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Propagating Wild Yeast for Reenactments


Today, if you asked 50 people about how to start a wild yeast culture for making sourdough bread, it’s likely you’ll get 100 different answers, but in reality, all it takes is a little bit of flour, some water and…

Which Yeast (Time 0_00_55;12)

September 29, 2017


Akara Recipe


Akara is a simple, easy to make snack that was frequently made in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Dried Black-eyed Peas Onions Parsley flour Boiling water Lard First, pulverize the dried black-eyed peas into very small pieces. Add to…

akara-time-0_00_0921


A Fanciful Yet Easy Asparagus Soup


This delicious Asparagus Soup recipe from Elizabeth Cleland’s A new and easy methods of cookery (1755). Many of this recipe's techniques, including roux, food coloring, bone broth, and court-bouillon (the ingredients boiled in the soup that are removed before eating)…

Asp6

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September 28, 2017


Rye and Indian Bread


This is called Rye and Indian bread, because it’s made of part rye flour and part Indian meal or sometimes we call it cornmeal. You can use just those two grains to make the flour, or you can add wheat…

rye-and-indian-bread-time-0_08_1818


Simple Boiled Plum Pudding


Many people hear the word pudding today and they think about some little custardy stuff in a cup or something you buy at the grocery store in a box and mix it up with some milk. Pudding has a much…

Plum Pudding (Time 0_11_05;10)


An Onion Soup Recipe from 1801


This recipe for onion soup is out of John Mollard’s 1801 cookbook, “The Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined”. 4 oz. Butter 4 tbsps. Flour 8 midsized Onions of choice Salt 3 qts. Beef Stock 4 Egg Yolks 1…

onion-soup-time-0_00_4313


A White Pot Recipe


A White Pot with Raisins and Dates Serves 1 - 6 (depending on how polite you are) The name “White Pot” originates from the Devon region of England. But this sweet, buttery custard bread pudding, layered with sweetmeats (dried fruits)…

Also Known as a White Pudding


Master Wood Turner Erv Tschanz


In this special video, master wood turner Erv Tschanz shares his passion for the craft. Erv is one of several skilled artisans that sells handcrafted items through Jas. Townsend & Son. The treenware cherry wood plate being made in this…

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September 13, 2017


Weaver/Trapper Interview: Experiencing History Through Reenacting


We've been busy interviewing fellow reenactors for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging viewers who are interested in getting involved in historical reenacting but don't know how to begin. Today we interview Tony Baker, a weaver by trade, who has…

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Starting a Living History Group from Scratch


It took an idea and a group of friends, and it went from there. Albert Roberts tells the story of how the innovative historical interpretive group "The HMS Acasta" was born. http://ift.tt/2wQkO31 More great information! ***************************** Our Retail Website -…

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Page 1 of 69

Breakfast In The 18th Century!

A simple, delicious recipe from The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse!

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The Crumpet Controversy

Sometimes while doing research for 18th Century Cooking we run into a recipe that is a little confusing and sometimes controversial. Kevin joins Jon in the kitchen today to make a Crumpet recipe from 1769. This recipe could easily be mistaken for other “biscuit” dishes, but we assure you, this is a Crumpet. A very delicious Crumpet!

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Making Bread From Barm At Genesee Country Village

We have an unusual episode today featuring three very special guests! The talented folks at Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, demonstrate for us the early 19th-century process of making bread using barm, or yeast, from the local brewery. GCV&M is a premiere historic site that we can’t recommend enough. Historical interpreters Peggy Roll and Brian Nagel clearly demonstrate the important relationship between baker and brewer. In addition, interpreter Pat Mead provides excellent historical insight into the importance this western region of New York played in early wheat production. Enjoy!

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Delicious Rye & Indian Bread At Conner Prairie

We are preparing today’s recipe at Conner Prairie, a premiere historic site located in Fisher’s Indiana. Today Ms. Barker joins us to prepare a loaf of “Rye and Indian Bread” baked in a earthen oven. This is a delicious bread recipe that we highly recommend! Be sure to visit Conner Prairie’s website!

