1893 Comparison of American Bread with English Bread.

I just came across this very interesting comment on the difference between bread in England and the United States in the 1890s. The writer, Helen Campbell, goes to England to look for recipes for a cookbook she is writing. She notes that English breads were dense compared with American breads of the period. The American bread style is described as a “light, sweet, tender” in contrast to dense English breads. As light, sweet, tender is the hallmark of 20th century American mass market breads, I think that this 1890s description of the American bread style of that time supports the notion that factory breads were popular, in part, because they reflected a bread style already appreciated by a mass market.

So is it with English pastry, till the lighter hand of the French cook has taught them what flakiness means. Dripping is the favorite shortening for all ordinary cakes and pies, and suet for dumplings, and thus comes a solidity of structure which, to the Englishman, means a substantial money’sworth. His bread is of the same order. Not once in the length and breadth of England was the light, sweet, tender bread of good American housekeeping to be discovered. In toast it was fairly good, but as bread and butter, a thing to be tolerated, since bread must be, but never heartily enjoyed.

In Foreign Kitchens: With Choice Recipes from England, France, Germany. Helen Campbell, 1893

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