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leavening-msg – 3/20/08

 

Period leavening agents other than yeast.

 

NOTE: See also the files: BNYeast-art, yeasts-msg, beer-msg, brewing-msg, bread-msg, breadmaking-msg, flour-msg, grains-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 09:09:22 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - hildegard's cookies

 

CBlackwill at aol.com writes:

<< Wasn't potash used as a leavening during the Middle Ages? >>

 

Not that I am aware of. Hartshorn is mentioned later (early modern). Ale barm

is the most common leavening agent in medieval cookery (pre-1450 CE).

 

 

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 09:16:18 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - hildegard's cookies

 

CorwynWdwd at aol.com writes:

<< Anybody remember what "hartshorn" turned out to be? >>

 

An ammonia preparation commonly made from horn.

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:49:25 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - hildegard's cookies

 

> Wasn't potash used as a leavening during the Middle Ages?  

>

> Balthazar of Blackmoor

 

Hartshorn, maybe.  I came across one reference to it as a (possible)

leavening agent.  Other than that, I haven't found any chemical leavens.

Chemical leavens start appearing in the 18th Century.  I don't remember

potash being referred to as a leaven, but pearl ash (potassium carbonate,

one of the types of potash) is.

 

In the Middle Ages, cooks appear to have depended on yeast (ale, grape must,

sourdough, etc.), whipped in air, and oven spring to lighten their bake

goods.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:54:45 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - hildegard's cookies

 

> Anybody remember what "hartshorn" turned out to be?

> Corwyn

 

Hartshorn in the Middle Ages may have been precisely that, powdered horn

from a hart.  Modern hartshorn is an ammonium compound, ammonium carbonate,

IIRC.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 07:44:04 -0500

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] steam-baking

 

Also sprach Terry Decker:

>In a discussion about the possible use of soda as a chemical leaven in

>China, Paul Buell suggests that it was probably a flavoring agent rather

>than a leaven.

>

>Bear

>

>>How sure are we of this translation? "soda"? I thought that rising

>>agents, with the possible exception of hart's horn were unknown

>>until the 19th Century. Perhaps these chemical rising agents were

>>known to the Chinese earlier? Or maybe this "soda" is not a rising

>>agent and what is actually doing the rising is this "leaven" which

>>I guess could be ale barm.

>>

>>THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

 

I've got to go with Bear here. While it appears to be the case that

chemical leaveners as we know them don't appear widely until the

nineteenth century, that doesn't mean that the chemicals used as

leaveners haven't been used for other purposes for thousands of

years. For example, soda --and note that "baking soda", or sodium

bicarbonate, may not even be what is intended here-- was used by the

Romans as a green color fixative and tenderizer for vegetables, just

as it sometimes is in recent European (esp. French) cookery. Modern

Chinese cookery also employs baking soda as a meat tenderizer,

usually for tougher steaks and tripe (you wash it off carefully

before cooking, like the lye solution in the preparation of

lutefisk). The Roman cooking soda appears to be what we call "washing

soda" or sodium carbonate, but I don't know which soda Dr. Buell is

referring to.

 

Ultimately, such chemicals seem to have been known to the medieval

Chinese, but whether they considered them rising agents is

questionable. Of course, modern steamed bun recipes also sometimes

call for both soda and yeast; it may be a habit so lost in tradition

we'll never know its origin.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 19:13:20 -0500

From: "Barbara Benson" <vox8 at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spirits of hartshorn

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> Bear

> Hartshorn is ammonium carbonate and IIRC there is an in period reference to

> to its use in one of the German cookbooks

 

Is this what you are referring to?

 

From a cookbook from the archives of the Teutonic order, 15th Century,

Translated by Volker Bach.

 

[[16]] Wilthu machenn ein Hir§cornn:

item zu der zeytt alls es weig ist so nim das GehŸrnn und seidtt das und

mach es sauber und schneidt das zu Scheinenn alls vill du wilst ader des

Gehirns gebinenn magst und nim ein Honeg vnd seudt die Unsauberlichkeitt

davon und nim dan Leckuchen und §ebe in und nim dan die Peis (?) die du nitt

gewinenn canst und hacke die und sto§ die clein unnd nyme ein wenig Honegs

und geribenn Leckuchenn und de§ Hirenn Sway§ und streich es durch ein Thuch

und leg das Gehornn darein und la§ es siedenn.