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Dutch Oven Baking: Getting To Know The Utensil

This is the first video in a short series on baking in a “Bake Kettle” or Dutch Oven. Today we experiment with getting this utensil to the correct temperature for baking. We finish the video off by baking a loaf of bread. The Dutch oven was perfectly suited for use on the frontier. One can fry in it, make stews and soups with it, as well as bake in it. While the first two cooking methods are fairly easy, baking with a Dutch oven can be a little intimidating. With a few hints and a little experimentation and practice, baking in this 18th-century pot can be easy and rewarding.

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A “Must-Try” Recipe: 18th Century Bread Pudding


We’ve tried many recipes from various 18th century cookbooks, but every now and again one rises above the rest. Today’s featured dish is one of these exceptional recipes. It’s found in Amelia Simmons’ 1796 cookbook, “American Cookery.”

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Bread Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce

We continue our holiday meal series with recipes from Amelia Simmons 1796 collection, “American Cookery.” In this episode, we followup our roasted turkey with a savory stuffing recipe (out-of-the-bird), as well as a wonderfully easy and delicious cranberry jelly. As an added bonus, we’ll show you just how easy it is to use the cranberry jelly to make an incredible cranberry tart.

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Baking Bread in the Earthen Oven Part 2


Baking Bread in the Earthen Oven Part 2 – 18th Century Cooking Series
This is the second part of the earthen oven series part of our 18th century cooking series of videos from Jas.

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No-Knead French Bread

No-Knead French Bread

There is a bread baking technique that has been floating around the internet since about 2007, but it’s not a new idea, it’s been around for hundreds of years. A very simple dough with high moisture content that is baked in a Dutch oven. It’s called No-knead bread and, because of its simplicity and its great flavor, is a very innovative technique compared to modern bread baking methods. This no-knead bread is an 18th century French bread, though it is nothing like modern French breads which are known for being a firm white bread with an open crumb structure and a crispy crust. French breads in 18th century cookbooks are always made with milk and sometimes eggs and butter, had its crust either rasped away or chipped off with a knife, and was commonly used as an ingredient in other dishes such as porridges, soups, and even other breads.

No-Knead Bread (Time 0_02_35;18)

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • Barm or barm substitute:
    • ½ cup water
    • 1 heaping tbsp. Flour
    • ¼ – ½ tsp. Instant Yeast
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 2 tbsps. Melted Butter

In a large bowl, put 3 cups of flour, bread flour or all-purpose flour will do, and about 1½ teaspoons of salt.

The original recipe calls for barm and since nobody has barm, which is the foam from the top of beer, instead we’re going to make a substitute barm. In a separate container, let’s start with a half a cup of water. To that, add a heaping tablespoon of flour and a half a teaspoon of instant yeast, then we can stir this all together and let it rest.

Now for the rest of the wet ingredients, take just one egg white and add that to ¾ of a cup of milk and whisk together.

No-Knead Bread (Time 0_03_48;08)

Now take 2 tablespoons of melted butter and put that in with the 2 egg yolks and whisk those together.

Now let’s add all the wet ingredients together including the barm mixture, then mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.

Copy of No-Knead Bread Collage 2

 

As soon as the dough is formed and all the flour is absorbed, it’s time to stop mixing because they call for this dough not to be kneaded. It makes a very wet and sticky dough, a very light paste.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it aside 12-24 hours. You could divide this dough up and put it into smaller, well-floured bowls to make rolls as well.

Once it has a nice spongy texture to it, it’s time to preheat your Dutch oven. Don’t skimp on preheating this or your bread won’t turn out right. Once it is preheated, sprinkle some cornmeal into the bottom to keep it from sticking. If your Dutch oven is preheated correctly you should see the cornmeal brown up just a hair. If you’re going to bake this in your home oven, you’re going to want to set your oven to 450 degrees.

Turn your dough out onto a liberally floured surface. Now your dough may be very sticky, but that’s okay. It’ll help to flour your hands so that it doesn’t stick. Pat down the dough a little bit, then fold it a third of the way then fold the other side over on top of that, turn it and fold it over again the same way so that you folded it four times then place it in the Dutch oven.

Copy of No-Knead Bread Collage

You want to keep a close eye on this while it’s cooking. It’s going to take 25-30 minutes. You want it to be a nice deep golden brown without burning on the bottom.

