Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken (Time 0_05_46;03)
We usually think of fried chicken traditionally as an American dish, but today I’m going to share with you an old English recipe from a little recipe book by Nathan Bailey called “Dictionarium Domesticum” written in 1736 that I think will change the way you make fried chicken. It’s set up like a dictionary so it’s in alphabetical order and you’ll find this recipe under marinade.Fried Chicken

  • Whole Chicken Quartered
  • Oil for frying
  • Parsley Sprigs

Marinade

  • 2 Large Lemons
  • Equal amount Distilled Vinegar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Cloves
  • ½ cup Green Onions or Shallots

Batter

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose Flour
  • White Wine like Rhine Wine
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp. Salt

 

Fried Chicken (Time 0_02_52;09)
Now this recipe is actually pretty simple. It starts off with a very basic marinade of lemon juice and verjuice or vinegar. Verjuice is actually a very common ingredient you’ll find in early 18th century recipes. It comes from the juice of unripe unfermented grapes, and while it’s very sour, actually has a very mild flavor. If you’re going to use vinegar, what would have been typical in an 18th century English setting would be malt vinegar, but the time period, it was called wine vinegar. If you can’t find malt vinegar or you are looking for a milder flavor you can use cider vinegar or even distilled vinegar.

We are going to use the juice of two large lemons and an equal amount of distilled vinegar. To that, I am going to add two bay leaves, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of black pepper, and a quarter of a teaspoon of cloves. The last ingredient is something called chaebols and we had to look that one up. We found out that it is a spring onion or as we would call it, green onions and we are going to use a half a cup. You could substitute this with shallots as they were also very common in the 18th century and it would probably make a very interesting flavor addition.

The recipe calls for quartering your chicken. I’ve actually cut it up into individual pieces so that it’ll go a little farther. The recipe suggests marinating this chicken for 3 hours and you should probably stick to that. Some of the more powerful ingredients, like the malt vinegar, can really enhance the flavor too much if you marinate for too long.

Fried Chicken (Time 0_04_45;17)
Once you come to the 3 hour mark, it’s time to work on the batter portion. Like our marinade, the batter is also very easy to make. I’m using about a cup and a half of flour, just regular all-purpose flour will work fine. Add enough white wine, like Rhine wine would be good, to make this into a thin pancake batter. If you don’t want to use wine, you could use cider instead or maybe just water. Finally, add the yolks of 3 eggs and a teaspoon of salt. You can top this off with a little more wine if needed to get the right batter consistency.

There was no suggestion of the particular kind of oil to fry in. In the 18th century, they would most likely have used lard or even a clarified butter. You can use the modern oil of your choice. Be very careful If you are deep frying over an open fire. You want to heat your oil to about 350 degrees. You should see a little shimmer on the top, but definitely not smoking.

We’re going to fry this in batches of 3 or 4, maybe 5 pieces, depending on the size of your pot. I’m not sure exactly how long you want to cook it, but you want to get to the point where the color is a nice light mahogany brown.

Fried Chicken (Time 0_05_03;26)
Now before we serve this, there’s just one more component that we need to do, fried parsley. Now you may think that’s strange, but trust me, you’ll love it. Before you fry your parsley, make sure it is very, very dry. Blot it as much as possible, or the results can be disastrous. Fry it in small batches for several minutes until it gets nice and crispy. We’ll crumble this over the chicken as a tasty garnish.

Fried Chicken (Time 0_06_00;03)
18th century fried chicken flavors are definitely a little different than what you’re used to. That marinade does something really special. You get a little bit of that lemon flavor coming through just a little bit with a hint of that wonderful flavor and the crispiness and the fried parsley is really interesting. I really love this recipe. If you give this one a try, I really hope you go down in the comments section and tell us how it works out. I love this one and I think everyone should try it.

Transcript of Video:

We usually think of fried chicken as well, traditionally an American dish, but today I’m going to share with you an old English recipe from 1736 that I think will change the way you make fried chicken. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

The recipe today comes from the little recipe book by Nathan Bailey called “Dictionarium Domesticum” from 1736 and it’s an odd little cookbook. It’s set up like a dictionary so it’s in alphabetical order and this recipe you’ll find under marinade. So that’s where we need to start with this recipe, with the marinade. Now this one’s actually pretty simple. It starts off with the liquid portion which is lemon juice and verjuice or vinegar. Verjuice is actually a very common ingredient you’ll find in early 18th century recipes. It comes from the juice of unripe grapes, unfermented, and while it’s very sour, it actually has a very mild flavor. If you’re going to use vinegar, the vinegar that would have been typical in an 18th century, especially English, setting would be malt vinegar. In the time period, they called it wine vinegar, but it’s actually malt vinegar today. If you can’t find that or you want to use something that doesn’t quite have that kind of a flavor, then you can use cider vinegar or even distilled vinegar. Lemons were available as well, depending on your location and your social position and interestingly enough, lemon zest or lemon peel was the second most common type of spice you’ll find in many of the 18th century cookbooks, so very common. In this case I’m opting for the juice of two large lemons and an equal amount of distilled vinegar. The recipe suggests salt, pepper, cloves and bay leaf, but no real amounts here, except for the number of bay leaves, two bay leaves, so we’re guessing maybe a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of black pepper, and a quarter of a teaspoon of cloves, and the last ingredient is something called chaebols and we had to look that one up. That’s a spring onions or as we would call it, green onions. I’ve got about a half a cup. Shallots are something that you could substitute in in this place as shallots were very common in the 18th century and it would probably make a very interesting flavor addition.