 

If you want to make hartshorn

Take the horn (antlers) when they are soft and boil them and cut them into

/Scheinenn/ (strips? slices?) as much as you like or can get of the antler.

Take honey and boil the impurities out of it, then take gingerbread and

sieve it. The /Pei§/ (?) that you can not get you take and chop finely. Add

honey and ground gingerbread and the hart's blood and pass that through a

cloth. Place the antler in it and boil it.

 

Serena da Riva

 

 

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 08:28:18 -0800

From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler1 at comcast.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Questions....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

I have a couple of questions that I suspect you guys may be able to  

answer:

 

In one recipe, I encountered a reference to "leavening"....from de Nola:

 

Oranges from Xativa Which Are Crullers

 

Take fresh cheese and curds, and mash them in a mortar together with

eggs.  Then take dough and knead the cheeses with the curds, together

with the dough, and when they are all kneaded and incorporated take a

very clean casserole, and add to it a good quantity of sweet pork fat or

sweet oil which should be fine, and when the pork lard or oil boils,

make some round masses from the aforementioned dough, like balls or

round oranges, and put them in the pot in such a way that the ball goes

swimming through the casserole, and you can make small rissoles from the

dough, or whatever forms and remarkable things you wish, and when they

take on the color of gold, remove them, and add a few more, and when

they are all fried, put them on plates, and pour honey over them, and

scatter ground sugar and cinnamon over them.  But note one thing: that

you should add a little leavening to the cheeses and the eggs, and add

flour to the other, and when you make the balls grease your hands with a

little oil which should be fine and then take them to the casserole, and

once they are in if the dough crackles it is a sign that it is very

soft; and you need to add more flour until it is harder, and once the

dough is prepared and fired add the honey and sugar and cinnamon as is

described above.

 

What kind of leavening are they referring to?  Could I get away with

using yeast?

 

<snip>

 

Kiri

 

 

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 10:01:47 -0500 (GMT-05:00)

From: Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Questions....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Kiri wrote:

> In one recipe, I encountered a reference to "leavening"....from de  

> Nola:

 

> Oranges from Xativa Which Are Crullers

 

[snip]

>  But note one thing:  that you should add a little leavening to the  

> cheeses

> and the eggs, and add flour to the other, and when you make the balls  

> grease your

> hands with a little oil which should be fine

[snip]

 

> What kind of leavening are they referring to?  Could I get away with

> using yeast?

 

In southern Europe, they tended to use sourdough as leavening, rather

than the ale barm that was used in northern countries.  However, they

did not admire the sour flavor that comes from letting the dough sit  

for a long time.  (Platina warns against this in his bread-making  

instructions.)  If you don't have sourdough starter, you could use  

yeast, but you would have to make a sponge, not add the yeast directly.

  Dissolve about 2 teaspoons of yeast in 2 cups of warm water.  Wait 10  

minutes, then add enough flour to make a mixture like thick pancake  

batter.  cover, and let sit for an hour or two, until it is bubbling  

happily.  Use some of this sponge as the leavening in the fritter  

recipe.

 

<snip>

 

Brighid ni Chiarain

 

 

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 10:03:58 -0500

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Questions....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Also sprach Elaine Koogler:

> I have a couple of questions that I suspect you guys may be able to  

> answer:

> In one recipe, I encountered a reference to "leavening"....from de  

> Nola:

>

> Oranges from Xativa Which Are Crullers

<snip>

> What kind of leavening are they referring to?  Could I get away with

> using yeast?

 

Presumably the recipe is calling for either sourdough starter or

barm, which would be skimmed or racked (depending on the yeast and

brew type) from actively fermenting beer or wine. Yeah, I think you

probably could use dry or compressed yeast, if you first mixed it

with a little water and maybe 1/2 tsp sugar, the way you often do to

get a "sponge" before baking with it.

