Visit Sodalitas Coquorum et Cerevisiae Coctorum (The Society of Cooks and Brewers).
Mustaceus was "a popular spiced cake baked in bay leaves and eaten after a feast to prevent indigestion." (Rosengarten 1969)
- 4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup lard, shortening, or butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled and mashed into a paste
- 1 tsp cumin seed, ground
- 1 tsp anise, ground
- 1 1/2 cup grape juice, purple or white
- 1 package dry yeast
- 8 bay leaves
1) Place the flour, lard, mashed cheese, ground cumin and anise, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Blend well. Add the grape juice and mix the dough well for 2-3 minutes until all the grape juice is absorbed and evenly distributed. The dough will be damp and sticky, but no internal dry areas should appear by the end of the mixing. If they do, mix a few minutes more or add a little more grape juice and mix again.
2) Let the dough rest 5 minutes. Now sprinkle 1 or 2 tbsp. flour over the dough and knead, either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and only slightly sticky. Add more flour if needed. Let the dough rest 2 minutes.
3) The dough should now be very smooth and easy to handle. Knead 30 seconds more, return the dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with a dish towel or large plate, and let rise at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
4) Sprinkle top with flour, punch down, and form the dough into 4 rectangular loaves (4 in. by 2 in. by 2-1/2 in.). Place two bay leaves on the bottom of each loaf, and lay them, leaf side down, on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour, until well risen.
5) Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 minutes, until the loaves are brown on top and make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Serve when cool.
NOTE: To make these breads without leavening, omit the yeast, knead the dough thoroughly, then bake at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. They will be chewy and moist, and very foreign to our taste. The Romans thought unleaven bread was manlier and much better for the digestion.
- Rosengarten, F. (1969), The Book of Spices. ISBN 0515064904