The recipe calls for quartering your chicken. I’ve actually cut it up into individual pieces so that it’ll go a little farther. The recipe suggests marinating this chicken for 3 hours and you should probably stick to that. If you used some of the more powerful, like the malt vinegar, it can really enhance the flavor too much so 3 hours is a good time.

We’re coming up on our 3 hour mark and it’s time to work on the batter portion and this is a little bit different than what I’m used to. Like our marinade, the batter is also very easy to make. I’m using about a cup and a half of flour, just regular all-purpose flour will work fine and enough white wine, like a Rhine wine, would be good, adding enough to make this into a thin pancake batter, and finally I’m going to add the yolks of 3 eggs. You can top this off with a little more wine if you need to to get to the right batter consistency, and finally a teaspoon of salt will finish this off and mix it so that it’s nice and even. If you don’t want to use wine, you could use cider instead or maybe just water. There was no suggestion of the particular kind of oil to fry it in. In the 18th century, they would have used lard probably or even a clarified butter. You can use the modern oil of your choice. We are deep frying with oil right over an open fire. Obviously you have to be very careful when you’re doing it like this. You want to heat your oil to about 350 degrees. You should see a little shimmer in the top, definitely not smoking.

We’re going to fry this in batches of 3 or 4 pieces, maybe 5 pieces. Really it depends on the size of your pot, and I’m not sure exactly how long you want to cook it, but you want to get to the point where the color is a nice light mahogany brown.

Now before we serve this, there’s just one more component that we need to do, fried parsley. Now you may think that’s strange, but trust me, you’ll love it. Before you fry this parsley, make sure it is very, very dry. Completely dry, blot it as much as possible, or the results can be disastrous. Fry it in small batches for several minutes until it gets nice and crispy. We’ll crumble this over the chicken as a tasty garnish.

Well, there it is. It looks wonderful, let’s find out just how it tastes.

Wow, 18th century fried chicken, and the flavors are definitely a little different than what you’re used to. That marinade does something really special. You get a little bit of that lemon flavor comes through just a little bit, a hint of that wonderful flavor and the crispiness, the fried parsley is really interesting. Mmm, I really love this recipe. This one is great! Who would have thought 18th century fried chicken? It’s great. If you give this one a try, I really hope you go down in the comments section and tell us how it works out. I love this one and I think everyone should try it. I want to thank you for coming along as we experiment. We try these really interesting things out, this food from history. I want to thank you for joining me as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

If you’re new to our channel, I want to welcome you. You can subscribe by clicking the button right up here, also check out our related videos. Thanks so much for watching.

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Quaking Pudding

Quaking Pudding (Time 0_09_16;27)

Quaking pudding is much more like the modern day pudding idea that we have in our heads. . It is definitely different than the plum pudding. The ratios are much different, a lot less flour and a lot more liquid parts.

  • ½ cup Flour
  • 2 tbsps. Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Mace
  • 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ¼ – ½ of a Nutmeg grated
  • 1 cup Slivered Almonds split
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • ButterQuaking Pudding (Time 0_06_38;00)

First, go ahead and get your pot of water boiling; however for this pudding you will not be putting your cloth into the water. We will take care of the cloth later once the pudding is ready for it.

Quaking Pudding (Time 0_05_06;05)
So, let’s put together this pudding. We’re going to put together our dry ingredients first and then our wet ingredients. The measurements don’t have to be precise for this recipe to work. Add together about a half a cup of flour, about 2 tablespoons of sugar, a half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon full of mace, the same amount of ground ginger, a quarter to a half of a nutmeg grated up, and for our last dry ingredient some slivered almonds. Before adding the almonds, take about a ½ cup of them and mash them up really good, then add those into the dry ingredients. We will use the rest of the almonds later. Mix up the dry ingredients well.

Now we need a cup of heavy cream and four eggs. We actually want two whole eggs and just the yolks of the other two and then we’re going to whisk these together, so there are eggs in our cream. You want to get these whisked really well.

Now that we’ve got these all mixed, put our wet and dry ingredients together.

Quaking Pudding (Time 0_06_14;20)
Once these are well mixed, we can now get our pudding cloth ready. So, for this pudding, we didn’t want to put the cloth in the boiling water. We need to seal the cloth a little tighter for this pudding so we are going to butter it first and then flour it. Rub the butter into the cloth well so the pudding doesn’t just strain out of the cloth. Once it’s buttered, we can just put our flour on just like before, then place it in a bowl and pour the pudding mix in.

Quaking Pudding (Time 0_07_07;20)When you tie the ends for this pudding, you want to make sure to give it a bit of room to grow. When your water is boiling, carefully place your pudding into the pot. It will take about a half hour to cook.

Quaking Pudding (Time 0_07_27;16)While the quaking pudding is cooking, we’re going to make a quick sauce with some butter and sugar. In a small saucepan or pipkin, on gentle heat, mix together equal parts butter and sugar until fully melted.

Quaking Pudding (Time 0_09_16;27)When removing your quaking pudding, you have to be gentler with it. Use the remaining slivered almonds to dress up the top and the pour the sauce on before serving. This is a very delectable dish. It is more custardy than the other puddings that we have been making. With all that butter and sugar on top and the almonds, it looks beautiful and it tastes good. You’ve got no excuse. You really must try one of these wonderful boiled puddings.

Transcript of Video:

So in last week’s episode, we covered a simple boiled plum pudding, which consisted of equal parts flour, milk, eggs, butter, and the plums or raisins in that case, but I thought we would look at the boiled puddings and explore this idea a little bit farther. I think there’s a lot more to learn.

So here’s a little piece that I ran into while I was doing research. It’s from a 1780 gentleman’s monthly intelligence. It was a section on diet. It says, “There is at this time residing in Essex a person famed for his mode of living. Being formally reduced to a state of general weakness from free and luxurious living, he took up a resolution of dieting himself thus, he has a pound of flour and a pint of cold water mixed and then tied up in a cloth and boiled and on this food he’s lived entirely for many years. Though he is old, he is hardy, strong, vigorous and active.”