No-Knead Bread (Time 0_00_35;10)

You want to make sure that your bread is completely cooled before you rasp or chip off the outer crust. The crust and also the French bread as it is, is used in many 18th century recipes.

Transcript of Video:

There’s been a very interesting bread baking technique that’s been floating around the internet since about 2007. It’s called No-knead bread. It uses a very simple dough, a high moisture content and it’s baked in a Dutch oven. I would encourage you to watch the video sometime, it’s very worthwhile. No-knead bread, because of its simplicity and its great flavor, is a very innovative technique compared to modern bread baking methods, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, now this is not a new idea. In fact, no-knead breads have been around for hundreds of years. Today I’m going to show you how to do an 18th century version of no-knead bread. We’re going to bake it in an 18th century manner. We’re going to use that old Dutch oven that so many modern bakers are falling in love with.

There are many different kinds of breads in the 18th century. Some of them were baked from very fine white flour, others made from very course flour, still others were made with wheat flour mixed with other grains, but today we’re going to focus on a bread known by the 18th century British and North American colonists as French bread. Now when I say French bread, what one might think is a baguette, a batard, or a brioche. Most people think of a French bread as a firm white bread with an open crumb structure and a crispy crust. Numerous 18th century English cookbooks contain recipes for French bread, but this French bread is nothing like the modern French bread. Modern breads made with just flour, water, yeast and some salt. No, these French breads in these 18th century cookbooks are always made with milk and sometimes eggs and butter. This English version of French bread was made into loaves or into rolls. The rolls were sometimes referred to as machete bread which can mean the quality of a bread or sometimes its size and shape. This French bread had its crust either rasped away or chipped off with a knife. 18th century French bread was commonly used as an ingredient in other dishes. The bread crust was often used in porridges, soups, even in other breads. Let’s make some of this French bread.

In a large bowl, let’s put 3 cups of flour, bread flour or all-purpose flour will do, and about 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. That’s it for the dry ingredients. Let’s do the wet ingredients. The original recipe calls for barm and since nobody has barm, which is the foam from the top of beer, instead we’re going to make a substitute barm. Let’s start with a half a cup of water. To that I’m going to add a heaping tablespoon of flour and then we need some yeast.  We’re going to use instant yeast. You need about a quarter of a teaspoon to a half a teaspoon and then we can stir this all together.

Now for the rest of the wet ingredients. I’m going to take just one egg white. Let me crack this egg, and we’re going to add that to ¾ of a cup of milk and whisk that together.

Now I’ve got here 2 tablespoons of melted butter and I’m going to put that in with 2 egg yolks and we’re going to whisk those together. Now let’s add this all together and we can put in our barm mixture too, and that’s it for our wet ingredients. Now we’ll mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and I’ll mix them with these.

As soon as the dough is formed and all the flour is absorbed, it’s time to stop mixing. Now one of the interesting things about the 18th century recipes is that they call for this dough not to be kneaded. It makes a very wet and sticky dough. They call it in the recipe a very light paste. We’ll cover this with a damp cloth and set it aside 12-24 hours. We could divide this dough up and put it into smaller, well-floured bowls to make rolls.

Now we’ve prepared this batch ahead of time and it’s been rising about 18 hours so it’s got a very nice spongy texture, so it looks like it’s time to start preheating our Dutch oven.

We’re going to be baking our bread in a Dutch oven today. Baking bread in Dutch ovens is very common in the 18th century although our recipes don’t call for that specifically. We have this oven over the fire and it’s warmed up. Don’t skimp on preheating this. You want it to be nice and hot when you get started. I’m going to go ahead and sprinkle some cornmeal into the bottom of that. This’ll keep the loaf from sticking. Just a very thin layer here looks good, and it should brown up just a hair so you can see that the oven is getting the right temperature.

Now it’s time to look at our dough. Now I’m going to turn this out onto a liberally floured surface. Now your dough may be a lot stickier than this, but that’s okay, but it’ll help to flour your hands so that it doesn’t stick, and now let’s pat this down a little bit, let’s fold it once, let’s fold it twice, three times, and one last time. Four times we’re going to fold this and now let’s put it in our Dutch oven. You want to keep a close eye on this while it’s cooking. It’s going to take 25-30 minutes. You want it to be a nice deep golden brown without burning on the bottom.

