19th Century Baking Powder Bread

The recipe below is for a baking powder bread. This is the bread that Emily Dickinson learned to make on September 26, 1845. It became her father’s favorite bread. Throughout the 19th century this bread was understood to have value on many levels – including being perfect for last minute production as you just mix the dough, knead, put into the baking pan and bake.

The ingredients are unbleached all purpose wheat flour, water or milk, baking powder and salt. This males a single loaf weighing a little over one pound (580g). 


Flour 350g
Water or milk 260g – 280g
Baking powder 14g
Salt 3g-7g  

Pre-heat oven to 385F 196C. Butter or oil a bread tin suitable for a loaf of roughly 1 pound, 450g. In a bowl, thoroughly mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. When the oven has reached temperature, add the water or milk, mix, and then knead to develop the gluten. This is very important. This is a bread, not a cake, and it will have the crumb structure and texture of bread if it is well kneaded. Form into rectangular shape that fits your bread tin.

The dough should fill the tin to around the ¾ level. Slip into the pre-heated oven without further delay and bake until done, 40 to 50 minutes.  Let cool, then slice and enjoy!


Author: culturesgroup

Ken Fornataro has acquired extensive knowledge of the science and techniques that have been all but forgotten with the increasing industrialization of food. Still in his teens, he was named Executive Chef at the Hermitage restaurant in Boston.   From there he worked at prestigious and often private establishments around the world where he practiced his craft. He ran the kitchen and catering services for Troutbeck in upstate New York, using locally grown and sustainably sourced ingredients in the 1980s. At Bloomingdales flagship store in Manhattan he ran the Fresh Foods department kitchens that included a line of his own prepared, preserved and fermented foods, as well as daily preparations directed by Michel Guérard, Petrossian, and Marcella Hazen. He has worked with Julia Child, Madeleine Kamman, Aveline and Michio Kushi, Paula Wolfert, Leah Chase, Anthony Bourdain and many chefs from around the world that taught him traditional Japanese, French, Jewish, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Nordic, Russian, Indian, and whole food cooking, preservation and fermentation techniques.

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