[Sca-cooks] Not bagels, pretzels

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Fri May 4 08:55:03 PDT 2007

Adamantius says
>Regarding the translation as "bagel", maybe we're placing too much  
>expectation on the modern Jewish type bagel, made with high-gluten  
>wheat flour, boiled and baked. Since we don't seem to see too much  
>high-gluten flour being used in period Europe (although Italy may be  
>an exception), isn't it possible, somewhere along the line, the  
>equivocation with bagels is being stressed too heavily?

Bit of trivia: Poking around through state agricultural data, the Emilia-Romagna region, where Ferrara is located, apparently is the largest producer of soft wheat in Italy, at least back in 2003. The Canadian agricultural market analysis where I found this also notes that Italian soft wheat is lower in gluten and protein than Canadian soft wheat, but doesn't say why, just that Canadian wheat was a favored import because of its gluten content

I don't know what kind of wheat they were planting in Emilia-Romagna back in Messisbugo's day, but it was probably the low-gluten sort as well.

Another bit of trivia: There had been a substantial population of Jews in Mantua and Ferrara in Messisbugo's day. In Ferrara, they were especially protected — lived among the general populace, didn't have to wear distinguishing marks on their clothing, and practiced any profession they pleased. I don't know what impact they had on the local cuisine, though. That would be some interesting research!


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