I thought that was very interesting, somebody living on nothing but flour, a flour pudding, boiled, and then I was thinking about soldiers living on nothing but their meat and a simple flour ration.

Also, many period recipes cover putting apples inside of a pudding and boiling that. Those two ideas, I thought we’d put together and make a simple soldier style pudding. Nothing but flour, an apple off of a tree and wrapped in a little bit of scrap cloth. Just what a soldier might be able to make.

So let’s make up a very simple, nothing but flour and water  paste. We’re just going to take about two handfuls of flour and we’re going to add in some nice cool water and then mix that up. We kind of want it to be not very stiff kind of a paste here. Okay, so not too stiff. We want to be able to form it around it without it fighting.

Once that’s ready, we need to take our apple and I’ve already quartered this. We’re going to take out the seeds and the stem.

Let’s take our quartered apple and put it back together into an apple shape and then take our paste, which has thickened up a little bit as I was working on it, and we’re just going to wrap it around that apple so it’s all about a quarter of an inch thick. It grows as it cooks so it doesn’t need to be terribly thick.

And there we can see, now we can put this inside of our floured cloth.

There we are.

And let’s flour this up.

And now it’s time to wrap it up in the cloth. We’re just going to set it in the center and gather it up, and you definitely want to give it a little bit of room so that it can grow while it’s cooking. Not too tight. Let’s go toss it in.

Let’s make sure our water is boiling and it should take about an hour for this apple pudding. While this is cooking, we’re going to cover a quaking pudding. Those don’t take very long to cook either.

So, quaking pudding is much more like that modern day pudding idea that we have in our heads. Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

So, let’s put together this pudding. We’re going to put together our dry ingredients first and then our wet ingredients. We’re going to need about a half a cup of flour. Now we don’t have to be precise. This is definitely different than the plum pudding. The ratios are much different, a lot less flour and a lot more liquid parts. About a half a cup of flour, now let’s put in, we need about 2 tablespoons of sugar, we’ve got this pretty much all ground up.

There we are.

We need some salt, maybe a half a teaspoon of salt. We’re definitely going to need some of those same kind of spices. We’ve got some mace here, a teaspoon full. We’ve got some ground ginger, same amount. So, you’ll need a quarter to a half of a nutmeg grated up. For our last dry ingredient I have some almonds here. I’ve got maybe a half a cup of slivered almonds here. We’re going to mash these up.

Once these are good and mashed up, we can add these to our dry ingredients, the rest of them here. There we are.

Now we need a cup of heavy cream and four eggs. We actually want two whole eggs and just the yolks of the other two and then we’re going to whisk these together, so there are eggs in our cream. You want to get these whisked really well.

Now that we’ve got these all mixed, put our wet and dry ingredients together.

There we are.

Once these are well mixed, we need to get our pudding cloth ready. Okay, now we’ve got our cloth but instead of putting it in the boiling water and then flouring it, this one we want to seal a little tighter, so we’re going to butter it first and then flour it. Get it to seal all the way into our fabric there. Now once it’s buttered, we can just put our flour on just like before.

Now we can take our buttered and floured cloth and put it in the bowl and pour our pudding mix in.

There we are, and tie it up.

This is another pudding that you want to give a little bit of room to grow. And there we go, and it’s ready to go in. Let’s make sure that water’s boiling.

Okay, this quaking pudding should take about a half hour to cook.

Now that that quaking pudding is cooking, we’re going to make a quick sauce with some butter and some sugar.

When you use these pipkins, you want to make sure that you don’t put them on direct heat with flames. You want to use them only on coals. You want to make sure that you always have something in them or else they get too hot and they’ll crack and use them gently with gentle heat.

It’s been about a half hour for the quaking pudding and about an hour for the apple one, so both of those should be ready to come out.

Let’s cut open this apple pudding or apple dumpling.

And there is our pudding. Let’s slice it and see how it turned out.

Look at that.

You’d be amazed with nothing but a little bit of flour and one apple what you can turn out. It is really good.

So I haven’t found much about soldiers doing boiled puddings yet, but there is a piece in Joseph Plum Martin’s book about soldiers coming and stealing a woman’s food, including her pudding, bag and all.

Now for our quaking pudding. This one’s a little bit more, you have to be more gentle with it. Now let’s dress this up with a few slivered almonds and then put sauce on top.

Wow, that’s delectable. You’ll love this wonderful quaking pudding. A lot more custardy than the other one. It’s not nearly as bready and that butter and sugar on top with the almonds, it looks beautiful and it tastes good.

You’ve got no excuse. You really must try one of these wonderful boiled puddings. Hey, all the things you’ve seen here today, all the cooking equipment, all the clothing, all these things are available on our website, they’re available in our print catalog and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook.

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Payn Perdu (French Toast)

Pain Perdu (Time 0_05_30;26)
Who doesn’t like a nice big plate of French toast? Nice firm bread soaked in eggs with milk, maybe garnished with a little bit of fresh fruit, some cinnamon and slathered over the top with maple syrup. Have you ever wondered where this dish came from? What genius mind created it and who throughout history savored this delectable dish?

Pain Perdu (Time 0_01_20;19)
The earliest recipe for French toast can be found in the Apicius. It’s a 4th and 5th century collection of Roman recipes. The dish is simply titled A Sweet Treat and the translation reads thus, “Break a slice of fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces, soak in milk and beat in eggs, fry in oil, cover in honey, and serve.”