 

I have a Latino (Colombian, I think) bakery a couple of blocks from

home, and they sell what I STR are called bunuelas that sound and

look nearly identical to what this recipe describes. In fact they do

look quite a bit like oranges. I like the detail in this recipe of

the oiled hands and the comment on the cracked dough, because it

seems likely you need to build a sort of gluten skin on each of these

as you form them. The standard technique used in some Greek fritter

recipes to achieve this would be to sort of squeeze a double fistful

of the dough out between the fingers into a round ball shape, which

you pinch off, leaving a smooth and unwrinkled surface to the

fritter, rather than that sort of convoluted surface that foods

rolled into balls can sometimes have. All I know is that when

fritters crack, they seem to tend to absorb lots of fat in the

cooking process, more so than when they don't crack, so this may be

why this is important. The ones I see in the bakery are pretty

astonishingly smooth and round.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Katja <katjaorlova at yahoo.com>

Date: May 19, 2004 7:57:15 PM CDT

To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>

Subject: [SCA-AE] Re: [sca-ae-cooks] Links: The Staff of Life

 

> This week's Links List is a bout Bread Bread,

> yeast, flour, Baker's Marks

> and ovens are all covered here. Thought there were

> no surviving recipes for

 

Aoife, as always, you absolutely rock!

 

Funnily enough, I discovered something just last week

regarding medieval leavening that you migh find

interesting.

 

While perusing Dawson's fine cakes recipe from The

good huswifes Iewell, I noticed the instruction "and a

little Gods good about a sponfull if you put in too

much they shall arise..."

 

Curious, I looked up the phrase "God's good" in th

OED and discovered that one of the archaeic meanings o

the phrase is barm or yeast. :)

 

toodles, Katja

=====

Katja's Middle Eastern Dance Page

http://www.geocities.com/katjaorlova/MEdance.html

 

AEthelmearc Cooks Guild http://www.geocities.com/aecooks/CMain.html

 

 

Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 15:17:15 -0800 (PST)

From: Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re [Sca-cooks] OOP: 17th century French breadmaking

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Chris Stanifer <jugglethis at yahoo.com>

--- Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net> wrote:

> The Fons Grewe website has an interesting text for those who read

> French.  The 1661 edition of

> "Les delices de la campagne" by Nicholas de Bonnefons hs an entire

> chapter on making various

> kinds of bread.  All of them begin with the mixing of a starter the

> night before, containing leaven

 

'leaven'?  That wouldn't be referring to an addition of non-wild yeast,

would it??  :)

 

William de Grandfrt

_______________________________________________

 

I have no idea.  The French word is "levain".  I didn't see any mention

of how the leaven is produced.

 

::pause to re-read chapter::  He says that the smallest and lightest

breads are made from a levai that contains one-sixth of the total

flour, plus very fresh ale barm ("leveure de biere").  In context, it

seems that this was not the leavening used for most breads.  This

assumption is strengthened by the definition of "levuere" in the 1694

dictionry of the Academie Francaise: a foam produced by beer, which is

used to raise dough for a certain kind of bread.

 

Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom

 

 

Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 17:48:47 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OOP: 17th century French breadmakng

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> --- Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net> wrote:

>>> The Fons Grewe website has an interesting text for those who read French.

>> The 1661 edition of

>> "Les delices de la campagne" by Nicholas de Bonnefons has an entire

>> chapter on making various

>> kinds of bread.  All of them begin with the mixig of a starter the

>> night before, containing leaven

>

> 'leaven'?  That wouldn't be referring to an addition of non-wild yeast,

> would it??  :)

>

> William de Grandfort

 

Most French breads were made from continuous use starters. Until this

century, there was a law in France that prohibited the use of yeast.  The

law was rescinded primarily because you need yeast to produce those

extremely light and crusty baugettes.  I assume that the term used in the

original text is "levain" (if I remember the right spelling) which in the

context of 17th Century France refers a ball of dough (around 10 pounds or

so) the baker maintains to seed the sponge for a batch of dough.

