Friday Bread Basket 2/4/22
This is the right way edition
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain.
The Night Oven
Emma Laperruque wrote a great piece for Food52 recently about the mental and physical toil that late nite/early morning schedules can take on bakers. She spoke to a bunch of wonderful bakers about their experiences and approaches to managing the craziness of the baker’s schedule, among them Roxana Jullapat of LA’s Friends and Family (and author of Mother Grains) and Apt. 2 Bread’s Carla Finley:
“It can really affect your social life if you're not careful. The early hours can be isolating if most of your friends work normal nine-to-fives,” said Carla Finley, who worked at She Wolf Bakery and Il Buco Alimentari, and now bakes out of her Brooklyn apartment. “But it can also feel empowering, and I have found that many bakers enjoy the solitude.”
The Rights of Pan(cakes)
When historian David Armitage tweeted a photograph of a handwritten pancake recipe found in political philosopher John Locke’s archives in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Marissa Nicosia—of the food history website Rare Cooking—decided to give them a try herself. Here’s the original recipe:
Take sweet cream 3/4 + pint. Flower a
quarter of a pound. Eggs
four7 leave out two4 of
the whites. Beat the Eggs very well. Then put in
the flower, beat it a quarter of an hower. Then
put in six spoonfulls of the Cream, beat it a litle
Take new sweet butter half a pound. Melt it to oyle, &
take off the skum, power in all the clear by degrees
beating it all the time. Then put in the rest of
your cream. beat it well. Half a grated nutmeg
& litle orangeflower water. Frie it without butter.
This is the right way
Nicosia highlights how the written recipe contains evidence of Locke’s reaching toward a final, perfected recipe that was “the right way”:
From the start, I was intrigued by the cross-outs and other notes in the recipe. It appears that it was first drafted (or prepared) using significantly fewer eggs. The modifier “new” was added before “sweet butter” at some point. Locke may have written the final note “This is the right way” as part of the initial draft or after the recipe was prepared. Locke was attentive to the details of separating and whisking eggs as well as adding just the right amount of orange blossom water (“litle”) and nutmeg (“Half a grated nutmeg”) – an exceptional, expensive amount.
In the post, she includes a modernized version of the recipe that remains true to Locke’s and is, in her words, “absolutely delicious”. I haven’t heard whether or not The Flour Ambassador has made this recipe yet, but I’m looking forward to her review.
A Good Bread Tweet
That’s it for this week’s Bread Basket. I hope you all have a peaceful, pancake-filled weekend. See you next week!