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Charles Kaiser
04-06-2009, 09:02 AM
Hallo Kameraden,
I am looking for recipes for soft bread, used by US- Troops. I tried the searchfunktion of the Forum, and goggle, but I found nothing usefull . Although I need the weight, the Form (Round,rectangular or what?), and the measurements.

Matt Woodburn
04-06-2009, 10:01 AM
Ich hetta guern brot bitte.

Sorry if I mis-spelled that.

Try these links.

Fort Scott (http://www.nps.gov/archive/fosc/bake_info2.htm)

Fort Laramie (http://www.breadnet.net/army.html)

J.H.Berger
04-07-2009, 05:18 AM
Vielen Dank Matt,
it would be interesting to know what kind of flour was used. whole weat or rye and wheat mixed.........

ephraim_zook
04-07-2009, 11:32 AM
sehr geehrte Herren!

Click the link for a few pages from C.L. Kilburn's Notes on Preparing Stores for the US Army.... There may be more than you want to know about flour here. :-)

http://rejmyzie.googlepages.com/Flourandbread.pdf

Ron Myzie

Cyclesmith
04-08-2009, 03:22 AM
more so than flour and stuff... cultivate your own wild yeast. Its far more authentic for peroid bread than that mostly dead dried yeast you buy at the store. Its really easy to do and only really takes a few days and you can keep it for years. Plus you will get a much more authentic loaf with a unique taste. If you fear tending your own colony of yeast than at least make a good sponge. Let the sponge sit in your fridge for 12 hours or so to more closely replicate wild yeast. There is a bakery in France that has been using the same sponge starter nice Napoleon.

As far as an "offical" army recipe. The earliest one that I have seen (and I never really looked to hard) was from WWI which was Flour, Sugar, Salt, CompressedYeast and Cottonseed oil (or Lard). Loafs were round or oval shaped. And were a little more than 2 pounds of dough per loaf. Compressed yeast is most closely like our modern day "bakers yeast" which is a block of live yeast (kinda looks like a block of clay)... not the mostly dead dry powdered stuff at the store. Bakers yeast is not common (as its almost exclusively use by professional bakers), and the yeast will die so it can't be stored very long like the dried stuff... but you can find it at specialty stores and on the web.

Hank Trent
04-08-2009, 09:07 AM
more so than flour and stuff... cultivate your own wild yeast. Its far more authentic for peroid bread than that mostly dead dried yeast you buy at the store.

Okay, I'll bite. Why?

Yes, housewives in the period often stored yeast as a liquid, in addition to the equally-period options of purchasing fresh brewer's yeast or baker's yeast, or keeping yeast in dried cakes. And from all the complaints about sour bread made by poor housekeepers, even their better strains of yeast were getting contaminated by random wild yeast. But I don't think the majority of housewives or bakeries were using wild yeast on purpose, or starting their yeast by capturing wild yeast.

The following discussion is from an 1854 hydropathic cookbook, so it's written from the point of view of a health nut who considered most bread unhealthy. I'm presenting it not as a typical person's view, but as a discussion by someone who was trying to look at period bread with fresh eyes, outside of typical period norms.


I find that the majority of cookbooks recommend distillery or brewer's yeast for domestic bread-making, because it is stronger. It is precisely for this reason that I object to it... When brewer's yeast is employed, the fermentation is so rapid, that after the loaf appears to be light enough, before the process is arrested in the ordinary method of management, some of the constituents of the flour or meal--all of the sugar, probably, and a part of the starch and gluten--will be chemically destroyed, rendering the bread of a strong, harsh, and bitterish taste. Source (http://books.google.com/books?id=5vAqAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA157&lr=&as_brr=0&as_pt=ALLTYPES&output=html).

I've gotten what I think to be an exaggerated example of that taste from using too much modern dried yeast in a period bread recipe, not realizing it was stronger than period yeast. Rather than being "mostly dead," it seems way too fast/strong. But I dunno.

