Period Our Ancestor's Kitchen, Crocks And Why Yeast Should Go In Them Again

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
kitchen illustration loc.JPG
Using this illustration from LoC of what looks like a mid-1800's country kitchen as a ' Can you spot the....? '. Cabbage slicer, funnel, a small bellows, various dead fowl, baskets of vegetables- somewhere in there would be the yeast pot. I ' think ' it's the green crock inside that cupboard, bottom shelf, covered by a white cloth? There was always a yeast crock. Bringing ours back. AND what else do you see, please?

So there I was, locked and loaded hand sanitizer, pristine white,multi-layered mask making me a little light headed and awfully conspicuous, enduring the baleful glares of a long mask-less line, standing my ground in order to buy the most basic, homely, oldest kitchen necessity known to mankind. Knew it going in, store banner told me in foot high letters but really, really needed that darn yeast. Only store carrying it, just wanted the yeast, honest. We're a little split around here. Really just wished to find some yeast.

Has to be a better way.

Well thankfully there is. You can order hops or ask around for a local farm who may have some, look up recipes our ancestors used and go from there. Which is my next plan because this other thing is unnerving. Make my own bread, have done so for more years than I'll admit and all of it has nothing to do with an argument. It's just bread.

From an 1869 cook book for brides. It's actually a wonderful book, one of the best I've come across- light on the usual etiquette generally taking up several chapters, heavy on terrific recipes covering breads, pastry, muffins, vegetables, meats, salads and a ton of dishes we've managed to forget.

Yeast . — In two quarts of water let two ounces of hops boil for half an hour , strain the liquor , and let it stand in a wide earthenware bowl . When lukewarm , add a small quantity of salt , say half a handful , and one - quarter of a pound of sugar . Take some of the liquor and well mix up in it half a pound of best flour , beating this up thoroughly in the whole afterwards . The next day but one put in one and one half pound of boiled and mashed potatoes ; let it stand one more day , after which it may be bottled for use . It should be kept near the fire while making , so as to keep it about the tem perature of new milk , and it should also be frequently stirred during the process of making . When bottled , it should be kept in a cool place .

These next require yeast as part of the recipe- will try them, too, just to see how different they may be. I've only ever used the dry yeast and one type- sounds like it's time to experiment.

POTATO YEAST . For those who live far from shops this receipt may sometimes be found useful incase of deficiency . Boil mealy potatoes , peel them , mash them very smooth , and put to them as much hot water as will make them the consistence of yeast , no thicker . Add for every pound of potatoes two ounces of very coarse sugar or treacle , and while the mixture is warm , stir in two spoonfuls of yeast . Keep it warm until it rises well . It may be used in twenty - four hours . One pound of potatoes will make nearly a quart of yeast .


Homemade Yeast . — Put one pint of dry hops into three pints of water to boil . Peel eight pot toes and put them on in a separate pan to boil . When the potatoes are done , the hop tea will be the right strength . Strain the tea from the hops and set it to cool . Mash the potatoes free from lumps , add one pint of flour , one teaspoonful of salt , and one tablespoonful of sugar ( brown ) . Pour the tea over this mixture , stir well together , add one cup of yeast , baker ' s will do , though I always have enough of my old yeast to set new with . Let it rise in a large open vessel in a warm place , stir occasionally , and when it is well risen , and begins to fall in the centre , put in a close jug and cork tight .


Sweetened Yeast . — Boil and mash ten potatoes of nearly equal size . Pour on them one quart of boiling water , and stir in one coffeecup of good sugar . After standing a few minutes , add another quart of hot water , less one gill . When lukewarm , add one pint of yeast , and set it in a moderately warm place to rise . When it gets light , set it down cellar for future use .


Hops and Potato Yeast . — In two quarts of water boil six potatoes , pared and cut up , and a handful of hops ( in a bag ) . Boil till the potatoes are done , then take all out . Mash the potatoes up and put them back into the water with one cup of salt and one cup of white sugar . Let it come to a boil , then cool off , and when milk warm , add about one cup of baker s yeast . Set it in a warm place to rise , then jug it up tight
, put it in a cool place , and it would keep for six months .

OK, while we're here. What else do you see? Yeast crock, vegetable slicer, bellows, above that, the salt box ( hanging above bellows or is that something else? ), above the stove, barly visible, a roasting ' pig ' ( right? ) . Tons of ' stuff ' here, you're not allowed to name the cat. He's Murphy, everyone knows that.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
You are brave to try homemade yeast! I know people sucessfully used it for generations but I'm sticking with my boughten yeast - it's so much more predictable.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
You are brave to try homemade yeast! I know people sucessfully used it for generations but I'm sticking with my boughten yeast - it's so much more predictable.


I've never tried it before either. It may be just the supplies where we are but it's been almost impossible to find! Yeast is right up there with TP as far as necessities go in our house and almost as appalling not to have. :angel: Think I'll give it a ' just in case ' shot, see how it goes.


Of course I wouldn't rename the cat, but a cat very important to keep mice and rats away.

My grandson named Mom's cat Murphy, I think at that point all cats were ' Murphy ' and we don't know why. Yes, you know, I'm not sure what on earth we'd do without a cat around here! The dogs make terrible mice catchers, much noise and breakage, no mice. Out here in the woods we'd be over run in a big hurry without a good mouser to keep things under control.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Quite the rustic kitchen. Smoked meats over the stove, a huge heavy tea kettle and goose on the table.


There was an article somewhere recently on all the kitchen gadgets we don't really need now cluttering up cupboards. You know. Microwave egg poachers, all kinds of choppers and grinders each with bits you lose after the first week, various coffee makers, the latest no-stick pans, whatever. Hilarious, admit to having had a few. What I like about the old kitchens is a. nothing plastic in sight and b. bet it was all used on a regular basis.

ALL these old kitchen images feature dead creatures, don't they? Draped over tables or hanging from a hook. You always wonder how long they were permitted to do so, goodness.

Lived in the UK in homes where not everything cold was kept in the fridge. Large, deep stone ( no idea what kind ) shelf in the ' larder ', butter, milk and other things were surprisingly cold in there and no electricity required. Both houses had been there for ever and ever, kitchens unchanged. Cool stuff!
 

Jani

Cadet
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
I have sour dough starter I have used for years. I can't remember how old the mixture is, but it is in my refrigerator and only requires feeding w/ sugar at intervals. I enjoy using it and the bread is delicious.
 

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