Beer Barm Bread (Manchet)

I know I’ve been talking about ale or beer barm bread off and on for a while now. In fact I made some out of mead barm too. And I’ve come up with a number of ways of making a medieval loaf. Today I put my money where my mouth is. I’ve got some barm from a local brewer and I’m making beer barm bread. Technically it’s ale barm bread, but that’s a modern technical difference, not one from period. In the pre-modern period it would just have been called beer barm.

First up, our recipe:

Fine Manchet. “Take halfe a bushell of fine flower twise boulted, and a gallon of faire luke warm water, almost a handful of white salt, and almost a pinte of yest, then temper all these together, without any more liquor, as hard as ye can handle it: then let it lie halfe an hower, then take it up, and make your Manchetts, and let them stande almost an hower in the oven. Memorandum, that of every bushell of meale may be made five and twentie caste of bread, and every loafe to way a pounde besyde the chesill.

The Good Huswife’s Handmaide for the Kitchen,

Kingdom Arts and Sciences 2018

Swearing in the competitors

This past weekend was Avacal’s Kingdom A&S Championship and The University of Avacal. It’s the first time the Championship has been done at its own event, and based on how many people I saw there, the event was a massive success. There were a ton of classes in 12 tracks, an A&S display area, and of course the Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship.

Champion of Arts and Sciences

There were two full entrants for the Championship, Her Ladyship Niesa Abdelmessah, and myself. It’s a difficult and stressful competition, but at the end, I felt very accomplished just for getting through the creation, documentation, display, presentation, and questioning. HL Niessa had an amazing display, and entered bone carving and hide tanning and I am in awe of her skills in that area. I entered a research paper on the history of bacon, and a beef stew that could have been prepared on board a Tudor naval ship. At court that evening it was announced that I had won both the highest single entry and the championship, and I swore fealty to Their Royal Majesties Kvigr Ivarsson and Svava Suanhuita.


I never have a problem getting rid of the leftovers

Here are links to my documentation:

Pre 17th Century Bacon PDF: Pre-17c Bacon

Stew On Board Ship PDF: Stew on Ship

The rest of the post is fairly photo heavy.

Tudor Beer

I was reading this article about Tudor Beer from Brew Your Own, a home brewing website, and I thought it would be fun to try. A friend of mine, Machabi Caiaphas, is a great brewer so I asked if he’d help me brew up a batch, this is the first time I’ve brewed so it was a new adventure for me.

The early English brewing industry focused primarily on ale, made with gruit (Unger 2004, 64), and expanded and commercialized significantly during the 14th century (Unger 2004, 98). At the same time hopped beer was being imported from Holland and Flanders (ibid.) primarily for the immigrant population which was more used to beer than ale. England also made something called beer, though unhopped, as early as the late 12th century (Unger 2004, 97) however it had a reputation as not being as good as ale or hopped beer. English brewers began producing hopped beer in the 15th century (Unger 99), though the operations were primarily run by immigrants, which caused other tensions (ibid.). By the 16th century the primary difference between beer and ale was the additives used to flavour it. While beer used hops, ale used herbs, spices, fruit, and sometimes even toasted bread (Unger 100). By the middle of the 16th century in most, though not all (Unger 103), areas the ale brewers and beer brewers had merged (Unger 102) though there remained a firm distinction between the definitions of ale and beer based on the additives. Many Englishmen felt that ale was the proper drink of the English while beer was for foreigners (Unger 100), however the tide was shifting in England and by the last quarter of the century beer had mostly replaced ale as the preferred beverage in England (ibid.).