I've found his generalization to be true, that most period cookbooks call for brewer's yeast, and in fact recommend its flavor. Eliza Leslie wrote:


Then take half a pint of good strong yeast--brewer's or baker's yeast, if you can get it fresh; if not, you must use some that has been left from your last making, provided it is not the least sour... Those who live in towns where there are breweries have no occasion to make their own yeast during the brewing season, and in summer they can every day supply themselves with fresh yeast from the baker's. It is only in country places where there are neither brewers or bakers that it is experiend to make it at home. Source (http://books.google.com/books?pg=RA3-PA406&lr=&id=FLYpAAAAYAAJ&as_brr=0&as_pt=ALLTYPES&output=html)

So, bottom line, how do you conclude that wild yeast is far more authentic? Personally, I'd say that even modern dried yeast used in small quantities to make liquid yeast is more typical than a "wild yeast" flavor. But the subject seems more complicated to me, because I don't know how modern brewer's yeast compares to period brewer's yeast--was it typically more "wild" tasting in the period? And that's without even trying to separate out period commercially baked bread from homemade bread, and city vs. country.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

ephraim_zook
04-08-2009, 11:38 AM
You can get a rough idea of size and shape of soft bread loaves from this photo from the Library of Congress. There is a higher-resolution pic available.

http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/cwp/4a40000/4a40100/4a40140r.jpg

Ron Myzie

Cyclesmith
04-08-2009, 12:01 PM
Okay, I'll bite. Why?

Yes, housewives in the period often stored yeast as a liquid, in addition to the equally-period options of purchasing fresh brewer's yeast or baker's yeast, or keeping yeast in dried cakes. And from all the complaints about sour bread made by poor housekeepers, even their better strains of yeast were getting contaminated by random wild yeast. But I don't think the majority of housewives or bakeries were using wild yeast on purpose, or starting their yeast by capturing wild yeast.

The following discussion is from an 1854 hydropathic cookbook, so it's written from the point of view of a health nut who considered most bread unhealthy. I'm presenting it not as a typical person's view, but as a discussion by someone who was trying to look at period bread with fresh eyes, outside of typical period norms.



I've gotten what I think to be an exaggerated example of that taste from using too much modern dried yeast in a period bread recipe, not realizing it was stronger than period yeast. Rather than being "mostly dead," it seems way too fast/strong. But I dunno.

I've found his generalization to be true, that most period cookbooks call for brewer's yeast, and in fact recommend its flavor. Eliza Leslie wrote:



So, bottom line, how do you conclude that wild yeast is far more authentic? Personally, I'd say that even modern dried yeast used in small quantities to make liquid yeast is more typical than a "wild yeast" flavor. But the subject seems more complicated to me, because I don't know how modern brewer's yeast compares to period brewer's yeast--was it typically more "wild" tasting in the period? And that's without even trying to separate out period commercially baked bread from homemade bread, and city vs. country.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net


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Modern "Bewers Yeast" is NOT the same thing that you are refering to... in fact modern "bewers yeast" should NOT be used for cooking. It won't rise your bread at all. Unless you goal is bitter flavored hacktack... then go for it!!! Modern "bewers yeast" and "bakers yeast" are not interchangable terms.


Brewer's yeast is a non-leavening yeast used in brewing beer and can be eaten as a food supplement for its healthful properties (as you would wheat germ), unlike baker's yeast which is used for leavening. Brewer's years has a bitter hops flavor. Nutritional yeast is similar to brewer's yeast, but not as bitter because it is grown on molasses. You should not use a live yeast (i.e. baking yeast) as a food supplement because it continues to grow in the intestine and uses up vitamin B instead of replenishing it.

So if your goal is to create authentic home made bread and closely mimic the technique, not to mention texture and flavor, of authentic peroid bread. spending all the time worring about the flour is only going to get you so far.... yeast is important. You would either cultivate your own yeast or you would buy "starter" from your local bakery which is esentally the same thing.

If your goal is to make authentic commercial bread than bakers yeast is the way to go... compressed yeast and "dried" brick yeast were used... both of which more closely reflect our bakers yeast which is compressed into bricks and dried to about 70% total moisture.

