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Activity #1: Manchet Bread

Bread was part of the daily diet of both ordinary and rich Tudors. Your wealth dictated (told you) what type of bread you would eat. If you were an ordinary citizen, you would eat whole grain and brown breads. These were very healthy breads. If you were wealthy, you ate white bread made from the finest-ground flour, which was expensive. This bread was, as it is today, less healthy to eat than the whole grain breads of the townspeople and servants.

Bread was baked in a bake oven in the Tudor kitchen. The bake oven was a small oven – an arched hole in the hearth (fireplace) – that was heated by the coals of the fire but did not lie directly over the fire. This is called radiant heat. Bread would be placed on a long-handled piece of wood called a “peel” and set into the oven to cook. When finished, the bread was removed from the oven with the peel.

Today’s activity is bread making! You and your family have the chance to make your own manchet bread, the fine white bread eaten by wealthy Tudors. This is a simple recipe but does take a bit of time. It is well worth the wait! Enjoy the bread and let us know what you think of it! Write about this experience with baking in your field notebook.


• 1-1/4 C lukewarm water

• 1 TBS yeast

• 3 C flour

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 4 TBS butter, softened

• Egg wash (one or two beaten eggs mixed with water)

In a small saucepan, dissolve the yeast in half the lukewarm water. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Create a well, or small hole, in the flour mixture; add butter and remaining water to the hole. Mix well. *If the dough is too sticky to knead, add more flour as necessary. Knead dough for about ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Place dough into a greased bowl; cover with a cloth. Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Punch down dough and shape it into flat, round loaves.

Place loaves on a greased baking sheet; cover with a cloth. Allow the loaves to rise for about forty-five minutes, or until they are double in size.

Brush loaves with egg wash; slash tops and prick with a fork. Bake at 375-degrees F for thirty-five to forty minutes. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!!!

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