If you’re going to bake this in your home oven, you’re going to want to set your oven to 450 degrees. There, that looks perfect. I’m going to take it off. And there it is, an 18th century enriched no-knead bread. Something that they called, in the time period, French bread. We want to make sure that our bread is completely cooled before we rasp or chip off the outer crust. The crust and also the French bread as it is, is used in many 18th century recipes.

I invite you to subscribe to our new blog, SavoringThePast.net. On there you’ll find recipes and discoveries about 18th century cooking. Also, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can get notification of all the new videos as soon as they come out and of course follow us on Facebook so you can find out all the great news from Jas. Townsend and Son. Jas. Townsend and Son carries hundreds of quality 18th and 19th century reproduction clothing items and personal accessories, including a great line of cooking vessels and utensils. All these can be found on our website or in our print catalog. Thanks for watching and I invite you to come along and join us as we savor the aromas and flavors of the 18th century.

Making Leaven

Making Leaven

Leaven or Sourdough Starter is very easy to make. First you make a very simple bread.

  • 4 cups unbleached Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 packet Instant Yeast
  • 1 ½ cups warm water

Mix together your bread flour, salt, and yeast. You could mix up some barm for a more authentic flavor for your bread, but it will not change anything about your leaven so it is ok to use the instant yeast. It’ll end up being exactly the same in the end.

Making Leaven (Time 0_06_57;25)

Make a pool in the middle with your water, mix and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead until it’s nice and soft. Once the dough is ready to set and rise it is time to extract a piece to use for next time you bake bread. Separate about a handful of dough away from the main ball, about the size of a tennis ball.

Making Leaven (Time 0_07_15;19)

Take the rest of your dough, reform it and place in a bowl to rise for an hour or two.

The ball of dough that you have separated out has become your starter. If you’re going to use this dough tomorrow or the day after, you can take this ball and put it into a little pile of flour and save that for later on, but if you aren’t going to bake for 7-10 days, you need a way to preserve this for later use. To preserve this properly, you need to have a full salt canister to put it in.

Making Leaven (Time 0_08_07;28)

Punch a hole in the middle of your dough to fill with salt then place the dough in a cavity in the salt canister and cover completely with salt. This will completely dry out and become a little hard lump when it comes out in a week to ten days when you need to use it again.

Making Leaven (Time 0_08_25;29)

Keep an eye out for our next blog where we show you how to wake up your starter and use it to bake some bread.

Transcript of Video:

As we continue our series on 18th century breads, we feel we’ve only just begun to discover that complex role bread plays in history. Today we’ll take a closer look at leaven in the 18th century, how to preserve it and then how to use it.

First, we need to make a distinction between the word leavening and the word leaven. The word leavening is a generic term meaning anything that you add to dough that creates a lighter and fluffier loaf when you’re finished. Leavening can be mechanical. We can whip air into egg whites, creating a meringue that we fold into batter to make a lighter bread. We could also use a chemical agent such as pearl ash or saleratus similar to the modern baking soda and baking powder. These create a chemical reaction. Carbon dioxide bubbles are formed and this creates a quick bread, a lighter and fluffier sort of bread. Then there’s yeast, which is a biological agent. The word leaven, at least in the 18th century, means a lump of old dough.

We know from archeological evidence that yeast has been used for thousands of years for brewing beer and for baking bread. By the mid 1700’s, two strains of yeast had been domesticated, ale yeast used for brewing beer and for baking bread and lager yeasts which the Germans had developed for brewing beer at cooler temperatures for longer periods of time.

By the late 18th century, ale yeast had been further refined by the Dutch for commercial sale, specifically to bakers. Now while modern commercial baking yeasts have been cultivated into various strains, they still remain the same species of ale yeast.

Now there’s a third species of yeast we have yet to mention. That’s wild yeast. Wild yeast exists everywhere. It exists in the air, on your skin, even on the grains of wheat themselves.

Many 18th century bread recipes call for the use of barm, which is that soupy yeast mixture that’s skimmed off the top of a fresh batch of ale. In our mixed bread episode, we showed you how to make a modern equivalent to barm. For the British palate, barm was the preferred form of yeast. They like this lighter sweeter bread. In fact there were laws passed that prevented professional bakers from recycling or reusing they’re yeast, this old dough, which resulted in a much sharper flavor. In contrast to the British, up until 1670, the French outlawed the use of barm yeast in making bread in favor of the much more flavorful and acidic old dough or leaven method.

