Baking Bread in Georgian Times
Between 1714 and 1830, the Georgian era and the Regency period saw changes in bread baking. This was a time of invention and ingenuity which saw a shift to modern living that would be recognised today.
Grains used – Common Wheat, Soft Wheat (now also known as Canadian Wheat).
Flour types – Wholemeal flour, Strong white flour and flour with additives.
Most housed built at this time had ranges which incorporated baking ovens. For the first time in history most people had the potential to bake bread at home. Larger houses would have kitchens with dedicated coal fired ovens which could remain hot all day long.
After 1760, sandwiches were made as a regular food for lunch and snack meals. This required a good quality serrated bread knife to allow thin slices of bread to be cut. By 1807, the bread baking tin was commonly used by industrial bakers, giving an even shaped rectangular loaf more suited to slicing. It was not long before sliced bread was appearing in bakers shops. Legislation about the weight of bread sold by weight gave us the bakers dozen – 13 loaves for the price of 12 – to avoid inadvertent prosecutions for underweight loaves.
Towards the end of the 18th century, breakfast would be taken at 9am, afternoon tea at around 2pm and dinner at 6pm onwards. This was not previously the case, but with improved lighting in houses, such changed to tradition were simple to make.
Wholemeal loaf – The standard loaf was a round loaf or a farmhouse style loaf with an egg wash.
White loaf – Made from strong white flour, this bread was also made as a round loaf, often chalk or alum would be added to make the flour stretch to more loaves, increasing profit.
Square loaf – With the introduction of bread tins, bakers could bake 30 loaves in an oven that was fit for only 10 round loaves. Slicing this bread gave even and regular shaped slices.
Stafford Rolls – A local soft and compact roll in the shape of a Stafford knot.