We want to thank our SmartCgArt friend Pauline Richard, for having prepared this modern version of this ancient Roman recipe.
This is probably one of the most ancient recipes ever.
It was written, by the famous Cato the Elder or the Censor, one of the men, who defeated Hannibal during the Second Punic War.
Despite its ancientness, this recipe was a very popular recipe in Roman times and throughout its entire history, because the libum was [libum means for the sacrifice or offer for the sacrifice] a sacrificial loaf, used to honour the gods of the family and of the roads [Lares familiares and Lares compitales] on the day of their festivals. The libum was also used as a special birthday loaf.
Let's taste it!
650 gr cheese [2 Roman pounds]
[buttermilk curd whey cheese, i.e. ricotta or cottage cheese type, or a soft cheese i.e. a caciotta type cheese]
325 gr wheat meal [1 Roman pound]
[or 162,5 gr wheat meal siligo mixed with 162,5 gr flour similago]
As usual for this type of Roman recipes, add salt and taste, and, if the ricotta or the soft cheese are not wet enough, add a second egg.
1. Mash the ricotta or the soft cheese in a bowl.
2. Add the flour [you can use also a mixture of pastry flour/all-purpose flour and of durum wheat semolina flour, a common mixture also in modern bakery industry], the egg and salt [the quantity depends on the type of cheese you are using]. Knead the cheese with the flour and the egg, until you get a homogeneous dough.
3. Pre-heat the oven. Prepare an oven tray with a silver foil, lay the bay-leaves in and oil them with olive oil.
4. Form small loaves, like apricots, and place them on the pre-prepared oven tray.
5. Bake in an oven 180 centigrade or 350 fahrenheit, possibly with both upper and lower oven sections heating, for around 30 minutes.
This is the original 3rd/2nd century BC Cato the Censor's recipe for the Liba [De Agri Cultura or On Farming, 75]!
HOW TO SERVE
It is a delicious hors-d'oeuvre.
Eat them with hard boiled eggs served with a mashed garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil sauce or/and with black and green olives mixed together, even better if they are mashed olives.
Possible modern variants
Instead of bay-leaves you can use rosemary.
The type of cheese, you use, can radically change the taste of the loaves: so you can use the cheese you love the best.
In Roman times the liba were used both as loaves and as cakes, according to the will and tradition of the people who made them.
So, if you want a cake, just add sugar or honey, instead of salt, and you'd better not use the caciotta type cheese. When serving them, pour honey on them and, if you like it, cinnamon, as for the Roman fried globi and fried bread recipes.
for SmartCgArt II