 

Yeast is never added to the levain or (presumably) to breads made from the

levain.  Yeast is used strictly for specialty breads.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 13:02:50 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re:17th century French breadmaking

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> I'm not sure what distinction Bear (or the French government) is drawing:

> a "continuous use starter" won't work to raise bread unless it contains

> yeast.  Now, whether it contains dried or compressed yeast from a company

> like Fleischmann or Red Star, or the baker's own years-old culture of

> yeast and other microorganisms, or yeast from ale barm, is another story.

> (BTW, Thom Leonard mentions the same French law, but he doesn't explain

> clearly exactly what was outlawed.)

> --

>                                     John Elys

 

What we are talking about is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, baker's yeast.  In

other words, thou shalt not yeast thy bread with ale barm.

 

One needs to keep in mind that ale barm was used primarily in Northern

Europe (the beer and ale countries) while spontaneous starters are common to

the Mediterranean countries.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2005 07:18:06 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Natron

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Jeff Elder wrote:

> I am on a slow research for chemical leaveners.

> As a start I am looking for the names ancient people would have used for

> them. <snipped>

>

> Thank you for any time and assistance in this.

>

> Simon Hondy

 

Have you read Elizabeth David's work on this?

You might want to start there and check also the references

in Harold McGee's new edition of On Food and Cooking.

Also this has been covered in issues of the Food History Newsletter.

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2005 09:56:51 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Food History News was  Natron

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Jeff Elder wrote:

> Where would I find copies of the Food History News Letter?

> Simon Hondy

 

Food History News is by subscription. Issues may be available

by asking for interlibrary loan through your local library. You can

also purchase them at--

http://www.foodhistorynews.com/index.html

 

Fall 1992  18th Century Preserves, Chemical Leavenings: Pearlash and

Saleratus

 

Winter 1992   Feeding the Public, Chemical Leavening: Baking Soda &

Cream of Tartar

are two issues that covers the topic.

 

You might want to also check out PPC  21 from 1985 where Joop Wettezeen

answers a question from PPC 20 posed about pearlash.

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 16:49:15 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] question about breads

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

>>>

Has anyone tried hardwood ashes in quickbreads and such, I have a few

receipes calling for them as a leavener, and was wondering how well they

work.

 

Kirk

<<<

 

What you are after here is potash, potassium carbonate, which was originally

leached from wood ash.  If the authors of the recipes are really calling for

hardwood ash, then they probably didn't know what they were talking about,

since you need to concentrate the potash for it to be effective.  Potash

leaven is primarily a Dutch and German thing.  It may be hard to find and to

my mind baking soda works better and is an effective replacement.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 11:08:41 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] potash leavening

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Lye (caustic potash) is the liquid produced by leaching wood ash containing

potassium hydroxide.  Potash is the potassium carbonate produced by

evaporating lye in a pot.  The chemistry is rather complex (which means I

don't fully understand the process), but drying the leach concentrates

carbonic acid that in turn produces a high percentage of potassium carbonate

in the solids.  When exposed to water in the dough, the potassium carbonate

reverts to potassium hydroxide freeing carbon dioxide.

 

Use of the term potash in English begins in the latter half of the16th

Century, so its use in German and Dutch predates that.

 

The lye in German baking is as a solution brushed on the crust to alter the

crust in the baking process.  Potash is used as a leaven. Without some

accurate records, there is no way to tell how the two are related other than

both result from leaching wood ash.

 

Bear

 

> Bear replied to Kirk with:

>>>>>

>> Has anyone tried hardwood ashes in quickbreads and such, I have a few

>> receipes calling for them as a leavener, and was wondering how well

>> they work.

>>

>> Kirk

>> <<<

>> What you are after here is potash, potassium carbonate, which was originally

>> leached from wood ash.

>

> Is this liquid leached through the ashes, lye? I seem to remember those

> directions as the starting point for making soap.