Bread was extremely important to survival in the 18th century, but what does one do when the bread goes stale? In an old English cookbook from about 1430, we find a recipe for bread that’s sliced, dipped in eggs, fried in butter and then sprinkled with a little bit of sugar. The name of this recipe was payn perdu, a French word that means lost bread or wasted bread, suggesting that this recipe was meant to use up stale bread.

Pain Perdu (Time 0_02_09;22)Karen Hess who transcribed Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery has this to about the recipe, “The English early took to payn perdu and made it their own. It was rarely omitted from a cookbook, usually listed under made dishes. Made dishes are any dish that amuses the cook or shows off her skill.”

Let’s make French toast or payn perdu in a true 18th century fashion.

French Toast

  • Any firm bread made stale
  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 1 cup Cream
  • ¼ cup Sac
  • 2 tbsps. Sugar
  • Nutmeg
  • Butter

Sauce

  • 4 tbsps. Butter
  • 2 tbsps. Sac
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar

You can use any nice enriched bread. The no knead French bread like we made in a previous episode would be perfect. If you want to use a modern bread, you can use a challah bread or a brioche. Any firm bread will do.

Cut the crust off and let it set out overnight, so we start off with stale bread. Pain Perdu (Time 0_03_21;19)
In a bowl, take about 8 egg yolks; add about a cup of cream, about a quarter of a cup of sac, and two tablespoons of sugar. Finally, scrape in a little bit of nutmeg and whisk this all together.

Pain Perdu (Time 0_03_35;05)
Now let’s take our individual bread pieces and put them in the batter and let them set for maybe 15 minutes or up to an hour to get them a real good chance to soak in. It really depends on how stale your bread is. While the bread is soaking, you can go ahead and start on the sauce, because we want to have the sauce ready to put on it as soon as they’re cooked.

Pain Perdu (Time 0_04_26;08)We’re going to start off with about four tablespoons of butter and then once that’s melted, add in about two tablespoons of sac, and a tablespoon of sugar. Now you want to whisk this all together and set aside where it will stay warm, but won’t cook.

Pain Perdu (Time 0_04_56;19) Once the toast has finished soaking, melt the butter in your frying pan and put in the toast. If your bread’s really stale, sometimes it can be very fragile so you might have to be careful as you put it in the pan. Cook them until they are golden brown on both sides, flipping once halfway through cooking.

Pain Perdu (Time 0_05_18;03)
This topping’s a little different from what you and I might expect or what we’re used to, but it’s taste is right out of the 18th century cookbooks. Maple syrup is a perfect North American variation on the same theme to replace the sugar.

Transcription of Video:

Mmm. Who doesn’t like a nice big plate of French toast? Nice firm bread soaked in eggs with milk, maybe garnished with a little bit of fresh fruit, some cinnamon and slathered over the top with maple syrup. Have you ever wondered where this dish came from? What genius mind created it and who throughout history savored this delectable dish? Well that’s what we’re going to look at today in 18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend and Son.

We’re wrapping up our second series of 18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend and Son. Most recently we’ve been looking at 18th century breads and we thought it would be appropriate to conclude this series with a little sweet treat made with bread.

The earliest recipe for French toast can be found in the Apicius. It’s a 4th and 5th century collection of Roman recipes. The dish is simply titled A Sweet Treat and the translation reads thus, “Break a slice of fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces, soak in milk and beat in eggs, fry in oil, cover in honey, and serve.”

Bread was known as a staff of life. It was a dietary pillar, but what does one do when one’s bread goes stale? In an old English cookbook from about 1430, we find a recipe for bread that’s sliced, dipped in eggs, fried in butter and then sprinkled with a little bit of sugar. The name of this recipe was Payn perdu, a French word that means lost bread or wasted bread, suggesting that this recipe was meant to use up stale bread.

Karen Hess who transcribed Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery has this to say in a recipe after Payn Perdu. It says, “The English early took to Payn Perdu and made it their own. It was rarely omitted from a cookbook, usually listed under made dishes. Made dishes are any dish that amuses the cook or shows off her skill.”

Let’s make French toast or Payn Perdu in a true 18th century fashion.

We’re going to start off with a nice enriched bread. The no knead French bread like we made in our last episode would be perfect. If you want to use a more modern bread, you can use a challah bread or a brioche, any firm bread will do.

We’ve cut the crust off this and we’ve let it set out overnight, so we’re starting off with a nice stale bread. I’m going to start off here with about 8 egg yolks and to that I’m going to add about a cup of cream and I’m also going to add some wine, some sac here. We’re going to use about a quarter of a cup. Now I’m going to add about two tablespoons of sugar and finally I’m going to scrape in a little bit of nutmeg and we’ll whisk this all together.

Now let’s take our individual bread pieces and put them in the batter.

I’m going to let these set for maybe 15 minutes or up to an hour to get this a real good chance to soak in. It really depends on how stale your bread is. While these toasts are steeping, I’m going to go ahead and start on our sauce, because we want to have the sauce ready to put on it as soon as they’re cooked.

We’re going to start off with about four tablespoons of butter and then once that’s melted, let’s add in about two tablespoons of sac, and after the sac we’re going to add about a tablespoon of sugar.

Now you want to whisk this altogether, then you want it to get nice and warm, but we’re really not cooking it, we’re just really mixing it together, so what I’m going to do is set this aside where it’ll stay nice and warm waiting for us to put it on.

I’ve got the butter going in the pan, let’s put in our toasts. If your bread’s really stale, sometimes it can be very fragile so you might have to be careful as you put it in the pan.

These look done. Let’s get them out of here.

Here’s our Payn Perdu, an early version of French toast. Let’s give it a try.

