How to Bake Bread Like it’s 1799

The oven in readiness for its transformation

During the cold snows of 2011 I spent an awful lot of time staring into the fire, speculating on times past. It’s the sort of thing that automatically seems to happen when one lives in an old house – at least, that’s what happened to me. It’s a pleasant pastime to speculate when you’ve got all the comforts of the present. One evening I felt so drawn to the fire I cooked my simple dinner there. I thought about all the generations of women who had cooked their innumerable, calorie rich meals over fires in that very place, and next thing you know, I had a women’s retreat going in front of that same fire.

The table in front of the fire for the women's retreat.

As one of our main activities we cooked two soups and baked bread in the fireplace. The soups were great – while the bread was wonderfully crusty on the outside but rather doughy inside.

Enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors

It was still fairly edible, and the camaraderie made it all worth it.

Our retreat leader was a living history interpreter in her former life. She specialized in open fire cooking.

Looking upward inside the oven to see how it's constructed.


About skgriswold

My love of history and art was nurtured by living in a wonderful significant historical house for much of my life.
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