>

>> If the authors of the recipes are really calling for

>> hardwood ash, then they probably didn't know what they were talking about,

>> since you need to concentrate the potash for it to be effective.

>

> How? Boiling it? Or putting the solution through the ash several times?

> The latter is what I seem to remember from soapmaking directions.

>

>> Potash leaven is primarily a Dutch and German thing.

>

> Prior to 1600 CE? Or only later?

>

> If this solution is indeed lye, I wonder if there is a connection to the

> use of lye in such things as pretzels and bagels? Because those were of

> German origin, right?

>

> Stefan

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 09:06:46 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] malt

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

The leavening agents primarily used were ale barm (liqour from the active

ferment on the top of the ale pot) and starter.  Malt was definitely not

used as a leaven.  It can be used to feed a leaven or as a sweetener

depending on the quantity used.  The earliest recipe I've encountered to add

malt to dough is in Markham's The English Housewife which is just out of

period and would place the practice in Elizabethean times.

 

I've used both malt extract syrup and powdered diamalt in bread.  I prefer

the syrup for sweetening and the powder for boosting the fermentation.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 02:47:13 -0400

From: ranvaig at columbus.rr.com

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Leavening

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

This is a gem from another list, which I thought

this group would enjoy.  It came in the middle of

a thread about using urine for cleaning.  "In the

old days" does not necessarily mean in period, of

course.

 

Ranvaig

 

https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0509&L=old-irish-

l&T=0&F=&S=&P=11488

 

> I spent 3 months in the Galway Gaeltacht in the 1950s and had access to a

> very old woman who delighted in teaching/scandalizing the young 'Dub'.

> Among other things she told me that 'in the old days' human urine was

> collected, allowed to go stale in a loosely covered vessel and then "nuair a

> bh’ an boladh mŽith" (when the odor had ripened) the liquid was used in

> bread making.  She hastened to point out that the advent of baking soda put

> an end to this use of stale urine.  (Heating, as in baking, of ammonium

> bicarbonate releases both ammonia and carbon dioxide, both of which would

> help to leaven the dough.  They would also largely escape during the

> baking.)  Some years ago I tested the efficacy of ammonium bicarbonate in

> place of sodium bicarbonate in making both white and wholemeal bread.  It

> worked, but some (not all) tasters thought the taste was 'a bit different',

> not bad, just different.

 

 

Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 16:04:02 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Use of Soda in period

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> In researching leavening agents, I ran across a reference to using soda,

> cream of tartar, flour and water, to make leavening -- and my assumption,

> is a starter.  What would be a modern equivalent to soda?  Or better  

> yet, what would be the period form of soda?  I know baking soda is thoroughly  

> modern and quite

> frowned upon in the Outlands, so, I'm perplexed.

 

Chemical leavens are meant to be used immediately. Starters develop over

time.  Flour and water will create a starter.  Soda and cream of tartar will

produce a leaven when hydrated.  But the four ingredients together are only

good for producing soda bread.

 

Sodium carbonate is soda, now or then.  It was used to tenderize vegetables

(Roman) or, apparently, as a flavoring agent in one Chinese bread recipe.  I

know of no reference to it's use as a leaven.  Sodium bicarbonate, the

modern baking soda, is preferred because it doesn't release all of its CO2

until heated.  AFAIK, sodium bicarbonate was not used in period.  Baking

powder is a combination of sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar and

usually a third compound that releases CO2 at higher temperatures for  

a good rise.

 

Hartshorne (probably ammonium carbonate rather than actual deer antler) was

used in Germany in the late 16th, early 17th Centuries as a chemical leaven

(still is for that matter), but it would probably not have been used  

with a bread.

 

I've a number of different chemical leavens from the late 17th and 18th

Centuries, but no trails leading back into period.

 

Given a Mediterranean climate, the most probable leaven for bunelos is a

sourdough starter, but you can fudge it with baking yeast. If you want real

starter, try two cups of flour and one cup of water mixed together in a

bowl, cover with plastic, and leave it on the counter for a few days.  One

cup of starter will leaven about 2 to 4 pounds of bread. Replace one cup of

the liquor in your recipe with one cup of starter.