Mmm. That is excellent. This topping’s a little different from what you and I might expect or what we’re used to. Very nice. Right out of the 18th century cookbooks. Maple syrup as a topping is a perfect North American variation on that same theme. They’re substitute for sugar, maple syrup. Excellent.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of 18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend and Son. Be sure to watch for more episodes in the near future. Also, make sure to check out our new cooking blog SavoringThePast.net for today’s recipe as well as other documentation and discoveries in 18th century cooking.

All the clothing you’ve seen here today and all the cooking accessories, all these things are available in our print catalog or on our website. I want to invite you to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook and I want to thank you for joining us as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

Here’s our Payn Perdu an early version of French toast. Let’s give it a try.

That is excellent. You know, It is, it’s really… {Beep}

Mmm. That is excellent. Tha… the… the…. Gosh… {Beep}

So that’s why you see maple syrup in so many different… mmmm… that was stupid… {Beep}

Ahh, that is, that is super {Beep}

This would be used as a dessert, not as a brexst, breakfast… {Beep}

Mmm, that is excellent. This topping’s a little bit different than what you and I mi(cough)… Here I get it stuck in my throat and I can’t talk. {Beep}

Have you ever wondered where this comes from? I have. (Laughing)

Posted in 18th century, Bread, historic cooking, Ingredients, Recipe, Video | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Simple Apple Pudding

Apple Pudding (Time 0_01_17;08)
So I haven’t found much about soldiers doing boiled puddings yet, but there is a piece in Joseph Plum Martin’s book about soldiers coming and stealing a woman’s food, including her pudding, bag and all.

There are many period recipes that cover putting apples inside of a pudding and boiling it, so I thought we’d put together a simple pudding that a soldier could have made with nothing but flour and an apple off of a tree wrapped in a little bit of scrap cloth. Just what a soldier might be able to make.

  • 1 Whole Apple
  • Couple handfuls of Flour
  • Water

First you want to make sure that you have your pot of water to boil on the fire and in the water you need to place your cloth for your pudding.

Apple Pudding (Time 0_02_13;23)
So let’s make up a very simple paste with nothing but flour and water. We’re just going to take about two handfuls of flour, add in some nice cool water, and then mix it up. We want it to be a thick, but not very stiff, paste. We want to be able to form it around the apple without fighting it. It will thicken up a little more as you prepare your apple.

Apple Pudding (Time 0_02_42;15)
Once your paste is ready, we need to take the apple and quarter it, removing the seeds and stem. Now take the quartered apple and put it back together into an apple shape and take the paste, and we’re just going to wrap it around that apple so it’s about a quarter of an inch thick. It will grow as it cooks so it doesn’t need to be terribly thick.

Apple Pudding (Time 0_03_15;13)
At this point, you can remove your cloth carefully from the boiling water and dust it with flour. Once that is done, set your pudding in the center and gather up the edges to tie it. Don’t tie it too tight, you definitely want to give it a little bit of room so that it can grow while it’s cooking. Then go toss it in the boiling water.

This should take about an hour for this apple pudding.

Apple Pudding (Time 0_08_18;18)You’d be amazed with nothing but a little bit of flour and one apple what you can turn out. It is really good.

Transcript of Video:

So in last week’s episode, we covered a simple boiled plum pudding, which consisted of equal parts flour, milk, eggs, butter, and the plums or raisins in that case, but I thought we would look at the boiled puddings and explore this idea a little bit farther. I think there’s a lot more to learn.

So here’s a little piece that I ran into while I was doing research. It’s from a 1780 gentleman’s monthly intelligence. It was a section on diet. It says, “There is at this time residing in Essex a person famed for his mode of living. Being formally reduced to a state of general weakness from free and luxurious living, he took up a resolution of dieting himself thus, he has a pound of flour and a pint of cold water mixed and then tied up in a cloth and boiled and on this food he’s lived entirely for many years. Though he is old, he is hardy, strong, vigorous and active.”

I thought that was very interesting, somebody living on nothing but flour, a flour pudding, boiled, and then I was thinking about soldiers living on nothing but their meat and a simple flour ration.

Also, many period recipes cover putting apples inside of a pudding and boiling that. Those two ideas, I thought we’d put together and make a simple soldier style pudding. Nothing but flour, an apple off of a tree and wrapped in a little bit of scrap cloth. Just what a soldier might be able to make.

So let’s make up a very simple, nothing but flour and water  paste. We’re just going to take about two handfuls of flour and we’re going to add in some nice cool water and then mix that up. We kind of want it to be not very stiff kind of a paste here. Okay, so not too stiff. We want to be able to form it around it without it fighting.

Once that’s ready, we need to take our apple and I’ve already quartered this. We’re going to take out the seeds and the stem.

Let’s take our quartered apple and put it back together into an apple shape and then take our paste, which has thickened up a little bit as I was working on it, and we’re just going to wrap it around that apple so it’s all about a quarter of an inch thick. It grows as it cooks so it doesn’t need to be terribly thick.

And there we can see, now we can put this inside of our floured cloth.

There we are.

And let’s flour this up.

And now it’s time to wrap it up in the cloth. We’re just going to set it in the center and gather it up, and you definitely want to give it a little bit of room so that it can grow while it’s cooking. Not too tight. Let’s go toss it in.

Let’s make sure our water is boiling and it should take about an hour for this apple pudding. While this is cooking, we’re going to cover a quaking pudding. Those don’t take very long to cook either.

So, quaking pudding is much more like that modern day pudding idea that we have in our heads. Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

So, let’s put together this pudding. We’re going to put together our dry ingredients first and then our wet ingredients. We’re going to need about a half a cup of flour. Now we don’t have to be precise. This is definitely different than the plum pudding. The ratios are much different, a lot less flour and a lot more liquid parts. About a half a cup of flour, now let’s put in, we need about 2 tablespoons of sugar, we’ve got this pretty much all ground up.

