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Bread Baking Babes (BBB) September 2014
Ilva is this month’s mastermind and decided to send us back to the 1600s.
To make French Bread the best way.
Take a gallon of fine flour, and a pint of good new ale barm or yeast, and put it to the flour, with the whites of six new laid eggs well beaten in a dish, and mixt with the barm in the middle of the flour, also three spoonfuls of fine salt; then warm some milk and fair water, and put to it, and make it up pretty stiff, being well wrought and worked up, cover it in a boul or tray with a warm cloth till your oven be hot; then make it up either in rouls, or fashion it in little wooden dishes and bake it, being baked in a quick oven, chip it hot.
Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook, or, The Whole Art and Mystery of Cookery, fitted for all Degrees and Qualities, Section IX: Baking, (1685 edition), p. 240
Robert May (1588 – c.1664) was an English cook for various aristocratic families of the English aristocracy. He was trained by his father and then sent to Paris, by the Lady of the House where his father worked, to train as a chef.
First published in 1660 and reprinted at least 5 times during the author’s lifetime, “The Accomplisht Cook” is considered by many to be the first major recipe book published in England, being written by a professional cook when most recipe books at that time were household collections written by amateur cooks.
Luckily for us, Ilva didn’t insist that we build wood fired ovens and create our own ale barms (although I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t at least one intrepid BBBabe who did just that…). (continue reading…)