Category Archives: bread

Bread, Eggs and Milk

8410390-bread-milk-and-eggsWas looking up some ways that cooks in the Lowlands (12th Century Western Europe) would of used up old bread from the days before. Nothing went to waste in that society and with no real refrigeration and limited resources for ingredients, it made sense to use up as much as possible.

As I skimmed around this book (Libellus de arte coquinaria: An Early Northern Cookery Book ed. by Rudolf Grewe, Constance B. Hieatt), I came across two recipes with the same more or less basic ingredients — bread, milk, and eggs — but handled differently.

Recipe XVI [D13] (Page 63)
How to prepare a dish called “White Mush”

One should take fresh milk, an well crushed wheat bread, and a beaten egg and well ground saffron, and let it cook until it becomes thick. Then, place on a dish and add butter, and sprinkle on powdered cinnamon. It is called “white mush.”

The second dish, I originally thought was a cooked dish, but as I really looked at it, I can’t assume it was and think more that this is a drink. With all the health concerns of raw eggs nowadays, I can’t imagine recreating this at all (or it being like the title “sweet”). However, I wanted to include this since it seemed really interesting to see the “take break, milk and eggs” combination.

Recipe XVII [D14] (Page 63)
About a dish call Kalus: Sweet Milk

One should take fresh milk, and cut into it the crust of wheat bread, cut into a small dice. Afterwards place this in a pan and well beaten egg yokes. This is called “Kalus.”

Differences off the bat, one is cooked, the other is raw. The first crushes the bread and the other is a dice. One seems to be a sort of pain perdu riff, cooked and more soft.

My mind started wandering and I thought perhaps “white mush” is a precursor to the “Pudding in a Frying-panne” that is mentioned in John Murrell: A new booke of Cookerie; London Cookerie. London 1615. Or maybe it was some sort of influence? Probably not, but it makes sense to create recipes from basic food stuffs that were mostly found in homesteads and farms, created from common livestock like cows and chickens.

To make a Pudding in a Frying-panne.
Take foure Egges, two spoonefuls of Rosewater, Nutmeg grated, Sugar, grated Bread, the quantitie of a penny Loafe, halfe a pound of Beefe Suit minst fine: worke them as stiffe as a Pudding with your hand, and put it in a Frying-pan with sweet Butter, frye it browne, cut it in quarters, and serue it hot, eyther at Dinner or Supper. Jf it be on a fasting day leaue out the Suit, and the Currens, and put in two or three Pomewaters minst small, or any other soft Apple
that hath a good relish. [Recipe taken from http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/1615murr.htm]

The Kalus, seems to be more of a drink,and less of a dish (side or main) really. Though the handling of the bread into cubes, also reminds me of another recipe from A New Booke of Cookerie, however, this one again is more of a dish that is cooked and less liquid (plus sugar, fruits and other sweet goodness).

To make an Italian Pudding.
Take a Penny white Loafe, pare off the crust, and cut it in square pieces like vnto great Dyes, mince a pound of Beefe Suit small: take halfe a pound of Razins of the Sunne, stone them and mingle them together, and season them with Sugar, Rosewater, and Nutmegge, wet these things in foure Egges, and stirre them very
tenderly for breaking the Bread: then put it into a Dish, and pricke three or foure pieces of Marrow, and some sliced Dates: put it into an Ouen hot enough for a Chewet: if your Ouen be too hot, it will burne: if too colde, it will be heauy: when it is bakte scrape on Sugar, and serue it hot at dinner, but not at Supper.

Many other plays on the three staples out there. How many can you find?

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Passover Pre-17th Century

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This is one of those cuisines that is a real challenge to research before the 18th century: Jewish food.  It’s been a bit of a struggle for me to find what little I have over the years.  As I network with other people that are interested in the same historical roots, I’ve been able to find more and more details to my files.

Within the SCA, there was a very resourceful and dedicated researcher (Mistress Judith bas Rabbi Mendel) that put together this document on various types of Passovers throughout the SCA period.  It is hosted currently on  Stefan’s Florilegium over here.  Since it is that time of the season, I thought it would be a good idea to post this to help anyone out there looking for details like these for pesach.

Hannah Glasse and her 310th birthday via Google Doodle

Google Doodle today features a prominent culinary figure in the 18th century, attributed to writing the first modern cookbook in English.

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Hannah Glasse was the author of “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” which was published in 1747. In comparison to the other cookbooks previously published over the years, this version was written in easily understood English, far closer to modern English. This made this book highly used and sought after within Great Britain and further.

There are 972 recipes that cover all sorts of standard home cooking fare. Baking, roasting, frying, boiling and everything in between is discussed using locally sourced ingredients (and nothing truly shocking or wild like in much earlier cookbooks for Royalty for Tudor kitchens, and the like). It was made for the home, for servants to use (or to those so inclined that weren’t servants). On top of the recipes for meals, recipes for medicines and housekeeping tips were also included. It seems like a precursor to a Mrs. Beeton that came a century later.

This book was so popular, that it had been reprinted several more times after its first publication. 20 editions in the 18th century were printed and continued to be published until 1843. Many classic English comfort foods are discussed and much of what we understand as traditional English cuisine are in this book.

This cookbook is used fairly extensively for early American cuisine and 18th century food history. It is still available in print currently, but free copies of the book are available throughout the web. Here is one showing the original text that you can download here. You can also pick up her book on Amazon.

Soda Bread

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Soda bread. What is it?

It’s a type of quick bread that us

es a base of 4 ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk (or a soured milk). The lactic acid from the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide, this giving the bread it’s rise. Baking soda was used as it was easier to find during the 19th century rather than raising yeasts. Also, the types of wheat that were used in Ireland worked better with baking soda (soft wheat) and over all, it was a better overall quality bread that was very inexpensive to make. The cost appealed to many for obvious reasons.

Soda Bread is synonymous with the Irish, however the Irish didn’t invent this bread. There are references to American Indian

s making a leaven bread similar, only more of a flat bread than a loaf (using Pearl Ash as well). Whether they invented it or not, they certainly eat and and present it as their own, and especially encouraged to bake this during St. Patrick’s Day.

One of the earliest recipes published was in “The Southern Planter” published in 1843. The recipe was: “how to make bread using 7 pounds of wheaten flour mixed with 350 to 500 grains of carbonate of soda with about 2 3/4 pints of pure water.

Mix separately 3/4 pint of water with pure muriatic acid (420 to 560 grains). Divide the flour into two parts. To one add the soda solution gradually, well stirring and beating the mixture. Then add the other portion of flour and while mixing pour in the diluted acid. Lightly kneed on a board for a short time. Loaves should be 1/2 lb to 1 1/2 lb each. Best baked under tins. Common salt can be added for taste.”

Whatever the recipe you use, Soda Bread is a lovely addition to your kitchen table (and not just for Saint Patrick’s Day, but all yeairish-soda-bread-vertical-a-1800r around), whether it is as is, or you add dried fruits, nuts or other add ins. There are many modern recipes available online by googling Soda Bread.

Here are a few modern recipes:

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread
Ina Garden Irish Soda Bread recipe
Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Thanks to the Society for the Preservation of Soda Breadfor much of my details as well as some tips from Wikipedia.