In the old times one of the regular nourishment on the monasteries table was the raw bread (rough or crude bread) also known as hermits' bread', made solely from grains, with no heating used in the preparation process. The monks who chose to live in isolated places needed to solve the food problem, crucial to carry on with their mission.
Monasteries have always been spiritual and cultural centers as well as important contributors to the surrounding communities, regardless their religion … Monastic role is still important in modern society in spite of the increasing discrepancy between the monastic life and the goals that most people have in life, especially when it comes about lifestyle.
The ones who ever have been visitors in an orthodox monastery and asked to sit to the monks' table asked themselves what is the secret of the exceptional taste of food that were served. Monastic food is equally simple and healthy, true medicine for those who use it! A simple vegetable soup or a stew of potatoes tastes better than most of the sophisticated dishes served in expensive restaurants. Moreover, if received with an open heart, a meal at a monastery is a real therapy for body, soul and spirit.
In the old times one of the regular nourishment on the orthodox monasteries table was the raw bread (rough or crude bread) also known as hermits' bread', made solely from grains, with no heating used in the preparation process. The monks who chose to live in isolated places, in solitude and ceaseless fasting and prier needed to solve a crucial problem in order to carry on with their spiritual mission: how to sustain themselves on long-term? They needed easy to get ready food, which don't require much time or particular setup, having the vital qualities to guarantee the necessary energy for living.
The raw bread is the food that made this possible. Not only it is extremely nutritious, but proved to be exceptionally valuable for people with certain health problems, a genuine medicine for those in need (it is, therefore, known as “gracious bread”). In the Hesychast medicine (which originates from around 1300 year, from the Mount Athos monks) the raw bread is a commonplace, the orthodox monks are prescribing it even these days to people that lost any hope from the official medicine, saying that many hopeless people have been cured with special regimens that incorporate raw bread.
This bread has exceptional detoxifying power, however, when used as a therapy it shouldn't be associated with fats, meat or meat products, sweets, dairy because the treatment effectiveness is reduced. It may be rather associated for excellent results with cooked vegetables such as nettles, beets, zucchini, celery, parsnips, turnips, carrots, lettuce, chestnuts, nuts etc.
Apparently there is no food easier to get ready than this bread. You just need whole wheat grain, ideally home ground (electric or manual grinder) and utilized without straining. It can be any blend of wheat, rice, rye, buckwheat with different seeds added to give special taste such as sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc. You may like to eliminate gluten cereals from your blend … in this case the dough will be a little crumbly in the end but you can avoid this if you add some manioc flour or smashed flax seeds.
Add water to this blend until you obtain a hard dough that must be kept over night (around 8 to 10 hours) at a temperature higher than the ordinary room temperature in order to induce the fermentation process ... Once the fermentation finished you may slice the dough into small portions of 0.5 to 1.00 cm thickness and start drying them in the sun, in a special dryer or in the stove at lowest temperature (keep the door slightly open).
This simple bread is similar to another miraculous ancient recipe, the Essene bread. The cereals are sprouted first and then smashed very carefully and enriched with a touch of carrots or other vegetables. After that, the process is similar and keep in mind that the fermentation in a warm environment is critical.