Historic Mixed Grain Bread

Mixed grain breads were made with a combination of grains, wheat, barley, oats, and rye. At other times, other things were included such as potatoes, rice, beans, or even peas. Mixed breads were generally considered far inferior in taste and texture to wheat breads.

Today we are going to be making a mixed grain bread made from wheat flour, rye flour, and barley flour. It would have been a much less expensive loaf to produce intended mostly for commoners. It would have been found in England and the American colonies.

Recipe source: “Savouring The Past” by Jas Townsend and Son

 

Let’s start by talking about yeast. Bakers in the 18th century got their yeast from the brewer. The brewer collected the yeast by skimming the croizen or the foam that is on the top of a fermenting batch of ale. Bakers would then cultivate this yeast. It was called barm and it was in a liquid form.

To make your own barm you need some ale, either a home brew or a good imported ale. You could use water, but ale makes a better product with a more authentic flavored bread when you’re finished. In a clean bottle place about a half a cup of wheat flour and add 1 ½ teaspoons of dry active yeast.

Add a 12 ounce bottle of ale and give it a really good shake to get all the dry ingredients mixed up. Once you’ve got it all good and mixed up you can set it aside to give it 15 or 20 minutes to activate.

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Historic Mixed Grain Bread
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Course Breads
Cuisine American, English
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breads
Cuisine American, English
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
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Instructions
  1. Mix the 8 ounces each of Wheat, Rye and Barley flour in a large bowl
  2. Add about a tablespoon of salt and mix it up
  3. Now using the instructions at the top lets add our barm and about 4-6 ounces of water and mix until it makes a nice sticky, but firm dough.
  4. Kneed this dough until it becomes very elastic and then form it into a loaf
  5. Sprinkle your pie pan with a little bit of flour, put the loaf in there, and cover it with natural linen. This is a whole grain dough, so it’s going to take quite a while to rise, even overnight. We want it to rise until it’s about twice as big as when it started.
  6. When your bread is ready to bake, make sure to preheat your oven. If you’re using an earthen oven, you want to get that up to full temperature and then let it cool down to bread temperatures. If you don’t have your wood fired oven yet, you can use a standard home oven. You want to make sure to preheat it to about 400 degrees.
  7. Your bread’s going to take 30-45 minutes to bake depending on the temperature of your oven. When it’s done, it should sound hollow when tapped and you should let it cool at least an hour before slicing.
Recipe Notes

You know, the crust might be tough, but for all their complaints about this not being white bread, this mixed grain bread is very good.

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Travis Toler

Son of James Ivan Toler and Carol Ann Vadeboncoeur Toler

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