 

> I probably won't go with that idea.  I will probably use live yeast, but

> the concept intrigues me.  The reference mentions using plant ash to  

> render soda. Sounds fairly caustic to me.

>

> Thanks for any advice you all can offer a new cook!!

> Constanza Marina de Huelva

 

Potash, also referred to as lye, and a name for several different compounds.

In this case, you're talking potassium carbonate rather than sodium

hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, which put the caustic in caustic soda.  I

think my ramblings on this subject are out in the Florilegium.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 11:50:28 -0500

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Random food-related questions....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> 2.  Has anyone played with ale barm much? A brewing friend just gave me two

> jars of it (about three cups total), from a batch of brown ale, and I'd like

> to use it in some bread, but don't know how to go about it.  It's a fairly

> substantial slurry of yeasts and such at this point. My thought was to use

> it almost like a sourdough starter, but any advice would be much

> appreciated!

 

I've used it as a direct starter to make a sponge, and I've also

cultivated it as a starter (treating it as you would a jar of starter

someone gave you. Both work well; using it to make a sponge directly

will give you a more beer-y bread.

--

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

 

 

Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 13:19:00 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Random food-related questions....

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> 2.  Has anyone played with ale barm much? A brewing friend just gave me two

> jars of it (about three cups total), from a batch of brown ale, and I'd like

> to use it in some bread, but don't know how to go about it.  It's a fairly

> substantial slurry of yeasts and such at this point. My thought was to use

> it almost like a sourdough starter, but any advice would be much

> appreciated!

 

Use it fast or feed it (water and malt extract)..  If you don't, it will

die.  There is also a possibility that it will be infected by mold if you

try to hold it.  It is not a starter and will not keep like a starter.  It

is a yeast solution equivalent to dry active yeast proofed in some  

water.

 

Is it actual barm (the scum off the top of the ale pot) or is it the dregs

(the stuff on the bottom of the pot)?  If it is the latter, you may want to

wash (dilute) and strain it.  Use a cup of it to a couple of cups of flour

to make a sponge, let it set for about 24 hours, then use it to make your

bread.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 14:39:26 -0500

From: "grizly" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Random food-related questions....

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

-----Original Message-----

>>>> Use it fast or feed it (water and malt extract)..  If you don't, it will

die.  There is also a possibility that it will be infected by mold if you

try to hold it.  It is not a starter and will not keep like a starter.  It

is a yeast solution equivalent to dry active yeast proofed in some  

water.

 

Is it actual barm (the scum off the top of the ale pot) or is it the dregs

(the stuff on the bottom of the pot)?  If it is the latter, you may want to

wash (dilute) and strain it.  Use a cup of it to a couple of cups of flour

to make a sponge, let it set for about 24 hours, then use it to make your

bread.< < < < < <

 

If you leave it alone without feeding it, and it escapes infection, you will

have autolysis to deal with.  that is the death and degredation of the yeast

cells.  You will get a very distinctive off-yeasty taste when this starts to

occur.  We work with this in brewing a lot when making "aged" beverages.

You have to siphon the desired beverage of the yeast silt at the bottom

occasionally to prevent that yeast bite from autolysis.

 

If you want to keep it alive, boil some (quarter cup?) malt extract or plain

sugar in a cup of water.  Cool it down and add to the yeast.  That will keep

the reproducing and eating for a couple of weeks.  You'll get CO2 release,

so don't seal the jar tight . . . put an unpowdered latex glove over the jar

with a tiny pinhole in one or two of the fingers (or a balloon if it will

fit).  You'll want to pour off the liquid every three or so weeks to keep

the dead from breaking up in it.

 

You might get a few weeks out of it, but the chance of a bacteria or mold

grows with every time you open it to feed it.  He didn't give you an

ingredient so much as a hobby :o)

 

niccolo

 

 

Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 20:04:29 +0000

From: "Holly Stockley" <hollyvandenberg at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Random food-related questions....

