The Realms of Talithia


musings on writing and all things medieval

Anglo-Saxon Bread

So I haven’t been around much of late. Or perhaps a little more than of late. I’ve been fighting an illness for the past ~three months. I’m not sure what will come of it (maybe surgery, maybe I live with it). I’m also the primary caregiver for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. This past week, she contracted the flu (influenza), so it’s been a challenging time here. I’m grateful I work from home. If that weren’t tiring enough, hot flashes in the middle of the night have been waking me up. I’m at the point where I either have to laugh or cry. I hardly ever cry, but this week, I’ve come close.

Le casse-croûte paysan

Le casse-croûte paysan

One would think I’d head to bed as soon as possible once the day was done, but no. As I’ve mentioned, one of my hobbies is recreating authentic medieval recipes. One of the sources I follow is the Early English Bread Project. It seems to have been abandoned (or rarely updated), which is unfortunate, but it contains a wealth of information, including articles about Anglo-Saxon bread. The articles are worth reading, but one of the more interesting points is that the flour used would have been fresh.

Well, I managed to find a source for fresh flour and ordered some. I’ve only made one attempt so far, and it was a learning experience. Prior to undertaking this endeavour, I was warned in one of my Anglo-Saxon FB groups not to be like King Alfred. Sadly, the king and I have something in common that neither of us would care to own. But I’ll be brave.

I mixed the wheat and rye and added water—too much water, so I added more flour until the consistency allowed me to knead it. Then I shaped it into what I thought was a thin loaf and put it in a griddle on the stove, since I don’t have a campfire to cook over.

It did not end well.

It was both too thick and the temperature was too high (medium, but still too high), as the outside nearly burned while the inside was still raw. What parts were edible were delicious, spread with a soft cheese as the article mentioned.

But I know what to do now—or what not to do—and will make another attempt that I am certain will be amazing. Once I have it down to a science, I’ll transfer the skills to open flame cooking so that I can take this talent on the road to my medieval reenactment events.

That will be something to write about.