|August 2758 auc
Fr. Apulo Caesare C. Popillio Laena consulibus
In the Early
years of the Roman Republic the tasks of milling and baking were separate
occupation. The milling of grain into flour was originally a household
occupation. Saddle querns were used -- grain was placed on a flat quernstone
and was crushed by rubbing another stone backward and forward over the
top.. In the early 2nd century BC rotary querns were developed. These
rotary hand querns remained in common use, and consisted of an upper concave
stone, and a lower concave one. By the sixth century BC baking was being
done commercially, and by the second
By this time the entire production of bread from milling the grain to whole loaves was a major industry. The larger rotary grain mills (donkey mills) in the later empire (Pompeii) were hour glassed shaped hollowed mills set upon closely fitted bell-shaped cone and turned usually with animal power.
Also water mills for milling grain were developed from the 1st Century B.C. and were capable of milling much larger quantities of grain
The unleavened bread of the early years was now joined by leavened bread for those who could afford it. This new burst of industry demanded some organization for the quantities of grain needed, the production of flour, and the increasing variety of bread and grain products.
It was determined in this period that bread which was
prepared from wheat flour which was refined was far better for you than
bread prepared from whole meal grains and which was unsieved. Wheat was
the much preferred grain. Barley was considered to be much inferior, and
Considering that the wheat supply coming into to Rome on an annual basis was at least 150,000 metric tons (1), and considering that this wheat was towed from Ostia up the Tiber canal to Rome, and the huge granaries of Rome were filled by human porters, the idea of organization becomes much more meaningful.
Milling and baking was often done also on the same premises, and for the most part remained a small scaled local occupation usually carried out by the bakers. In rural areas baking was a household task, but in towns of population there were bakers who provided bread, and also pastries and confections.
© NovaRoma 2005
Marcus Minucius-Tiberius Audens
Marcus Philippus Conservatus and Franciscus Apulus Caesar
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