The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Old English Breads

krakow2016's picture

Old English Breads



I am interested in learning about English bread. Specifically breads that incorporate interesting methods and techniques. 

Can anyone point me in the right direction?





Abe's picture

Look up Barm Breads. Breads leavened using beer barm would be old traditional English style breads. Beer Barm is the froth which forms on top of a fermenting beer. They used to use this as a leavener. 

Also you can look on Wiki for a list of British breads. That will point you in the right direction.

Petek's picture

You could search for used copies of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery. Some versions (such as mine) are labeled American Edition. It seems that the only change in that version is the addition of an Introduction and Notes to explain the differences between English and American terms and ingredients. Here's a prior thread on TFL with a discussion of the book: Elizabeth David book | The Fresh Loaf.



GaryBishop's picture

Several versions available on addall.

Dunross's picture

Thanks for mentioning this book.  I read some reviews and it sounded good so my copy is supposed to arrive this afternoon!

albacore's picture

It depends somewhat on which era you are interested in. If it is the 20th century, then the most detailed book on breads and their recipes is probably Manna by Walter Banfield. It is however written for professional bakers so you need a bit of knowledge to scale recipes down. Also it is out of print and second hand copies are quite expensive.

You could also check out The Modern Baker vols I & II by John Kirkland - worth a look and available copyright free for download.

As Abe says, earlier recipes will tend to use Brewers' barm yeast. Recipes are likely to be less detailed and  most of the mixing will be done in wooden troughs (if large scale). There is little history of using sourdough in English bread baking.

I agree with Petek to check out Elizabeth David's book; it covers a good range of English bread recipes and other raised goods. Just be careful if you make any of the recipes - sometimes the hydrations are totally wrong and salt quantities are very excessive in some, but not all, recipes.