[Sca-cooks] Manchet

Adele de Maisieres ladyadele at paradise.net.nz
Tue Sep 11 14:27:37 PDT 2007

Michael Gunter wrote:

>Just for reference, does anyone have the data on a "hot" woodburning
>oven, such as when the coals are first raked out and the roasts are put
>in as compared to a "soft" or cooler oven? Is 400 about right? What
>temp would constitute a "soft" oven?

I'm not certain.  I know you _can_ heat up a brick bread oven _much_ 
hotter than 400F.  A quick peruse of the 'net suggested that some pizza 
bakers think 850F is a reasonable sort of starting temperature and 500F 
or so wouldn't be unusual for bread bakers.  How hot a medieval bread 
baker would have started with and when he would have considered the oven 
temperature "soft" I don't really know. 

>>I suspect from your description of the bread
>>developing a crack and the crumb being dense that you may also have
>>kneaded in a bit more flour than is ideal.
>That might be, but the raw dough was still slightly sticky by the time
>it was placed in the oven. And it looks like, from the various descriptions
>I've found and have been mentioned on here that the dough is supposed
>to rise. 

It is indeed supposed to rise :-)  The dough should have a nice silky 
texture when you put it in the oven and not be very sticky at all.  
Sticky vs. silky is as much a function of sufficient kneading as 
proportion of flour, though.

Here's my manchet recipe-- it's definitely perioid, not period, but it 
does include my kneading/raising/baking method.

>You may be very correct on the crumb. It's kind of hard to tell
>what it is supposed to be. One thing I'm basing my ideas of the crumb to
>be is the fact that bread was often "grated". Too light of a crumb and
>I don't think they would be grating even stale bread. A thicker crumb
>leads more to grating for decent crumbs.
I think mine would probably be dense enough to grate if there were ever 
any left :-)

>Thank you for your input as well, the more information we get the better
>chance we have of figuring all of this out.

No worries-- this is one of my favourite subjects.  And I'm teaching a 
bread-making class this weekend, so this is helping me get all my 
thoughts in order :-)

Adele de Maisieres

Habeo metrum - musicamque,
hominem meam. Expectat alium quid?
-Georgeus Gershwinus

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