We talked about our generic term of leavening and the term leaven which means old dough. After our initial batch of bread dough is yeasted, we save back a piece of this dough for our next batch, whether it’s the next day or the next week, and as this process continues, each time we make the dough, we save some back for the next batch, it turns into what we call sourdough, but I’ll explain that more in a minute.

Now, there were many reasons to use this old dough or leaven. The first one was flavor. It gave a much more rich and sharper flavor to the bread, but there were other reasons also. Not only in France, but in Great Britain and America, because of the importance of ale in the 18th century diet, virtually everyone had access to ale yeast or barm, but there were circumstances when the supplies were very limited. Take for instance, William Ellis who wrote the 1750 book Country Housewife Family Companion, and in it he mentions a shortage of yeast during the great frost of 1740. This year marked the coldest period during what is now known as the little ice age. Yeast was very scarce during that time in Europe because of the extended period of frigid temperatures that prevented it from being cultivated.

When barm was in short supply, leaven was used to replace it, but there was another reason to use leaven and that was to preserve yeast from one session to the next. Frequent use of a wood fired oven was impractical and inefficient for the home baker so there needed to be a way to preserve yeast from one baking session to the next.

Now we have to remember that in the 18th century, no one fully understood yeast, what it was and how it worked, any of these things. It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that yeast was proven to be a living organism. Now the difference in taste between bread made with barm and that made with leaven has a lot more to do with bacteria than it does with the yeast that’s involved. Bacteria lives along with yeast inside of every ball of dough. It converts sugars that are in the dough into lactic acid, so if you let your dough ferment long enough, it doesn’t matter whether you start with a wild yeast culture or a barm, your dough will begin to sour. It’ll begin to take on those characteristics of sourdough bread and so your dough may not taste exactly the same as some regionally famous sourdough breads, it will be a sourdough bread nonetheless.

For the first part of our demonstration today we’re going to make a very simple bread dough. I’ve got four cups of simple bread flour here, unbleached, and I’m going to add to that just a teaspoon of kosher salt, and now I’ve got some yeast. I could mix up barm, but since this isn’t really the main part of what we’re doing here, this is just a start, we’re going to use dry instant yeast. It’ll end up being exactly the same in the end so that’s what we’re going to use here. So we’re going to use a packet of instant yeast.

And now we’re going to add to that about a cup and a half of warm water, make a pool here.

This should make just about the right consistency.

Now we’ve got this mixed, let’s turn this dough out onto a floured surface here and we’ll get that mixed up, and we’ll knead this until its ready, until it’s nice and soft.

Okay, this dough is ready to let it set and rise, but now’s the time, I’m going to extract a piece of dough to use for the next time I’m going to bake bread, so here we go, here’s a piece of dough, we’re going to save this for later. And we’re going to take this, reform it up into our shape, let’s put it in the dough bowl and let it set for baking. We’ll let this set an hour or two and then we’ll bake it in our oven.

Now here’s our dough that we’ve taken off for the next baking. If we’re going to use this dough tomorrow or if we’re going to use it maybe the day after, we can just take this ball and put it into a little pile of flour and save that for later on, but if we aren’t going to bake for 7 days or 10 days, we need a way to preserve this for later use, so what we can do is we can store that in some salt. To preserve this properly, what we’re going to do is we’re going to punch a hole in our dough, we’re going to take that and fill the hole with salt so that it’s got salt in the middle of it and once this is salted we’re going to make a little cavity in our salt canister and we’re going to pour salt right on top and fill that up so it’s covered up with salt and this’ll dry out. It’ll be a little hard lump when it comes out of here in a week or 10 days.

In our next episode we’re going to take this preserved dough ball and we’re going to wake it back up and we’re going to use it to bake some bread. We’re also going to start a wild yeast culture.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and check out our Facebook page for all the news at Jas. Townsend and Son. All of the items you’ve seen here today, all the cooking implements, all the clothing, these things are available on our website or in our print catalog and I want to thank you for joining us today and I want to invite you to join us as we savor the aromas and flavors of the 18th century.

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