WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sugar Sops

Much ado has been made of pandemic baking. According to yesterday’s CBS Sunday Morning here in the States, worldwide vanilla consumption has risen over 300% because of it. Good thing I decided to try my hand at making my own in February this year, although I did choose bourbon rather than vodka as my base. My vanilla has a definite kick body blow to it. My taste-testers have not been complaining, however.

Let’s talk 19th Century baking this week.

Sugar Sops

Toasted bread soked [sic] in ale, sweetened with sugar, and grated nutmeg: it is eaten with cheese.

English Muffins

Mix two pounds of flour with two eggs, two ounces of butter melted in a pint of milk and four or five spoonfuls of yeast; beat it thoroughly, and set it to rise two or three hours. Bake on a hot hearth, in flat cakes. When done on one side turn them.

Mrs. Rundell, A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1806

Sponge Cake

Take a lb of fine flour well dried. Then take a lb of butter and work it very well with your hands till it is soft. Then work into it half a pound of sugar. Then take 12 eggs putting away half the whites, then work them also into your butter and sugar. Then strew your flour into your butter, sugar and eggs, by little and little, till all be in, then strew in 2 oz of caraway seeds. Butter your pan and bake it in a quiet oven, – an hour and a half will bake it.

Martha Lloyd’s Household Book

Hot Cross Buns

To make Hot Cross Buns put two pounds and a half of fine flour into a wooden bowl, and set it before the fire to warm; then add half a pound of sifted sugar, some coriander seed, cinnamon and mace powdered fine; melt half a pound of butter in half a pint of milk; when it is as warm as it can bear the finger, mix with it three table spoonsful of very thick yeast, and a little salt; put it to the flour, mix it to a paste, and make the buns as directed in the above receipt … [for common buns … make it into buns, put them on a tin, set them before the fire for a quarter of an hour, cover over with flannel, then brush them with very warm milk, and bake them of a nice brown in a moderate oven] put a cross on the top, not very deep.

Five Thousand Receipts, Colin MacKenzie, 1825

Jane Austen’s Bread Pudding


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