top of page

World-building Resources: Bread

It is pretty hard to write a story without food coming up SOMEWHERE in the story.

It almost always (at least in the fantasy and gothic genres) involves a tavern or an inn and the meal invariably involves bread.

Most of the time it is simply called bread, occasionally it is described..taste, texture, and color (i.e., IE Black bread). But this is one of those little ways in which details could make for a great variation of a typical a way that stands out from the average bread description.

What about incorporating ancient grains instead of relying on that old stand-by wheat? Here is a list of seven different ones that could be used to describe bread or could be used in the story as food sources.

1. Amaranthe- a tiny grain which when ground makes a really good substitute for wheat. It is high in iron, protein sources, and calcium.

2. Buckwheat-great alternative to rice or porridge. When ground makes a nutty-tasting batter for pancakes.

3. Barley- almost as common as wheat in literature, however, it has been cultivated for over 10,000 years. Nutty in taste.

4. Ferro- an ancient strain of wheat. (also known as Emmer)One of the first grains cultivated in the ancient Middle Eastern area of the Fertile Crescent. Ferro would have been the standard grain given to Roman soldiers in their food ration.

5.Kamut- an ancient Khorasan wheat variety.

6. Millet- the texture can be either fluffy or creamy, making it a suitable substitute for porridge. It has been traditionally used in Ethiopia for centuries to make flatbread.

7. Quinoa- exceptionally high in protein, and can be boiled and cooked like rice. can also be ground to use for flour. Due to a naturally occurring Saponin that coats the seeds, it must be washed before consuming or it can cause gastric distress...stomach cramping, and diarrhea. (This could be a valuable fact for a character who needs to generate some unpleasantness to others without being caught. )

8. Rye- Much more known but not utilized as much as wheat in the literary forum. Originally grown in Germanic areas, it is actually thought to have been the seeds of weeds in wheat and barley fields.

9. Spelt-in existence much longer than wheat, but it can be used in all the same ways. It has a broader range of nutrients than wheat does. It contains a nutty flavor.

10.Teff-a type of millet used to make spongy injera bread in Ethiopia. The seeds are too small to be ground or milled, so it is commonly used whole.

To read more on these bread-type grains and on other ancient grains see the original listing on the following site:

14 views0 comments


bottom of page