Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or Word formats.

Gyngerbrede-art - 6/30/17


"Gyngerbrede" by Mistress Leoba of Lecelade.


NOTE: See also the files: gingerbread-msg, breadcrumbs-msg, honey-msg, ginger-msg, saffron-msg, cinnamon-msg, pepper-spices-msg, sandalwood-msg.





This article was added to this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium, with the permission of the author.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



You can find more from this author in her blog at:




by Mistress Leoba of Lecelade




Take a quart of hony, & sethe it, & skeme it clene; take Safroun, pouder Pepir, & throw ther-on; take grayted Bred, & make it so chargeaunt that it wol be y-lechyd; then take pouder Canelle, & straw ther-on y-now; then make yt square, lyke as thou wolt leche yt; take when thou lechyst hyt, an caste Box leves a-bouyn, y-stykyd ther-on, on clowys. And if thou wolt haue it Red, coloure it with Saunderys y-now.
MS. Harleian 279, Leche Vyandez, 35.


Ginger Bread.


Take a quart of honey and seethe it and skim it clean. Take saffron, powdered pepper, and throw thereon. Take grated bread and make it so stiff that it will be cut in slices. Then take cinnamon powder and strew thereon enough. Then make it square as though thou wouldst slice it. Take, when thou have sliced it, and cast box leaves above, stuck thereon in cloves. And if thou will have it red, colour it with sandalwood enough.


Gyngerbrede is a very well known recipe from medieval times; it was regarded as a luxurious treat to give to honoured guests, being packed with expensive spices. However, as with the recipe above, some recipes don't actually contain ginger! It may be implied by the name, or this recipe may be a variant on others that contain ginger. I have chosen to add the ginger.




500 ml honey

500 g bread crumbs (approx)

1 tbs fresh or powdered ginger (optional)

1/2 tsp sandalwood (optional)

1/2 tbs cinnamon

1/4 tsp white pepper

Pinch saffron


To garnish:

Branches from a box tree

Whole cloves




1   Bring the honey to a boil and skim off any scum.

2   Keeping the pan over very low heat, add the spices except the cinnamon, and sandalwood if using, adjusting the quantities to suit your taste.

3   Slowly beat in the bread crumbs. Add just enough bread crumbs to achieve a thick, stiff, well-blended mass You will know you have enough bread crumbs when the mix becomes hard to stir; this may take more or less bread crumbs than the amount specified.

4   Remove from the heat and turn the mixture onto a lightly greased shallow baking tray. Press the gingerbread evenly out into the pan.

5   Leave to cool in the fridge. When cool, sprinkle with cinnamon.

6   Gently ease the ginger bread out of the tray, and cut into small squares.

7   To serve, garnish with sprigs of box, and whole cloves.




    "Box tree" refers to plants of the Buxus genus. The wood of this genus is very dense, and can be used in woodturning. Other Gingerbread recipes suggest to serve it in boxes made from box wood. (Renfrow, 2003, 264).



Further Reading


Austin, Thomas (1856). Two Fifteenth Century Cookbooks.

This contains two complete fifteenth century cooking manuscripts, including Harleian 279, and excerpts from others.


Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books: Harleian Ms. 279 (Ab. 1430), & Harl. Ms. 4016 (Ab. 1450), with Extracts from Ashmole Ms. 1429, Laud Ms. 553, & Douce Ms. 55


Renfrow, Cindy (2003). Take a Thousand Eggs or More.

This contains easy to follow recipes taken directly from the manuscripts above, and also has an excellent glossary.


Copyright 2017 by Christine Lawrie. <clawrie1 at bigpond.net.au>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org