There we are.

We need some salt, maybe a half a teaspoon of salt. We’re definitely going to need some of those same kind of spices. We’ve got some mace here, a teaspoon full. We’ve got some ground ginger, same amount. So, you’ll need a quarter to a half of a nutmeg grated up. For our last dry ingredient I have some almonds here. I’ve got maybe a half a cup of slivered almonds here. We’re going to mash these up.

Once these are good and mashed up, we can add these to our dry ingredients, the rest of them here. There we are.

Now we need a cup of heavy cream and four eggs. We actually want two whole eggs and just the yolks of the other two and then we’re going to whisk these together, so there are eggs in our cream. You want to get these whisked really well.

Now that we’ve got these all mixed, put our wet and dry ingredients together.

There we are.

Once these are well mixed, we need to get our pudding cloth ready. Okay, now we’ve got our cloth but instead of putting it in the boiling water and then flouring it, this one we want to seal a little tighter, so we’re going to butter it first and then flour it. Get it to seal all the way into our fabric there. Now once it’s buttered, we can just put our flour on just like before.

Now we can take our buttered and floured cloth and put it in the bowl and pour our pudding mix in.

There we are, and tie it up.

This is another pudding that you want to give a little bit of room to grow. And there we go, and it’s ready to go in. Let’s make sure that water’s boiling.

Okay, this quaking pudding should take about a half hour to cook.

Now that that quaking pudding is cooking, we’re going to make a quick sauce with some butter and some sugar.

When you use these pipkins, you want to make sure that you don’t put them on direct heat with flames. You want to use them only on coals. You want to make sure that you always have something in them or else they get too hot and they’ll crack and use them gently with gentle heat.

It’s been about a half hour for the quaking pudding and about an hour for the apple one, so both of those should be ready to come out.

Let’s cut open this apple pudding or apple dumpling.

And there is our pudding. Let’s slice it and see how it turned out.

Look at that.

You’d be amazed with nothing but a little bit of flour and one apple what you can turn out. It is really good.

So I haven’t found much about soldiers doing boiled puddings yet, but there is a piece in Joseph Plum Martin’s book about soldiers coming and stealing a woman’s food, including her pudding, bag and all.

Now for our quaking pudding. This one’s a little bit more, you have to be more gentle with it. Now let’s dress this up with a few slivered almonds and then put sauce on top.

Wow, that’s delectable. You’ll love this wonderful quaking pudding. A lot more custardy than the other one. It’s not nearly as bready and that butter and sugar on top with the almonds, it looks beautiful and it tastes good.

You’ve got no excuse. You really must try one of these wonderful boiled puddings. Hey, all the things you’ve seen here today, all the cooking equipment, all the clothing, all these things are available on our website, they’re available in our print catalog and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook.

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A Simple Recipe for on the Trail

On the Trail (Time 0_01_02;25)
“To make Norfolk dumplings, mix a good thick batter as for pancakes, take a half a pint of milk, 2 eggs, a little salt, make it into a batter with flour. Have ready a clean saucepan of water boiling into which you drop the batter before the water boils fast and two or three minutes will boil them. Stir a piece of butter into them and eat them hot while they’re very good.”

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Milk (optional)
  • 1 or 2 eggs (optional)

On the Trail (Time 0_01_13;21)
This is a super simple recipe. It uses only flour, salt, milk, and egg. If you’re on a trail and you don’t have milk or eggs, you can just use water with this recipe and it will work out just fine.

On the Trail (Time 0_02_23;06)
Start off with whisking up your egg, then add about a cup of milk, but hold back some of your milk in case your batter becomes a little too thick later on. Next add some flour to the mix along with a little bit of salt. On the Trail (Time 0_02_46;05)
You want the consistency to be just a little thicker than you would make for pancakes so that it doesn’t break up when it goes into the water but not so thick as to make a dough.

On the Trail (Time 0_03_03;27)
Once your water has just barely started boiling, place your dumplings in by the spoonful. Depending on how hot your water is boiling these can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes.  They have a wonderful little bready consistency. On the Trail (Time 0_03_47;13)
They will be a little bland with so few ingredients but the texture is wonderful and they would go great in something like a stew or soup that you make on the trail, especially a super simple one. If you have been on the trail al day and you’re really tired and cold, this is the perfect meal because there are very few ingredients and it is so easy to put together and so quick to cook up.

Transcript of Video:

Today is a fun and kind of a different episode. I’m out here in the woods today and we’re going to be doing a very simple Norfolk dumplings recipe. This one’s from the Primitive Cookery cookbook but you’ll also find it in Hanna Glass’s cookbook of say 1747. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

Well, I’ve got water on to boil. Let me read you this very simple recipe in this little cookbook. It says, “To make Norfolk dumplings, mix a good thick batter as for pancakes, take a half a pint of milk, 2 eggs, a little salt, make it into a batter with flour. Have ready a clean saucepan of water boiling into which you drop the batter before the water boils fast and two or three minutes will boil them. Stir a piece of butter into them and eat them hot while they’re very good.”

This is a super simple recipe. It uses just flour, a little bit of salt, milk, 1 egg. We want to make it a really thick batter. We don’t want it to break up as we put it into this boiling water. It’s going to take a good bit for this water to get boiled. The other trick with this recipe, if you’re on a trail and you don’t have some of these special ingredients, you don’t have eggs with you, which is very, very common that you wouldn’t have eggs, milk is something that you’re not going to have on the trail, the question is would this work out just as fine if we didn’t have milk or eggs but we just used water and flour? I’m betting that’s going to work out just fine too. That’s probably going to be the most common version that you would do on the trail or in the camp when you don’t have lots of ingredients to work with and I’ve got just the simplest of mixing utensils here. I’ve got a little wire fork and just one simple wooden spoon along with a mixing bowl. Just the minimal equipment is what we’re going with here and of course I’ve got one of our tin cooking pots to cook our dumplings in.

