Medieval Style Bread part 4

21. part 2

Hmmm… I think I should start giving these posts better names.  Like Rolof.

Anyway.  The next part of my mission is accomplished.  I made bread this week that seems to fit the descriptions.

It is thick, and hard to kneed, and has a tight enough crumb that I can easily see the stale version being good for trenchers.  It’s also whiteish.  Although I haven’t done my flour experiments yet, I imagine that this bread would not be dissimilar in colour to what was eaten in the 16th century.

I kinda winged it this time round.  Here is the recipe that I used (created retroactivly):

Medieval Style Bread Part 3

21.

Ok, so I made the first batch of bread yesterday, and learned a lot.

In kneeding it was definatly “as hard as ye can handle it”, as I had to wet my hands twice while working it for it to kneed properly.  The sponge was a bit disapointing.  The yeast culture seemed to separate from the water and slow down.  This must be why people recomend that you stir the yeast every few hours when doing a low yeast content sponge.  Also, I’ve read that if you let the yeast sit in water too long that it exhausts the yeast, but I suspect that’s if you’re not adding the flour  for the yeast to eat.  I think I’m going to bump the amount of yeast back up to where I had it before.  I’m also going to decrease the length of time I let the sponge sit, as with a full ammount of yeast I just have to wake it up, rather than trying to breed it.

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Medieval Style Bread Part 2

Only a few days later, and I already have to update the post.

On Yeast:

I’ve been doing some research into yeast and have come to the conclusion that I am using way too much yeast in this dough.

Small amounts of yeast will reproduce rapidly given the right stimulants.  So, if I decrease the amount of yeast, but let the sponge work for longer (a few hours instead of 20 min) then the resulting yeast will be stronger, and I won’t need to use as much.

Some people seem to recommend using 1 tsp of yeast in a sponge to get the same effect of a normal 1 tbsp.

I am thinking 1 1/2 tsp, or 1/2 a tbsp instead.  It’s a little more, but this should work.  My plan is to make the sponge in the morning, let it grow all day, then make the dough in the evening and let it rise all night, then make the bread the next day.

A very medieval system.

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Medieval Style Bread Part 1

So I’ve decided to give medieval bread a shot.  Everyone knew it was coming eventually, it’s the natural progression from my other baking projects.

I want to work on this in steps though.  This post will be about the theories behind the bread, and then I will have future posts about different aspects of it.

Now, if you’re wondering if this counts towards my A&S 50, the answer is: “Kinda”.  In order for a project to count I need to create something.  For years I’ve done research but never done anything with it.  Part of why I wanted to do A&S 50 was so that I would start actually producing something from my research.  As such, my bread experiments will only count when I actually make the bread, rather than just researching it.

Now, on to Bread.

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July 8

Had a fun practice time on Thursday.  Lions Gate practice has been moved to two hours, so it now runs from 8-10pm.  I still have to head home at about 9 in order to be home and functional the next day, this created a problem in that I would only get an hour of practice.  So I went over to Blood and Iron on Front Street in New West (not that far from Saperton Hall where Lions Gate Practice is).  I hung out with Lee, the head instructor there and talked rapier and research, then did some warm-up and drills.  I did cutting drills for about an hour, and worked on accuracy and control.

After that I went over to Lions Gate practice and did sparing for about 45 minutes total, against Godfrey and a gentleman I hadn’t fought before.  I had a blast, working on integrating cutting, and trying different things.

When I started this fencing journal I had a few goals:

  • To learn to use the advantages of a shorter blade against the disadvantages of a longer blade
  • To learn better use of the dagger in both defence and offence
  • To increase my aggression

Since then I’ve added a few goals:

  • Knowing my thrusting range better
  • Controlling my cuts better

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Apicius text New York Academy of Medicine

The Food of the Late Roman Legion

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This was my entry for Avacal/Tir Righ War, which is a war between neighboring principalities.  I was thankful to get to use a friends full camping kitchen to prepare these dishes instead of ours.  The dishes aren’t very complicated, but with four dishes that all had to be ready about the same time it was tough.  The judges loved the taste of all of the dishes, which I was surprised about, I wasn’t expecting them all to taste as good as they did.  I lost some points by not using period cooking vessles or heat source, though I did use period cooking methods.  But I gained points by making my own liquamen and using spelt instead of a more modern grain.

I’ll be doing more research into period grains in the future.  It was something that I did at the last minute for this entry, but I can’t imagine how bad the biscuts would have been had they been made with bread flour instead of cracked and lightly ground spelt.

Summary

Roman legionary food from the fourth century.  The recipes I have created are adapted from recipes in The Roman Cookery Book: a Critical Translation of The Art of Cooking by Apicus. Which is a translation of a fourth century Roman cookbook.  The originals of the recipes I’ve adapted are later in the documentation.

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A&S 50 part III

I’ve decided that since my projects are growing beyond single dish experiments I’m going to change how I count for A&S 50.  Instead of counting multiple recipes as one I will be counting each recipe I do.  This is partly to save my sanity, and partly because I just realized that I made five roman dishes for one entry.  That was a lot of research, redaction, and adaptation for just one thing.  So I think Read more…

June 23

Had a great practice tonight.  We started out with work on interception parries, something that I need to work a lot on.  We did them for about an hour or so, and then I worked with Sebastian on slow work.  Some great work on it, I haven’t worked with him in a while.  I noticed a significant difference.  I was feeling more confident, and was able to analyze appropriately.  We did slow work for about Read more…