(Recipe for Barley Cake)

Pollux,

Maza
AFAIK, this recipe comes from Grant and was inserted by original site author (I will say again to PLEASE buy these author's books! By doing so, you will help support them — even for books that are older and might not sell as well anymore... These authors do not do this for money, they do it for love. Please support them!

Yeah, go ahead and click here to buy this book!
Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens.

Yes, this book has a new cover, but I like this one better. Blah, I am so horrible.

Barley, cultivated in the Mediterranean from the beginnings of civilization, was for many centuries the basic food of the regional populations. It was roasted so that some of its husk could be rubbed off, then ground and mixed with water, spices, and maybe honey, to be made into gruel, or it was kneaded with water, shaped into cakes and then baked. The barley cakes were called maza, and according to the laws of Solon, maza was the everyday food of Athenians in classical times. Maza was probably a kind of heavy unleavened flat bread, unlike paximadi, which is first baked as leavened bread. The way mazawas eaten though, dipped in a more or less rich broth, as this paragraph reveals, was very similar to the way paximadi is consumed to this day.

Since barley contains less gluten than wheat, the bread made with it is heavy, darker in color and dries faster. So it is not surprising that it was baked again in order to be preserved. The flavor is good, with an unmistakably earthy tang. Milk and barley meal were the basic ingriedients for this cake which was the alternative to bread in classical Greece. It was carefully distinguished by ancient writers from leavened barley breads. Flavourings such as wine, herbs or lettuce could be added to this simple recipe. This adaption uses honey and olive oil.

'Melitoutta is found in Trophonios meaning a cake, and similarly hygieia, for hygieia is a type of bakery cake. People make the following barley cakes, the names of wich are flower cake, lettuce cake, puff cake, wine cake, sacrificial cake ... Barley cakes are kneaded with sifted barley meal, barley biscuits with parched barley meal.':

Ingredients

  • 200 g/7 oz barley flour100 ml/3floz water
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and knead thoroughly. The result should be a firm and supple dough.
  • Roll the dough as thinly as possible on a floured board.
  • Oil a baking tray and, using a 10cm/4" diameter pastry cutter, cut out rounds of dough and put these on the baking tray.
  • Heat an oven to 200°c/400°f/gas mark 6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack and serve.
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