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Recipes For Breads Baked Throughout History

Updated on January 17, 2015

Bread Recipes from History

I have always been fascinated by old cook books. Reading what was being baked years ago, the different methods and then adapting them for today has been a hobby of mine for years. Taking those old recipes, especially for bread, and researching the ingredients, measurements and methods is quite a challenge. The results have been interesting.

On this page, I will share the bread recipes, and some non-bread recipes, that are the results of this obsession. Some good, some not so good, and some, frankly, nasty. But I will share both .....

Hurdles in Converting Old Recipes

One of the hurdles with updating recipes for today is the differences in ingredients and their measurement. Our ingredients are more refined and we also tend to measure them by the cup or spoon, rather than by the gill or mutchkin. Our yeast is now in a very convenience dried form which is quite uniform. This was not always the case.

Many older cookbooks did not include information on how to bake the food. For example, I have an old Priscilla cookbook. It lists all the ingredients for a 'daily bread' but only a couple of lines on the method of incorporation and absolutely nothing on temperature and time for cooking. This was likely due to the fact that many cooks of the time were baking with wood stoves. There would be no consistent temperatures, and, in fact no handy little dial to determine what the temperature was.


One of my favourite books is 'The Cook Not Mad”, first printed in 1832 – and reprinted exactly as it was since. It is delightful to read the 'reciepts' along with the beliefs of the time. This cookbook was prefaced with;

“The science of domestick economy, especially that division which treats of culinary or kitchen duties, has ever occupied the attention of those who have “lived by eating” from the days of hungry Esau to the present moment. Every nation has its peculiar dishes, and so also has every family its own mode of cooking them. The former is attributable to location – hot and cold latitudes yielding their own vegetables, and being the resort of those animals only whose constitutions are in unison with the climate. The latter is owing to the degree of skill possessed by those who prepare the bounties of Providence for the palate.” (From The Cook Not Mad or Rational Cookery)

So true then as now. There is a large variety of what we cook and how we cook it, depending upon where we live and how good a cook we are. Some things never change....

Invitation for Recipes and Sources

I you have old recipes, converted to today's use or not, please share them. As well, I scour used book stores for old cook books. If anyone out there has a great spot to look for old books, write in and let us know.

Thank you.

The Cook Not Mad

This is the first, known, published cook book in Canada. It was first printed in 1831. My copy is orange, old, and beat up. It is the second edition from 1973.

Easy to make arrtisan bread. These recipes are just great - I and one of my friends use them frequently.

Please share recipes and book sources

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