I would like to ask you what do the native speakers of English mean when they say a thick loaf of bread? Does the adjective "thick" describe the bread's texture or size? Does it just mean that the loaf is big or high? I tried to google it but "thick" seems to be used mainly with the word "slice".

Here's the original sentence:

The oldest surviving recipe for beer dates back about 4,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia and calls for thick, multi-grain loaves to be mixed with honey

I need it for translation purposes.

Many thanks in advance!

/source: Manitoba Co-operator, April 23, 2015/

  • 2
    Personally I would presume it referred to texture; a "thick loaf" would be heavy, dense, and chewy as opposed to light, airy, squishable and soft.
    – Hellion
    Aug 1, 2015 at 0:12
  • 4
    Without more context it's hard to say. "Loafs" of bread have traditionally taken many forms, many as a sort of flatbread. So "thick" could simply mean a thick vs thin flatbread.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 1, 2015 at 2:22
  • Thank you, Hot Licks. Unfortunately, only one sentence in the article deals with that recipe, so no more information is available. Aug 2, 2015 at 10:55
  • Hot Licks, I think you're right :) This bread was called bappir, and is seems it was a flatbread Aug 2, 2015 at 11:05

1 Answer 1


The quote comes from this Reuter's news article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/17/belgium-beer-bread-idUSL6N0WS2LW20150417. HotLicks is almost certainly correct when he/she suggests that 'thick' in this context is simply differentiating this bread from the very common flat breads known also from this time. It seems likely that the author of the article didn't quite understand the nuance, as he also refers to this bread being in 'loaves'. In some senses a thick flat bread is a loaf, and in other senses it is half-way to a loaf, but in both senses the sentence in the article is a little clumsy.

The point of the article is that the ancient Sumerians used this bread as a base for brewing beer, and the practice has been revived in several commercial breweries. The practice has, however, been commonplace in prisons for many years where inmates use crumbed bread to initiate illicit alcoholic brews.

As the OP points out, the bread is called 'bappir', and some detail is available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bappir, but a picture is worth a thousand words:

enter image description here

And here is a another image from a site discussing the link between the bread and brewing:

enter image description here

Refer: http://3beersin3days.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/sumerian-beer-dinner-gage-and-great.html


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.