Let’s start off with just one egg here and whisk this up. To this egg I’m going to add let’s say about a cup of milk. I’m going to hold a little back here in case the mix is a little too thick later on. Now let’s add some flour into this mix, and we’re going to add enough flour that we think we’re going to get to a thick batter. Of course she doesn’t say anything about how much flour, you just add as much as gets to the right consistency, and don’t forget to add a little bit of salt before you get this fully mixed up. Maybe a little thicker than I would consider a pancake mix but still a batter, not a dough necessarily.

Well, my fire has built up nicely and it’s just starting to boil so let’s put some of these dumplings in by the spoonful. There we go. I’m not sure exactly what Hanna Glass intended when she put this very simple recipe in her cookbook but the author or the collector of recipes for Primitive Cookery saw this recipe and knew that it was perfect for simple cooking for inexpensive cooking and that’s why they picked it out and put it into this little cookbook. It’s sort of a compilation of simple inexpensive recipes.

There we go, they’re ready. They’ve been in probably a little bit longer than the two or three minutes, but I didn’t have a really hot boiling thing going on here, so let’s take a look.

So, let’s see how these turned out. They look pretty simple and they are obviously. Just a few ingredients, but they have a wonderful little, kind of a little bready consistency. Obviously they’re a little bland, because they’re just not amazing flavors in there. We haven’t put a lot of ingredients in there, but it’s got a wonderful texture and this would go great in something like a stew or a soup that you make on the trail, especially a super simple one. On the trail, we can’t expect amazing, intense flavors, “Oh, this is the best thing I’ve ever had!” Sometimes when you’re really tired and you’re cold and you’ve just built a fire like this and you’ve walked a long way, you carried what you’ve got with you, this is an amazing meal because you’ve made it yourself and you brought all the things along with you and there’s just a very, very few ingredients. I really want to encourage you to get out this spring, get outdoors, get cooking some of these amazing simple things. They are incredible. This is such a wonderful time of year to get out and to get active and to really kind of get into the grove again of summer.

I want to thank you for joining along with me today and this experiment as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

If you’re new to our channel I want to welcome you. You can subscribe by clicking the button right up here. Also, check out our related videos. Thanks so much for watching.

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Using Leaven

Using Leaven (Time 0_09_59;06)
In our last blog, we made leaven. Leaven is old dough that you save back and you use to inoculate a new batch of dough with yeast. We took our leaven and preserved it in salt. Today we’re going to wake this leaven back up and use it to make a new batch of bread.
First, we need to scrape off as much salt as possible. We put the salt on earlier because we wanted it to be dry to slow down the yeast activity. Now that we want to wake it back up you need to get as much salt off as possible. Once you have as much salt off of it as you can get, you need to chop it up into the smallest pieces possible. Just make it crumbs if you can. Then dissolve it in about a cup of warm water.Using Leaven (Time 0_10_09;28)

Stir the leavened water to get as much dissolved as possible, then use a cloth to strain out any crusty material that would not dissolve. You should end up with about ¾ of a cup of liquid yeast. Using Leaven (Time 0_10_50;20)

Now we need to make a sponge. Add your yeast to about 1 ½ cups of good quality bread flour. This is going to make a very soupy mixture but this is where the yeast is really going to come alive again. Cover and set aside. This could take as long as overnight so cover it with either a wet cloth or some plastic to keep it safe. When this is ready, you’re going to see large bubbles starting to form and it’ll have a very spongy texture.Using Leaven (Time 0_11_28;18)

Once it’s ready we can start making our bread. Start off with about 3 cups of bread flour in a bowl. To that add about 2 teaspoons of salt. Now let’s put about a cup of the sponge into our flour. Once the sponge is incorporated, add a cup of nice warm water and mix this into our dough.Using Leaven (Time 0_11_49;06)

If the dough looks a little wet you can sprinkle it with a little extra flour, then turn it out on a floured surface and knead it until it has a smooth soft texture. At this point it’s time to take another piece of dough off to save for our next batch of bread. You want a piece that’s about a half to a whole cup of dough and we’ll put this in salt just like we did before.

Now place the rest of your bread dough in a bowl and cover it with a cloth for an hour or two until it doubles in size. Once it has risen, punch it back down and reform it into a loaf, place it back into the bowl and allow it to rise one more time.

Now preheat your oven. You can use a conventional oven, an earthen oven, or even a Dutch oven. Once you have your oven warmed up, sprinkle some corn meal onto the surface where the bread will be cooked to keep the layer from sticking. The corn meal will brown up just a hair to let you know if the oven is the right temperature if you are using an earthen oven or Dutch oven. Slit the top of your bread so that it can grow a little, you will want a nice sharp knife for this. Now slide your bread gently into your oven and close it up.

Using Leaven (Time 0_16_45;26)
It should cook about 30 minutes until it’s a really nice golden brown. After 15 minutes you want to take a peak to make sure this thing isn’t overcooking, then you can adjust the heat accordingly. Sourdough bread is a much more dense bread so it can take a little bit more cooking than you might think. Don’t worry about possibly overcooking it a little bit, it’s going to need a little bit of that to get the heat all the way into the inside.

And there we have it, bread baked from leaven or old dough. You know, each time you repeat this process and save back dough you get a little bit more flavor, each time it’s going to keep developing and make a wonderful tasting bread.

