THE MAKING OF FINE MANCHET
"graham" > wrote in message
> "Tim W" > wrote in message
>> "Jeff Berry" > wrote in message
>>> In article >, Tim W >
>>>>Said to be the first ever printed recipe for bread from the anonymous
>>>> 'The Good Huswife's Haindmaide for the Kitchen' of 1594.
>>>>.... I can't believe an hour in the oven is the baking time, maybe an
>>>>rising in the warm oven before the fire is lit. ....
>>> I don't believe that's quite how the ovens of the time worked. The
>>> ovens would be of the domed sort, and the method of use was to jam the
>>> burning material in there until it was up to temperature, then pull all
>>> embers out, give it a quick mopping, and then do the baking with the
>>> residual heat.
>>> Given that, there really isn't a warm oven for the bread to rise in, nor
>>> way to simply light the fire. I suspect that the instructions are
>>> given the technology and ingredients of the day.
>> If a wood fired oven is used daily I thougth it might be a warm place for
>> proving the loaves before it was lit, but I can't be right because the
>> timing would still be all wrong, you would have to remove them and wait
>> at least another hour while you fired the oven with faggots.
>> Anyway those timings can't be too accurate or critical in a world without
>> clocks. They must equate almost to "prove for a short while then bake
>> slow and long"
> I doubt that a wood fired oven was used every day. For example, in rural
> England in C19 and in France, firing up the oven was a weekly affair.
That may well have been the case where they had a big enough oven but there
is an old oven been uncovered in the fireplace in my cottage which had a
floor measuring about 2' x 3'. I don't suppose you could get enough of a
fire going in anything much smaller. The floor space is about the same as
you would have in a modern household double oven with shelves. It could only
have served the house and must have been fired as required - daily if there
were enough mouths to feed.
That recipe for Manchet though - I don't have the full context I just found
it quoted as is: it's titled The Good Houswife's Handmaid but the quantities
are for making about 90 x 1lb Manchets. Not at all household quantities and
it would need a very big oven to bake them even in two batches. So that just
doesn't make sense.