The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Request for information on history of Sourdough baking in North America

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JOHN01473's picture
JOHN01473

Request for information on history of Sourdough baking in North America

I am interested in the history of Sourdough baking in North America. Can anyone help direct me to any reliable source material? I am interested in the origins and developments.

i wondered if it dated back in North America to the Plymouth Pilgrims or before them.

thanks

The Baking Bear

 

 

loafette's picture
loafette

This has been one of my very favorite sites, for 'food info', for many years...:

 

http://www.foodtimeline.org/

I tend to 'get lost', in reveries, while reading...lol!

Enjoy!

Laura

JOHN01473's picture
JOHN01473

Thanks Laura,

great link - very enlightening.

i forgot Christopher Columbus, so have revised my thinking.

John

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

was before the later one at Plymouth.

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

it would have been the default method of baking in the middle ages and before that, because it would have been easier and more reliable to make and maintain your own yeast culture than to get some from a brewer. In fact, isn't it true that the brewer and baker were often the same person?

Baking with baker's yeast is a fairly modern option as I understand it. It was a byproduct of the industrial revolution in which it became practical to manufacture and distribute foodstuffs and other items instead of sourcing everything locally.

I did go to the foodtimeline.org link above, and there's some fun stuff there, but their coverage of sourdough is a bit peculiar.

 

loafette's picture
loafette

There HAS always been 'soured/fermented' dough...there are tons of references, mostly having to do with the making of beer...lol!, and the 'accidental' discovery that the barm mix would act to ferment breads...one of my favorite sayings, or quotes (forget where I'd first seen or heard it), is that bread is just solid beer, and beer is just liquid bread. So, yeah, there is probably some clay tablet out there, with cuneiform inscriptions on it, where someone excitedly wrote about their marvelous discovery! Right next to how many oxen he owned!

 

Laura ;0)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

 1492 Legend has it Christopher Columbus brings a small crock of sourdough starter to the New World. Unleavened breads made from cornmeal, however, go on to be the first breads embraced by European settlers in the Americas.
 1602 Eighteen years before the arrival of the Mayflower, British sea captain Bartholomew Gosnold plants the country's first wheat crop in Massachusetts. Within a century, amber waves of grain grow from Maryland to New England.