A thousand years ago, Middle Eastern cooks used a condiment called murri made from doughnut-shaped loaves of rotted barley. The Food section, ever unwilling to pass up a new (or old) taste sensation, is rotting some barley according to the ancient instructions, and we will keep you up to date on how it does, what it tastes like and exactly how dangerous it would be to eat.
Now, apparently nobody has made murri for about 600 years, so this is a little experimental. We're rotting some loaves in relatively moist conditions, some in drier and one (as one of the recipes instructs) buried under ashes. Most are wrapped in fig leaves; one is not.