Before you were able to buy yeast in the shops the only way to get a light airy 'risen' loaf of bread or cake was to leave the flour long enough to allow the natural yeasts in the flour and the surrounding air develop. Since Egyptian times sourdough has been used to make bread
Roman Army Bread or 3 Day Sourdough Loaf
500g Rye or spelt flour
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
In a large bowl mix one cup of flour with one cup of water , cover with a clean damp cloth and leave overnight in a warm place.The next day add another cup of flour and half a cup of water, mix well, cover and leave. By the third day the 'starter' should be slightly springy.
Weigh out and mix equal amounts of the starter and flour, add the olive oil, salt and just enough water to form a soft, slightly stick dough. Knead the dough vigerously with your hands
Cover the dough and leave in awarm place for at least 3 hours. Knead the dough again and shape it to fit into an oiled loaf tin. Cover the tin with foil and leave in awarm place for an hour. Then bake the loaf, still covered in foil at 190 C for 60 minutes then reduce the heat and cook, still covered for another 30 minutes.
This sandwich filling was recommended by the Ministry of Food as something sweet to eat that also helped your fat ration go further. This recipe needed no butter or margarine spread on the bread.
WWII Sweet Sandwich Spread
1 dessertspoon of syrup
1 dessertspoon of strong coffee
3 dessertspoons of cocoa powder
Carefully add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together very well.
Spread on the bread to make as many sandwiches as you can
In Tudor times a thick paste of prunes was made by mixing the prunes with sugar, wine, spices and rosewater and slow cooking until it formed a spread able consistency which was eaten on caraway biscuits.
Tudor Tart of Prunes
Pastry shell- baked blind
100g white or brown bread crumbs
275ml red grape juice or juice from prunes
5ml ground ginger
Blend the prunes with the other ingredients to form a smooth thick paste.Spoon the filling into the pastry cases, and bake at gas 4/180 C for 1-½ hours.
It will keep for about a month if just bottled, although is best to drink within 2 weeks. To ensure no mould, it is always better that you freeze any elderflower cordial that you want to keep longer than 2 weeks.
20 elderflower heads
1 sliced lemon
1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) of sugar
1.2 ltr (2.5 pints) boiling water
Boil a kettle for the water.
Fill a bowl or small bucket with all the other ingredients. Pour the water over the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Skin the surface of the water to get rid of the scum that can arise. Cover with a cloth. Stir twice a day for five days. Strain though a fine sieve or through muslin cloth and decant into sterile screw topped bottles. Refrigerate.