Markham on Manchet, 1616

Gevas16e Markahm is well known in the world of culinary history for the bread recipes he published in his English Housewife, 1614. An insightful summary of his manchet recipe was published by Markham in his 1616 edition of Maison Rustique.

“Besides these breads made of these seuerall cornes, you shall vnderstand that generally the breads which are most in vse are first the manchet, which is the finest of all other, and is made of the purest and best part of the meale finely bolted or searst, and made light with barme onely, and not with leuen, neither must it be made too light or spungie, but of a good solide temper, […]irme and fast wrought: the next to it is fine cheate bread,”

In Maison Rustique, Markham gets down to basics. The manchet is the best bread. It is made with white flour. It is leavened with yeast, only, But the part of the description that I think is most important is where he says not to make the dough so light that you get a light sponge, in other words, the bread is not right if the crumb is open. This offers a clear set of guidelines to use when approaching manchet.

The text describes two manchet grades. This one, and one with the next coarser flour. This one is made with the finest part of the meal — the center of the endosperm — sifted through the finest sifting apparatus. This text does not mention double bolting, but double bolting was standard for the best manchets and a period reader would probably have understood that.

I suggest hydration of approximately 60%, and so well kneaded that the dough oxidizes.

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