This blog was inspired by Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery which I picked up in a charity book shop when I was learning to bake. I was already convinced home-baked bread tasted better and enjoyed making it, but I hadn’t thought of it as an historical exercise too. As a historian I spend a lot of time visiting places from long ago periods, now is the chance to make things too.
An unexpected pleasure was handling and reading the books these recipes came in, a chance to read and touch works from very different times, often of exceptional beauty or antiquity, then to use their contents just the way they were intended.
Of course, the flours, yeasts and even the water, let alone the ovens and expertise, used in these recipes is all but impossible to replicate today. However, many of the original readers would be using very different yeasts, flours and equipment from the author in an era long before standardised ingredients.
All the photos on this website are taken by me (and if they show bread, I made it).