[Sca-cooks] whey uses

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Jun 24 21:17:43 PDT 2010

> Hi all, here to chime in with my Eastern European researchy skills.
> I recently found a few recipes (no way of knowing whether it's period, but 
> it's certainly possible) for several Lithuanian breads that use whey.

AFAIK, there are no pre-1600 Lithuanian recipe sources.  Without solid 
evidence, they're just modern tradional recipes (those ancient family 
recipes handed down from time immemorable, which turns out is a couple 
hundred years at best).  These may have originated with Medieval recipes, 
but they are probably outside of period.  The sugar is the tell.

> I say no way of knowing whether they're period because while they don't 
> use New World ingredients (okay, I don't actually know about the yeast, 
> I'm still new at this), there isn't any documentation saying they're 
> period. Anyway, the link is here: 
> http://ausis.gf.vu.lt/eka/food/bread.html and these are traditional 
> Samogitian foods (from my chosen SCA region). I've made two of the recipes 
> from that list (the "Bread With Yeast" and "Barley Rolls") which terrible 
> and middling success respectively. Not sure if I'm just not treating the 
> flour properly or what, but I'd like to iron out the kinks before I bring 
> them to any event.
> Anyway, cheers!
> Laurai Zemaijite / Laurel Ritscher

Leaven breads are known to have been made since about 3000 BCE.  Baker's 
yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is originally derived from ale. 
Pliny describes the use of ale barm to leaven bread in 79 CE.

Looking at the recipes, I would say that both of these breads would be heavy 
and sour tasting.  I would at least double the rising time on the Bread with 
Yeast and use butter on the crusts of the Barley Rolls.  Adding potatoes to 
the barley rolls is definitely not within period.

I'm a little pressed for time at the moment, but if you would like, we can 
continue the discussion on how to improve the breads alittle later.


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