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There is no question that fermentation takes place accidentally (as it must have done countless times before humans learned something about controlling the process), and most investigators believe that barley was first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent region of lower Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Grain is heavy to transport relative to the beer made from it, so it is not surprising that there may be evidence of ale in these outposts and not unreasonable to suspect that accidental fermentation did occur at some point in the ancient Mesopotamian region, leading to beer making." ---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F.
In Ancient Rome bread ovens in the public bakeries were originally hewn from solid rock.
These ovens were heated by the familiar method of burning wood in the baking chamber, raking out the ashes and putting in the dough to bake.
At some stage in the Neolithic era people had learned that if, instead of using ordinary grain, they used grain that had been sprouted and then dried, it made a bread that kept unusually well. The Egyptian process was to sprout the grain, dry it , crush it, mix it to a dough and partially bake it.
Being damp and sticky they remained in place intil they had dried out, when they fell to the bottom of the oven.
When the heat was sufficient the embers were raked out and the pieces of dough placed in the hollows and covered over.
In Jerusalem there was a bakers' quarter where bread was baked in tiers of stone-built ovens, or furnaces as they were called in the Bible.
Indeed, there are scholars who have theorized that a taste for ale prompted the beginning of agriculture, in which case humans have been brewing for some 10,000 years...
Most archaeological evidence, however, suggests that fermentation was being used in one manner or another by around 4000 to 3500 B. Some of this evidence-from an ancient Mesopotamian trading outpost called Godin Tepe in present-day Iran- indicates that barley was being fermented at that location around 3500 B. Additional evidence recoverd at Hacinegi Tepe (a similar site in southern Turkey) also suggest that ancient Mesopotamians were fermenting barley at a very early date...