[Sca-cooks] Manchet

Michael Gunter countgunthar at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 11 10:26:56 PDT 2007

>I think browning the loaf, per se, would not be a problem, as long as
>you don't have a really thick, crisp, hard crust,

My main "d'oh" reasoning is that the period mindset was to have things
as white as possible. Looking at illuminations of manchets or pretty much
any bread, they appear yellowish and not the dark brown that modern
folk seem to enjoy. So painting on the milk actually diminished the visual
appeal to a period diner.

The crust was thick and took a bit of sawing, especially on the bottom,
but it was not hard or unpleasant, it was plesantly chewy.

>but you probably do
>want a reasonably hot oven so they're light inside with plenty of
>oven spring.

The oven wasn't particularly hot. I baked it at 350 F for an hour. This
came from a modern bread recipe since there were no guidelines
to go on in the original recipe. The bread baked up just fine although
the inside was dense and chewy and not light. Still, it felt like real bread
should feel. Like the true staff of life. This was bread that could be 
into proper breadcrumbs. Were I to make it again I'd add a little more
salt, but as I explained at the demo there aren't any references in period
manuals about spreading butter or anything on bread. I have seen
references about bread being sprinkled with a little salt. This bread
bore that out. A pinch of salt would have really brought out the flavor.

>I STR Gervase Markham discussing manchets and saying they should be
>slashed with a sharp blade around the waist, or circumference, of the
>loaf, before baking, and this makes them expand like a cylindrical
>bellows into a sort of hatbox shape, with a nearly flat top and
>nearly straight, vertical sides.

I think that would have worked for this recipe. The bread rose
in the oven which caused the scar on one side. Making it more of
a cylindar and slashing the sides would have prevented this. There
was also the air bubble at the top that either slashing or dimpling
the top would have prevented.

>Amazing, BTW, how much Dunkin' Donuts French Rolls look like manchets.

I'd love to find a good Dunkin' Donuts or Winchell's here in Texas.
In Dallas it is all either Korean donut shops or Krispy Kreame.



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