Baking bread in Bible times

The Druze are especially noted in Israel for baking bread on a convex griddle. There are Druze villages on Mount Carmel and in the Golan Heights where the border with Israel and Syria come together. The photo below slows a woman preparing the dough for baking at a restaurant in the north of the Golan Heights at Birket Ram.

Druze woman preparing bread for baking at Birket Ram. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Druze woman preparing bread for baking at Birket Ram. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

She will first place the dough on a rounded cushion which looks like a pillow (at the bottom of the photo).

After that she will turn it over on the griddle at the top of the photo. There you see bread cooking. To the left there is bread that has been taken from the griddle. Your chosen ingredients of meal and/or vegetables will be rolled in the thin bread.

Druze woman preparing bread for baking at Birket Ram. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Druze woman preparing bread for baking at Birket Ram. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I certainly am not an expert on cooking, nor even an expert on how this type of cooking might compare with some bread baking in Bible times. Ovens were often used by people of the Bible world, but some bread was cooked on a plate or griddle made of clay or iron.

King and Stager say,

“When a griddle (mahabat) of clay or iron (Ezek. 4:3) was used, it was set on stones over a pit in which a fire was kindled; then the dough was baked directly on the griddle” (Life in Biblical Israel, 66).

There are a few biblical references in which this type of griddle seems to be in mind.

And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil. (Leviticus 2:5; see also 6:21; 7:9 ESV)

For a visual aid, Ezekiel was told to take an iron griddle (plate, frying pan) and use it as an iron wall between himself and the city.

And you, take an iron griddle, and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; and set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel. (Ezekiel 4:3 ESV)

Holladay’s Hebrew lexicon defines the Hebrew word for griddle as “(metal) plate, griddle for roasting & frying.”

I would write more, but I think I will go eat.

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4 responses to “Baking bread in Bible times

  1. I just hope she washed her feet….per the top photo….her foot is awfully close to the already baked bread !!!

  2. Keen eye. When we travel, we typically follow Paul’s advice to the Corinthians: “If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake.” (1Corinthians 10:27 NAU). :-)

  3. Pingback: Resources for Ezekiel 3:6 - 9

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