Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ezekiel Bread

Some people go nuts for Ezekiel Bread, supposedly a perfect food whose recipe is given in the bible.  The recipe is based on Ezekiel 4:9.
"And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them."
Ohh!  Multi grain!  Ain't it wonderful!  The perfect food ordained by God!

No, not really...

Let's read the whole chapter:
Ezekiel 4:1-3, Ezekiel is instructed to construct a model of a siege against Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 4:4-8, Ezekiel is instructed to lay down in one place for over a year without moving, while facing the siege model.
Ezekiel 4:9-11, Ezekiel is given the recipe for the bread that he is to eat during this ordeal, with the amount of food and water to be strictly rationed as would occur during a time of siege.
Ezekiel 4:12-15, The baking instructions for the bread is given, to be baked over human dung.  Ezekiel begs mercy on this point, and is allowed to use cow dung instead.  (I've never seen any fans of Ezekiel bread include these instructions.)

Just in case you can't follow what's going on here, the chapter sums it up nicely for you:
"Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, behold, I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment."
So there you go, Ezekiel bread was not for obtaining optimum health of the prophet during his ministry, it was a visible sign of the terrible famine and war that was coming to Jerusalem.

There are several more modern examples of "War Bread" which is made from whatever starchy scraps you have on hand to stretch the scarce flour.  Traditional ingredients include multigrain, legumes, and potatoes.  They have more crumb than white or wheat bread as they lack the gluten strands that make wheat bread so airy.

Now I don't mean to discourage you from eating multigrain over white bread, or from sprouting your grains, a variety of grains is probably more healthy for you than sticking to white flour.  These traditional war bread recipes exist because our ancestors used to have supplies of those other grains around to stretch the white flour with, so if you're not thickening soups with rye berries and eating bowls of oatmeal, a multigrain bread may be a good way to get these alternative grains into your diet.  (Assuming you tolerate carbs better than I do.)  Just please don't tell me that your multigrain bread is spiritual or a God-ordained perfect food...