Ezekiel’s Bread – Biblical Recipe
March 8th, 2009 by Elijah

Ezekiel’s bread recipe has reached global popularity literally. However, the variety of recipes hardly would meet the required ingredients as laid out in the scriptures as follows;

Ezekiel 4:9-17 – Further take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and emmer. Put them into one vessel and bake them into a bread. Eat it as many days as you lie on your side: three hundred and ninety. The food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; this you shall eat in the space of a day. And you shall drink water by measure; drink a sixth of a hin in the space of a day. Eat it as a barley cake; you shall bake it…..

The ingredients in Ezekiel’s bread are a variation of ‘falafel’ mix recipes which has been a staple food of the Middle East for millenniums. Although the scripture does not give any list of herbs or other seasonings to be added we could assume that if he was to eat it in the likeness of a barley cake, then cumin, coriander, parsley, salt, onion, garlic could have been added for flavour. Barley was one of the ingredients from which the prophet was to make bread and “eat it as barley cakes” after having baked it as a sign to the people.

The portions of the above ingredients would be approximately 10 ounces of “falafel” per day and one sixth of a ‘hin’ of water would be approximately 1 litre per day. A half shekel weighed 13 grams and if in deed the reference meant one shekel it could be two halves of 13 grams each, times 20 equalling 260 grams or 10 ounces per day. Ezekiel would likely add enough water to the flour mixture and let it ferment or soften before baking it in the likeness of barley cakes. Barley cakes were small flat cakes about two inches. Three-hundred and ninety times 10 ounces would be approximately 244 pounds of ‘falafel’ mix.

Probably the best recipe would be to have equal portions of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and emmer from the list below – all of which can be purchased in today’s specialty food markets; add cumin, coriander, parsley, salt, onion, garlic and water to moisten the flour mixture and let it ferment. Form into small flat patties and bake them or fry in olive oil.

Wheat (Triticum spp.), is a worldwide cultivated grass from the Levant region of the Middle East. The four wild species of wheat, along with the domesticated varieties einkorn, emmer and spelt, have hulls. Einkorn — (T. monococcum) A diploid species with wild and cultivated variants. Domesticated at the same time as emmer wheat, but never reached the same importance. Emmer — (T. dicoccon) A tetraploid species, cultivated in ancient times but no longer in widespread use. Spelt (T. spelta) – Another hexaploid species cultivated in limited quantities.

Emmer wheat – like einkorn and spelt wheat’s, emmer is a hulled wheat. It was one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. It was widely cultivated in the ancient world, but is now a relict crop in mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. Wild emmer (Triticum dicoccoides) grows wild in the fertile crescent of the Near East. It is a tetraploid wheat formed by the hybridisation of two diploid wild grasses, Triticum urartu (closely related to wild einkorn, T. boeoticum), and an unidentified Aegilops species related to A. searsii or A. speltoides. Emmer had a special place in ancient Egypt, where it was the only wheat cultivated in Pharaonic times, even though neighbouring countries also cultivated einkorn, durum and common wheat. In the absence of any obvious functional explanation, this may simply reflect a marked culinary or cultural preference.

Emmer and barley were the primary ingredients in ancient Egyptian bread and beer. Emmer recovered from the Phoenician settlement at Volubilis (Morocco) has been dated to the middle of the first millenium BCE. Emmer wheat is mentioned in ancient rabbinic literature as one of the five grains forbidden to Jews during Passover. It is often incorrectly translated as spelt in English translations of the rabbinic literature. In 1906, Aaron Aaronsohn’s discovery of wild emmer wheat growing wild in Rosh Pina in Israel created a stir in the botanical world. Emmer wheat has been found in archaeological excavations and ancient tombs.

Barley (se`orah): In the Bible, as in modern times, barley was a characteristic product of the Holy Land–“a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees,” etc. (Deut 8:8), the failure of whose crop was a national disaster (Joel 1:11). It was, and is, grown chiefly as fodder for horses and asses (1 Kings 4:28), but it was to some extent, the food of the poor in country districts [Ruth 2:17; 2 Kings 4:42]. The dream of the Midianite concerning Gideon (Judges 7:13) and the barley loaf is type of the peasant origin of Gideon’s army. ; cultivated in Egypt (Ex. 9:31) and in the Holy Land by the Hebrews (Lev. 27:16; Deut. 8:8; Ruth 2:17) and [1 Chr. 11:13; Jer. 41:8]. Used in offerings, [Num. 5:15; Ezek. 45:15; in, 2 Chr. 2:10; Hos. 3:2]. Priests estimated value of, [Lev. 27:16; 2 Kings 7:1]. Absalom burns Joab’s field of [2 Sam. 14:30] Barley of the first crop was ready for the harvest by the time of the Passover, in March and April (Ruth 1:22; 2 Sam. 21:9) and in the hilly district as late as May. Mention is made of barley-meal (Num. 5:15). In Egypt the barley is harvested about a month earlier than wheat.

Fava beans are a common staple food in the Egyptian diet, eaten by rich and poor alike. They are the primary ingredient in Ta`meyyah (Egyptian Arabic for falafel) and Egyptians  feel Levantine felafel (made from chickpeas) is inferior. 

Lentils are mentioned many times in the Torah. In Jewish tradition they are considered as food for mourners, together with boiled eggs. The reason is that their round shape symbolizes the life cycle from birth to death. Lentils originated in the Near East, and has been part of the human diet since the Neolithic times, being one of the first crops domesticated in the Middle East.

Millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult production environments. The millets include species in several genera, mostly in the subfamily Panicoideae, of the grass family Poaceae. The most widely-cultivated species in order of worldwide production are.: Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum); Foxtail millet (Setaria italica); Proso millet also known as common millet, broom corn millet, hog millet or white millet (Panicum miliaceum) Finger millet (Eleusine coracana)

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One Response  
  • Helen writes:
    September 14th, 20107:57 amat

    Hi, I was reading your article and I just wanted to thank you for putting out such great content. There is so much junk on the internet these days its hard to find anything worthwhile. I actually have cooked this recipe before, I got this book last month on recommendation from a friend and it turned out really nice! I’m extremely eager to try your variation of it though, it looks fantastic. Thanks for the article and great ideas.

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