Also the technique changes depending on which yeast you use.... if you use dry active yeast (which only about 8% of the yeast is still alive in that little packet you buy)... you have to use this long bread making technique that involves proofing the yeast and multiple rises over a couple hours to allow the yeast to mutiply to actually do its job. If you used that same technique with wild yeast, bakers yeast, or instant yeast (bread machine yeast)... you would have a big dough blob take over your kitchen.

As I recommended in my orginal post if you are not into sustaining a colony of yeast or buying bakers yeast then at least make a good sponge and let it sit for 12 hours to more closely replicate real starter. I should add on here... to use instant yeast (bread machine yeast) in your sponge... not dry active yeast... and sit it in your fridge to slow the yeast down. If you left it out on the counter you would be beating it back with a broom stick a few hours later.

Hank Trent
04-08-2009, 01:53 PM
Modern "Bewers Yeast" is NOT the same thing that you are refering to... in fact modern "bewers yeast" should NOT be used for cooking. It won't rise your bread at all.

Huh? But yeast has to be alive to give beer a head.

Wait, do you mean the nutritional supplement kind of brewer's yeast? I'm talking about the kind that's actually used by modern brewers. Surely something by Wyeast (http://www.wyeastlab.com/)would make bread rise today just as it did in the 1860s. It's even sold in liquid form.

But check out the different strains (http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain.cfm) they offer. Yikes! Some of those are surely descendants of the yeast strains that were common in Civil War era breweries in American cities, but which ones? Any suggestions?

It's one reason I haven't invested in brewer's yeast yet for period bread, and instead just use what's cheap and available at the store, because I don't know what's more accurate.


spending all the time worring about the flour is only going to get you so far.... yeast is important. You would either cultivate your own yeast or you would buy "starter" from your local bakery which is esentally the same thing.

Essentially, yes. Though I'd argue that random wild yeast can give bread a sour-dough flavor, depending on what floats out of the air, while a baker would probably have selected and cultivated a better tasting strain of yeast. Wouldn't he? I don't know. I don't know what period yeast would have been like, other than bad bread was described as tasting more "sour" than good bread.


Also the technique changes depending on which yeast you use.... if you use dry active yeast (which only about 8% of the yeast is still alive in that little packet you buy)... you have to use this long bread making technique that involves proofing the yeast and multiple rises over a couple hours to allow the yeast to mutiply to actually do its job. If you used that same technique with wild yeast, bakers yeast, or instant yeast (bread machine yeast)... you would have a big dough blob take over your kitchen.

True. Since the "long bread making technique" is often specified in period recipes, I've tried to follow those recipes with dry active yeast in the little packets (not bread machine yeast), and my personal experience is that it's way too fast unless much less is used than the package specifies, but that may just depend on the brand, the freshness, etc.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Cyclesmith
04-08-2009, 04:46 PM
Well I don’t want to get in a huge discussion about Brewer’s Yeast as its not really relevant to Baking Bread… suffice it to say that there are many Saccharomyces species are used to brew beer, depending on whether it is a top or bottom fermenting beer. And there are different genuses of yeast, especially for specialty beers like a Belgian wheat beer for example. If you take any of these types of yeast and de-activate it… you have nutritional yeast. Which is what you will get if you buy “Brewers Yeast” at the store… which is why I said not to use it. Now if you go to a brewery and get the yeast that they are actively using to make beer, then yes you can make bread with it… but that is simply hypothetical as I don’t know anyone who has ever tried to get yeast from a beer company.

Now the active yeast brewers use (like the website you found) is very cool stuff… These companies go through great pains (scientifically, in a very modern laboratory sense) to create very pure and controlled strains of yeast and different species and geneses of yeast for different types of beer. It is very important to use these pure yeasts in brewing… wild yeast would be far too… well, wild!! Wild yeast would not be consistent and predictable enough for use in brewing. Now how one could make the assumption that these highly scientific and genetically engineered yeasts are closer to authentic period yeasts… is… well… a difficult position to make. Then you could throw in the difference between Beer Yeast and Wine Yeast and really make it confusing for everyone.

