Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Indian and Rye bread from Victorian times

1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons
1 fluid ounce is 2 tablespoons
1 gill is 4 fluid ounces; 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup
1 cup is 2 gills or 16 tablespoons
1 pint is 2 cups
1 quart is 2 pints
1 gallon is 4 quarts

The American Pictorial Home Book or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia, by Mrs. Harriet Almaria Baker Suddoth (1883) (pp. 215-216)


Indian Rye Bread.
—Four pints of corn meal, 4 pints of rye flour, 1 1-2 pints of milk or water, 1-2 tablespoonful of salt, 1 cup of good, fresh yeast.

After sifting the rye flour and meal together add the salt and pour the milk scalding hot on the mixture and stir it very hard until all are well-mixed. If the dough is too stiff, add some warm water, let it stand until it becomes milk-warm, then stir in the yeast. Knead the compound into a stiff dough for 30 minutes, then cover the pan with a thick cloth folded several times, that has been warmed; and set it in a warm place or before the fire to rise; when the dough is quite light and cracked on the top, take it out of the pan and put it on a tray and knead it again for 10 or 15 minutes, divide it into 2 loaves, then set it near the fire cover it, let it remain for 30 minutes. Having the oven ready, put in the loaves immedi­ately and bake 1 1-2 hours. If the dough is sour, sweeten it by adding 1 teaspoonful of soda dissolved in a little hot water.

Indian Wheat Bread can be made in the same manner by using wheat flour instead of rye. A little Indian meal is a great improve­ment to homemade bread, as it keeps it moist and sweet.

Boston Rye and Indian Bread.
—Eight cups each of corn meal and rye flour, 2 cups of good, strong yeast, 1 cup of molasses, 1 dessert spoonful of salt.
After sifting, mix the meal and rye flour with the salt in a large wooden bowl or tray; have ready 1 cup of warm, but not too hot water; mix the molasses and stir in the yeast. Make a hole in the center of the meal, then with a spoon stir in all the flour that surrounds the hole till it forms a thick batter; put the compound in a pan and sprinkle the top with rye meal; place a thick cloth over the pan and set it in a warm place to rise. In 3 or 4 four hours it will be cracked all over the top ; in this case it is light enough ; then open the middle and gradually pour in two cups of warm water; as you pour in, work it till the whole is so mixed as to become a round mass of dough. Then flour hands and work it for 30 minutes until the dough ceases to stick to your hands ; turn it over, then sprinkle it again with rye flour, and again set it in a warm place to rise. Have your oven at a proper heat, so that the bread may be put in as soon as it rises the second time. When light the dough will stand high and the surface cracked all over.
This will do for a medium loaf. Put it directly in the oven and bake it for nearly or quite two hours. The bread will fall if not baked immediately. When done, wrap it directly in a coarse, wet towel and stand it upright till it is cold. It should be baked in a deep iron pan. If the dough should be sour, restore its sweetness by adding a teaspoonful of soda or salaratus dissolved in a little water, then knead it in the dough.
Premium Rye Bread.—One quart each of Indian meal and rye flour and wheat flour, i teaspoonful of yeast, i one of salt. Make a thick batter with warm milk; pour into pans and let it rise. Bake till well done.

Premium Bread
—Take 3 gills each of new milk and boiling water and stir into this flour enough to form a batter; set it by to rise in a warm place ; when sufficiently risen add flour enough to make it thick enough to work with the hands, and for baking. Set to rise in half an hour; then bake in a moderate oven, with a thin piece of paper over it

Superior Bread without Yeast.
—Take cold or ice water, the colder the better, and into this stir coarse corn meal to make a stiff batter; stir quickly, adding the meal, so as to introduce all the air possible. Put it into small patty-pans or cake tins; bake in a very hot oven for half an hour or longer. Baking is the most difficult part of the operation.

Mrs. Gen. R. E. Lee's Bread.
—Take 1 quart of best family flour, put in 1 egg and sweet lard the size of an egg, 2 large table-spoonfuls of yeast (by her recipe), 1 tablespoonful of salt and 1 of sugar.
By this rule bread can be made and the dough kept for 3 days and sufficient taken off to bake for each day. Mrs. Lee says if kept cold in winter or in an ice-house in summer, it will lie dor­mant and may freeze without injury. If frozen hard enough to cut with an ax it will not be damaged, and will rise readily as soon as placed near the fire. If made in this way, to save, and a change of temperature causes it to rise, it must be worked immediately. It is only in this state that it can be injured or become sour.

1) The American Frugal Housewife, by Lydia Maria Child (1832). (pp. 76-77)
―Six quarts of meal will make two good sized loaves of Brown Bread. Some like to have it half Indian meal and half rye meal; others prefer it one third Indian, and two thirds rye. Many mix their brown bread over night; but there is no need of it; and it is more likely to sour, particularly in summer. If you do mix it the night before you bake it, you must not put in more than half the yeast I am about to mention, unless the weather is intensely cold. The meal should be sifted separately. Put the Indian [meal] in your bread-pan, sprinkle a little salt among it, and wet it thoroughly with scalding water. Stir it up while you are scalding it. Be sure and have hot water enough; for Indian [meal] absorbs a great deal of water. When it is cool, pour in your rye; add two gills of lively yeast, and mix it with water as stiff as you can knead it. Let it stand an hour and a half, in a cool place in summer, on the hearth in winter. It should be put into a very hot oven, and baked three or four hours. It is all the better for remaining in the oven over night.

2) The Philosophy of Housekeeping, by Joseph B. Lyman (1869). (pp. 168-170)
―A variety of bread quite common in the Eastern States, and, when well made, surpassed by none for its palatable and nutritive qualities, is a combination of rye meal  and corn meal, called rye-and-indian, or Boston brown bread. For persons of sedentary habits and dyspeptic turn, no food is more wholesome, yet it is by no means easy to produce this article for perfection.
Of unbolted rye meal sift one quart, of unbolted corn meal three pints; to the corn meal add, say, a tablespoonful of salt and half a pint of molasses. Pour upon this, boiling milk or boiling water, till the corn meal is thoroughly scalded. Now add cold sour milk or butter-milk with your rye meal, and soda enough to correct the acid  in the milk and in the molasses. If you have stewed pumpkin or mashed Irish potatoes, a half pint added will improve the flavor of the bread. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with the hand. It needs no time to rise. Bake in a hot oven for two or three hours. This will make a large loaf; and it is better to put it into one pan than to divide the dough. A very thick and hard, tough, and palatable crust is formed, which some find their teeth strong enough to masticate. A mode of cooking, preferred by some, is by steaming in an ordinary pudding-pan, with a tube running up through the middle, after the manner of a cake-pan. Put the dough into such a dish, cover lightly and place in a kettle of boiling water, where it should remain and boil constantly for four hours. As the water evaporates, supply from a boiling teakettle. Cooked in this way, no crust is formed, and the bread has a delicious flavor, and remains moist for a couple of days.