t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Jul 16 13:21:05 PDT 2009
I've done a number of variations on the recipe, "To Make Fine Manchet" from
The Good Huswife's Handmaide for the Kitchen (1594). This past Monday, I
put on a manchet demonstration at the baronial A&S meeting. Having done a
bit of research since I last visited this recipe, I based my adaptation on
the bushel of 64 Tower pounds (roughly 49.25 pounds avoir.) that was the
official standard of the day. Previously, I used the Winchester bushel of
roughly 60 pounds avoir.
My new 1/10th version of the recipe calls for:
840 grams (29.5 ounces) of flour
14.5 fluid ounces of warm water (which includes the additional liquid of the
yeast in the recipe)
2.5 teaspoons of salt
1/4 ounce dry active yeast (one scant Tablespoon)
Additional flour as required for kneading
Proof the yeast in the water (my yeast is a little old, so I had to kick it
with a pinch of sugar)
Mix the flour and salt together
Add the proofed yeast to the flour and salt and stir to make a dough
Knead the dough until it forms a relatively smooth ball. This is a very
hard dough to knead, so you may need to spend four or five minutes kneading
by hand to finish the dough.
Let the dough ball stand covered for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces, shape into balls and place on a cookie
sheet scattered with cornmeal.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes.
As I was working the dough on a granite countertop, I did not have to add
any flour beyond the original 840 grams.
I used a kitchen scale for extreme accuracy and produced five manchets of
9.5 ounces before and 8 ounces after baking (not exactly 8 ounces in, 6
ounces out, but I haven't done the conversion to Tower pounds).
In my opinion this is the closest I've come to precisely duplicating the
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