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

> Use it fast or feed it (water and malt extract)..  If you don't, it will

> die.  There is also a possibility that it will be infected by mold if you

> try to hold it.  It is not a starter and will not keep like a starter.  It

> is a yeast solution equivalent to dry active yeast proofed in some water.

>

> Is it actual barm (the scum off the top of the ale pot) or is it the dregs

> (the stuff on the bottom of the pot)?  If it is the latter, you may want to

> wash (dilute) and strain it.  Use a cup of it to a couple of cups of flour

> to make a sponge, let it set for about 24 hours, then use it to make your

> bread.

 

I've used it a number of times, and find that the rise time needed varies

significantly based on the strain of yeast my husband has used.

 

I've also had a perenial problem with a bitter flavor that we've attributed

to the hops.  I hadn't yet tried it with his gruit ale, as he doesn't make

it very often.  It doesn't seem to matter if I use the barm from an actively

fermenting vessel or the trub after the ale has been racked off, the problem

remains.  I've washed it, run a two-generation starter, etc., and still have

the bitterness to one degree or another.  I'd be grateful for wisdom from

wiser heads than mine!

 

That said, I have a starter on my counter made from an English Cider yeast

that is doing fabulously.  It seems to be attenuating to life in flour and

water and gets more reliable with time.  Either that, or it's gotten

contaminated with the regular bread yeast in my bake-happy kitchen and

that's slowly taking over.  No bitterness issue with this one.

 

Femke

 

 

Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 15:09:39 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] masa

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> I'm behind on my reading so apologies if this was already answered:

>

> This could be a totally mistaken impression, but here's my understanding

> of "massa".

>

> Since the ladies baked their bread each day, they would prepare the dough

> and before baking (not sure if it would be before the first or second  

> rise) a lump of the dough would be pinched off and saved.  The next day,  

> that bit of dough would be added into the new dough. Since it has the yeast

> or other leavening agents from the previous day's bread, it would help with

> the rising of the next dough.  A bit of the new dough is then saved for

> tomorrow's baking. And the process goes on.

 

"Massa" means dough, but in this case it is dough retained for leavening as

you state.  For home baking, the "pinch" of dough is a lump about the size

of your fist, approximately a cup.  For a commercial baker, it is likely a

ten pound football of dough.

 

Rather than being simply added to the new dough, the massa should be broken

apart in the liquor for the new batch, then mixed into the flour.  This

ensures that the spread of the yeast and lactobacilli through the dough.  In

commercial baking, this step would be used to create a sponge from which the

starter would be recovered, then the sponge would be broken apart in liquor

and added to the dry ingredients to form the actual dough, preventing

contamination of the starter by any of the other ingredients of the bread.

Whether or not this procedure was used by the commercial or home bakers

within SCA period is unknown.

 

A second rise is not necessary to producing bread and I have found no direct

evidence as to whether the second rise was a baking technique used in

period.  The appearance of a dough box in a 16th Century woodcut of a

baker's shop suggests, but does not confirm the use of two rises.  Second

rise was well established by the mid-19th Century and I'm still in the

process of tracing its use.

 

> Again, from my understanding *only*, ale barm is not a common leavening agent

> in Spain, but they do have yeast.  As Giano mentioned, they do have

> sourdoughs, too.  (As a side note, I've found information on winemaking in

> "Spain", but nothing so far on beers/ales.)

 

My research suggests that northern Europe with its beers and ales more

commonly used ale barm while the Mediterranean countries tended to use

sourdough starters until modern manufacture and refrigeration made yeast

commonly available.  The use of ale barm as leavening was introduced into

Italy in the 2nd Century BCE by Gallic bakers,  but apparently fell into

disuse as the empire declined.

 

> One thing I haven't yet found, that maybe another Spaniard or a Spanish

> expert could answer:  Did the Spanish use "dough troughs" like in some

> other parts of Europe?

>

> -- Constanza Marina de Huelva

 

Almost certainly.  Dough troughs appear in the household inventories of

Spanish Jews and, IIRC, there are some Moorish examples to be found in

Malaga.

 

<the end>



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