[Sca-cooks] Brandreths and bakestones oh my...

Glenn Gorsuch ggorsuch at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 09:33:41 PDT 2010

Stefan queries:
>What are "brandreths"?

Um...think tall metal trivets, usually open in the middle.  Some were square
in shape, others round or triangular.  The height of the legs provide heat
control for your fire, with the notion that when you wanted to really get
things hot, you'd use one with short legs, thus close to the fire, taller
ones for more moderate heat.  I suspect they were developed because a set of
them, plus various and sundry pots, were a lot cheaper (and easier to
make) than a whole MESS of pots with feet with various length legs, and less
prone to pot-breakage.  You can also keep a ceramic pot much further from
the fire if you want than if they had built in ceramic legs of their own,
plus you can probably use a much bigger pot.

>The bakestones I think I've heard of were flat plates of stone (or
stoneware?) placed in an oven to provide an even heat source. >When you say
"bakestone" which is for outside use and I assume not in a gas oven or on
top of a gas range, what do you >have in mind?

Those in fact are the bakestones (flat plates of stone), though the earlier
approach, at least for the Welsh, was to take one of these bakestones and
put it on (taa daa)...yes, a brandreth, as a sort of griddle.  Though I
imagine a poorer kitchen would just make a permament nook off the main
hearth and keep the bakestone there permanently.  If you wanted to bake with
it (more than just flatbreads), you could invert a nice heavy ceramic pot
(I'm thinking a nice big terracotta flowerpot) over your goods to be baked,
and pile coals around the lot, with the fire underneath as well.  Voila,
Dutch oven-type baking without a non-period Dutch oven.  From what I've read
(Brears), the really good bakestones were carved with a shallow hollow
underneath, allowing for better expansion and contraction.  Apparently also
there are a number of British placenames that were derived from being places
that bakestones were gathered/mined/or otherwise associated with (I don't
have a list of those names right now, being as I'm at work, and my
non-electronic library isn't).

>Just in case it might be of use, here are a couple of Florilegium files on
ovens and on spits. These are both in the FOOD-?>UTENSILS section of the
Hey, Stefan, I don't know if anyone's told you recently, but your
Florilegium is truly an awesome resource.  I confess, I've already mined it
extensively, and dumped...I don't know, dozens of those nuggets of niftiness
into their own little directory in my handheld, just to read when I get the


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