However, these highly purified yeasts are simply not necessary for baking bread… as its not nearly as precise a process as making beer or wine. And therefore the expense in procuring these types of purified yeasts is in my opinion… a waste. And if anything it gets you farther away from period yeast… not closer. Cultivating wild yeast take a Mason Jar, water and flour and about 3 days… and yes… if you use the sourdough method you will get sourdough bread. But you don’t have to make sourdough bread… or you can control the level of “sourness” even if you are using wild yeast. Its all in the technique.

Now again I will stress and expand on… if you don’t want to cultivate yeast, or buy bakers yeast, or… buy genetic engineered purified yeast made in a lab http://www.wyeastlab.com/au_labtour.cfm, or… steal yeast from Miller Brewing company… then make sure you make a good sponge. Use instant yeast (Bread Machine Yeast) and let the sponge sit in your fridge for 12 hours. This will help create the texture and flavor and method of authentic bread. And will get you pretty close to an authentic starter. But for literally pennies… cultivating wild yeast is easy and authentic.

Charles Kaiser
04-10-2009, 06:44 AM
Hallo Kameraden,
Thats great ! Thank you for those fine Information. Next Event we will have real Authentic Bread !

Charles Kaiser
04-12-2009, 07:29 AM
Hallo Kameraden
Another Question:
Flour. Does it mostly mean Wheat- Flour? You can read the word Flour everywhere, but not what kind of.
Indian Flour, did it mean corn- flour ?.
How common was Rye- Flour?

Charles Heath
04-12-2009, 09:39 AM
Hallo Kameraden
Another Question:
Flour. Does it mostly mean Wheat- Flour? You can read the word Flour everywhere, but not what kind of.
Indian Flour, did it mean corn- flour ?.
How common was Rye- Flour?

Charles,

Flour generally means wheat flour. This would be the all-purpose flour instead of the self-rising variety. Indian meal, cornmeal, corn meal, etc., are the same thing. These days finding "unbolted" (unsifted) corn meal can be a challenge at times. Rye flour does not seem to be as common as wheat. Buckwheat flour is common enough, but makes better flapjacks than bread.

The year 2006 was the hobby's "Year of the Bake Oven," as bake ovens were in production at the Winter 1864 2006 event in NY, Fort Granger (Matt had a triple oven set-up) in TN, and White Oak Museum in VA. Pages 240-244 of Craighill's 1862 Army Officer's Pocket Companion give instructions on how to make a couple of varieties of field bake ovens. This link to a Googlebook may work:

Craighill, 1862 (http://books.google.com/books?id=qEltF12UCQwC&printsec=titlepage&source=gbs_summary_r)

This comes full circle. Inside this small museum at Germanna Ford is a fine collection of fascine knives/billhooks from Germany, and good information about baking in the old fashion:

http://www.germanna.org/

We still buy loaves of bread from a Mr. Burkholder. :)

Pvt Schnapps
04-12-2009, 01:49 PM
On page 15 of The Army Ration (Van Nostrand 1864 -- available on Google Books), Eben Norton Horsford describes how to bake soft bread using self-raising flour (an ingredient which also receives mention in Hardtack and Coffee, p. 226):

"The prepared flour having substantial phosphoric acid, and its equivalent bicarbonate of soda, dry and finely pulverized, mixed with it, and to this mixture a quantity of salt added to suit the taste, is a self-raising flour, which, on the addition of water, may be stirred to a sticky dough and baked immediately. The halves of an old canteen constitute both bake-pan and oven; one half, containing the loaf of dough, is imbedded in hot ashes, and the other is inverted over it and covered with hot ashes. Such dough may even be wrapped in wet paper or leaves, and baked in the ashes."

While the army never did issue self-raising flour, Billings describes it as "bought quite generally" from sutlers by eastern Federals toward the end of the war. More important, we can apply Horsford's description of how to bake it to other flours leavened only with salt or wood ash (see Camp Cookery by Horace Kephart, p. 112 for using the white of wood ashes as a substitute for baking soda).

Enjoy!