For our first Victorian recipe from 'Book 1' 'Warne’s Model Cookery and Housekeeping Book', we decided to play it safe and try something simple: Breakfast Rolls.
With the exception of 'German Yeast' which we substituted with standard dry yeast, the ingredients are easy to get hold of and the recipe, although written in a way that is quintessentially Victorian (in other words, a chore to follow), wasn't too hard to decipher. The rolls turned out beautifully and were delicious served hot (as they should be, according to this recipe) and not bad cold either.
Original Recipe: 'Breakfast or Hot Tea Cakes' (Book 1, 1868)
Speed: 1 hr. 30 mins. | Serves: 8
6 handfuls of flour
½ pint (284ml) milk, warmed to tepid
a small piece of butter (we used 25g)
1. Put the flour in a basin.
2. Heat the milk to tepid and mix in the butter.
2. Mix the yeast in 'a little' cold water (we used 2 tbsp.) and add to the milk mixture.
3. Make a hold in the flour and pour in the milk mixture, stirring together until this forms a thick batter.
4. Add the beaten egg, cover it (we used cling film) and place somewhere warm so that it may rise.
5. Once it has risen a little, knead well into a dough. After kneading for a minute or so, place back in the bowl, cover again and leave to rise once more in a warm place. Pre-heat oven to 220 °C (425 °C / Gas Mark 7).
6. After the dough has risen again, remove from the basin and cut into 8 even sized pieces, rounding these into rolls by hand.
7. Place these onto a baking tray and bake on the centre of the oven for 25 minutes.
Eat while still hot with salted butter or spreads.
Original Recipe for 'Breakfast or Tea Cakes Hot'
'BOOK 1': Warne’s Model Cookery and Housekeeping Book (1868)
Compiled and Edited By: Mary Jewry
Publisher: Fredrick Warne & Co. (Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London, England, U.K.), printers: Savill, Edwards and Co. Printers (Chandos Street, Covent Garden, London, England, U.K.)