Artisan baker Samantha Siegel is resurrecting the Biblical and richly nutritious sprouted bread which originated in Israel’s southern Dead Sea region. Originally from Chicago, she now resides in the holy city of Jerusalem with dreams of connecting Israelis to the original “staff of life” which is native to the Holy Land.
Siegel was introduced to sprouted bread through health educator and author Shoshanna Harrari fourteen years ago. Siegel told Breaking Israel News, “Following my move to Israel twelve years ago, I found myself drawn to the beauty of the Dead Sea. It was only last year that I connected the two and realized that sprouted bread originated with the ancient Essenes, a Jewish health-conscious people who lived in the Dead Sea region.”
Siegel, whose work is deeply related to Dead Sea teachings, is credited for the recent media frenzy caused by her recognition that the Dead Sea is actually brimming with life in fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecies.
For Siegel, the Dead Sea “is a healing paradise shrouded in Jewish history. The first time that I saw fish in ponds, I didn’t connect it to prophecy. It was only recently that I remembered my Bible studies and connected it to the supernatural healing powers of the Dead Sea and the ‘Dead Sea Bread’ that I am striving to bring to Israel.”
Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman author, locates the Essenes in the desert near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea near the town of Engeda (Ein Gedi). Josephus identifies the Essenes as one of three major Jewish religious sects that flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD.
Josephus describes the Essenes as a pious, communal group with a strict observance of the Sabbath. They ate and prayed together and were devoted to charity and benevolence, forbade the expression of anger, studied the books of the elders, preserved ancient secrets and were very mindful of the names of the angels kept in their sacred writings. Part of their pure lifestyle was not partaking in animal sacrifices or the eating of meat.
“I read ‘The Essene Gospel of Peace’ which contains the first documented recipe for sprouted bread and got inspired to do extensive research on this ancient food,” Siegel related. “Beer and bread are two of the oldest foods. Google has endless information on beer and shockingly almost nothing about sprouted bread even though they are made in practically the same way, through soaking grains, sprouting them, fermentation and creating.”
The Essene Gospel of Peace states that some disciples asked, “How should we cook our daily bread without fire, Master?”
The recipe was as follows:
“Let the angels of God prepare your bread. Moisten your wheat, that the angel of water may enter it. Then set it in the air, that the angel of air also may embrace it. And leave it from morning to evening beneath the sun, that the angel of sunshine may descend upon it. And the blessing of the three angels will soon make the germ of life to sprout in your wheat. Then crush your grain, and make thin wafers, as did your forefathers when they departed out of Egypt, the house of bondage. Put them back again beneath the sun from its appearing, and when it is risen to its highest in the heavens, turn them over on the other side that they be embraced there also by the angel of sunshine, and leave them there until the sun be set.”
“My sprouted bread consists of only two ingredients, sprouted wheat or spelt and Dead Sea salt,” shared Siegel with Breaking Israel News. “Sprouting grains multiply their vitamins and mineral levels up to 600 percent and breaks down the phytic acid [an anti-nutrient that blocks mineral absorption] for better absorption and digestion. Many allergic or gluten sensitive people can eat sprouted bread with no ill effect.”
For the past three years, Siegel has baked over 15,000 organic sprouted breads from her Jerusalem home. She hopes to open a restaurant in Jerusalem’s open-market shuk to provide residents with both Biblical sprouted bread and a more healthful falafel, Israel’s national fast food.
“Bread is the basic food of humanity,” she said to Breaking Israel News. “I now can connect my attachment to the Dead Sea, my desire to revive the ancient art of sprouted bread in Israel and my dream to serve the residents and tourists of Israel with the world’s healthiest street food.”