Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

Manchet Bread – Redaction

February 6th, 2012 by KM Wall

Manchet Bread Redaction
24 ounces beer
2 packets yeast (about 1 tablespoon if you buy in bulk)
4 cups all purpose flour (1 ½ pounds)
Use a bowl that is far too large, mix all ingredients together until you have a smooth paste. Cover with a cloth (I used a clean dish towel). Leave out on the counter overnight and it will bubble and rise.

The starter after sitting overnight.


Next day…..
To all the starter add:
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups all purpose flour (2 pounds) – plus more flour for kneading.
Mix it all together. If using a dough hook and a machine, knead for about 10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated. This bread is very heavily kneaded to give it a dense crumb. If kneading by hand, it will be about 20 minutes. Let rest for 10-20 minutes.

The dough post mixing and kneading.


Beat with a rolling pin or large dowel for about 10 minutes. The texture will change from smooth like a baby’s bottom to velvety. Put in a clean greased bowl and cover loosely.

In 1-2 hours it will be doubled in size. Push down and turn out to a board or counter.

The dough has risen!


Cut into 8-ounce pieces. Shape them into flattened rounds (see picture – they look like clams to me)
Put them on greased cookie sheets and cover while the oven heats.
When the oven is at 450, slash the loaves around the waist and poke a few hole in the top. This is where they look like smiling clams….

Put them in the oven and when they start to color golden – and that could be in about 15 minutes, but as long as 30 minutes, depending on your oven). At this point turn the oven down to 375 and continue baking another 20-30 minutes until it smells divine and sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.
Let cool on a rack.

Time to eat!

Makes 13 6-ounce loaves.

Tags: , , , , ,

9 Responses to “Manchet Bread – Redaction”

  1. Rick says:

    WOW! What time and where does the eating commence???

  2. carolina says:

    Where did you find the original receipt (recipe)? What cookbook? Please & thanks!

    • KM Wall says:

      The 17th century resource is Gervase Markham’s The English Housewife. Micheal Best did a really great edit – including footnotes, glossary and explanations and period illustration back in 1986, with a later paperback edition. We also have a facsimile copy of 1623 edition. We also check out the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for particular vocabulary, and run cross check through other period sources. My inspiration peice was Bernard Clayton’s The Breads of France, the Normandy Bread.

  3. C Chartier says:

    I have homemade beer in the basement that keeps giving me a headache. I am totally going to make this right now!!

  4. You have written a fantastic resource.

  5. I am thinking I need to consider some of the data you have in this article. I agree with a lot of your points. I’ll have to get my brain working on some of these. http://www.samsung1080phdtv.net/

  6. Bethany Crocker says:

    I found beating the dough with a rolling pin oddly fun and therapeutic.

Leave a Reply

© 2003-2011 Plimoth Plantation. All rights reserved.

Plimoth Plantation is a not-for-profit 501 (c)3 organization, supported by admissions, grants, members, volunteers, and generous contributors.