Transcript of Video:

In our last episode, we made leaven. Leaven is old dough that you save back and you use it to inoculate a new batch of dough with yeast. We took our leaven and we preserved it in salt. Today we’re going to wake this leaven back up and use it to make a new batch of bread.

Last week we prepared a dough and then we saved off a little piece, the leaven, to use this week. This is the dough that was sitting in the salt. What we need to do now is to scrape off as much salt as possible. We put the salt on earlier because we wanted it to be dry. We wanted it to slow down the yeast activity. Now that we want to wake it back up we need to get as much salt off as possible.

I’m going to chop this leaven, this dried leaven, up into the smallest pieces possible. We’re going to dissolve this in some water so the smaller the particle size the better.

When we’re done with this, we can add about a cup of nice warm water so we can get this to dissolve.

Now I’m going to keep stirring this so I can get as much dissolved as possible. I need to strain out as much of this crusty material, it really doesn’t dissolve, so I’m going to strain it through this cloth.

We’re going to end up with about ¾ of a cup of liquid yeast.

Now I’m going to make a sponge. I’m going to add about a cup and a half of good quality bread flour and stir this in and it’s going to make a very soupy mixture. This is where the yeast is really going to come alive. We’re going to cover this up and set this aside. It may take as much as overnight for this to wake back up. You’ll want to cover it with either some wet cloth or some plastic.

Now we’ve prepared a sponge last night. Let’s have a look at this. When this is ready, you’re going to see large bubbles starting to form. It’ll have a very spongy texture. Let’s make our dough. I’m going to start off with about 3 cups of bread flour in a bowl. To that I’m going to add about 2 teaspoons of salt. Now let’s put about a cup of this sponge into our flour. Now that we’ve got this sponge in here,  I’m going to add a cup of nice warm water and then mix this into our dough.

This dough looks a little wet so I’m going to sprinkle it with a little extra flour before I turn it out and knead it.

I’m going to knead this until it’s nice and smooth and soft. At this point it’s time to take another piece of dough off of this to save it for our next batch of bread. I want a piece that’s about a half a cup or maybe a whole cup of dough and we’ll put this in salt just like we did before. Now back to our bread dough, let’s put it in a dough bowl and cover it with a cloth. We want this to double in size. It may take an hour, it may take a couple of hours, depending on the temperature and your yeast, just how active it is.

This dough has risen. I’m going to go ahead and lightly punch it down and reform it back into our loaf, put it back in the dough bowl and let it rise for the final time.

Now we could bake this bread in our earthen oven, but today we’re going to use our Dutch oven.

There seems to be a modern resurgence in baking in Dutch ovens, but this technique has really been used for hundreds of years. Dutch ovens were commonly used in 18th century kitchens. They were known by various names and they took on various forms, but they were known throughout Great Britain, France and the American colonies. Dutch ovens play an important role in the American colonies as well as the later on Western expansion. Louis and Clark took numerous Dutch ovens along on their western expedition. These vessels were favored by 18th, 19th, and even 20th century cooks and sojerners for their versatility. They could be used for soups and stews, for frying as well as for roasting and baking, even bread. We found one early 19th century source that used the term Dutch oven and bread oven interchangeably. When it came to baking for a single meal, these were much more efficient than a wood fired oven. Because of their versatility and efficiency, they were also highly valued. You could frequently find them in old 18th century last will and testiments and in household inventories. Jas. Townsend and Son offers three different sizes, a four quart, an eight quart and a twelve quart model.

While our loaves are rising, we started a small fire to preheat our Dutch oven and then we can use these embers when it’s done. This dough is ready to bake. Let’s prepare our Dutch oven.

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 corn meal 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 we can slip this loaf in. You want to make sure that it’s loosly in your bowl so you can just nudge it in there. There we go, okay, there it goes, and we’re just going to get it into shape here. This turned over but that’s alright, and now we’re going to slit the top here so it can grow a little bit. You want a nice sharp knife for this and then you can slice it and slice it the other way too, there we are, nice and I think that looks really good. Now, we’re going to close this up, and I’ve already got our bottom coals going. I’ve got a nice ring, there’s an open center here, we don’t want it to get too hot, and we’re going to set that on, and put our lid on. Now we’re going to put more coals up on top of the oven.

I got a good layer of coals up on top now and we’re going to let this cook. It should cook about 30 minutes until it’s a really nice golden brown. For a nice even baking, you want to pick this up and rotate it a quarter of a turn every 5 or 10 minutes. After 15 minutes you want to take the lid off and take a peak to make sure this thing isn’t overcooking, then you can adjust the heat accordingly. We took a quick look at 15 minutes and it was progressing rather well. I’m sure, now that it’s about 30 minutes in that this is ready to take a look, and we’re going to take the lid off here and we can see that it really is looking quite nice and golden brown.

Sourdough bread is a much more dense bread so it can take a little bit more cooking than you might think. Don’t worry about possibly overcooking it a little bit, its going to need a little bit of that to get the heat all the way into the inside, so let’s get this out of here.

And there we have it, bread baked from leaven or old dough. We even baked it in a Dutch oven and we’ve saved off dough for the next time we’re going to bake bread. You know, each time you repeat this process and save back dough you get a little bit more flavor, each time it’s going to keep developing and make a wonderful tasting bread.

I hope you subscribed to our YouTube channel so you can get notification of all the new videos when they come out and be sure to check out our Facebook page for all the news at Jas. Townsend and Son. All the items you’ve seen here today, all the clothing, all the cooking utensils, all these things are available on our website or in our print catalog and I want to thank you for watching and I want to invite you to come along as we savor the aromas and flavors of the 18th century.

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Making Leaven

Leaven (Time 0_09_16;15)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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