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History Cookbook: Gingered Bread

This recipe is in categories Desserts, Tudors
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  • Gingered Bread
    Gingered Bread
About this recipe
Healthiness : (295 votes)
Difficulty:  3 out of 5 difficulty
View a modern version of this recipe

Gingered bread had been a popular sweetmeat for some time. Spices were very valuable and were kept locked away and used sparingly. Gingered bread makes quite lavish use of spices and would be an impressive end to a meal.

In this version, one block has been coloured with grain. Grain was dried cochineal beetles; these give off a strong red colour which was used in food until chemical colours were introduced in the last century.

The gingered bread is pressed into wooden moulds, lined with thin cloth to set. Once turned out, the gingered bread is sliced and arranged.

For pictures of the cooking process see our Gingered Bread Preparation Picture Gallery.

With thanks to Cathy Flower-Bond (Tudor Tales) and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for their help with making this podcast.

  • a loaf of stale bread
  • 1 pat of butter
  • clear honey
  • powdered ginger
  • crushed peppercorns
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Pan
  • Chopping board
  • Pestal and mortar
  • Wooden mold
  • Cloth
  • Wooden or pewter serving plate
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Take off the crusts and roughly crumble the bread into a bowl
  2. Rub the bread through your fingers to make fine crumbs
  3. Melt the butter and honey together in a pot by the fire
  4. Pour the melted mixture into the breadcrumbs
  5. Grind the pepper in a mortar, add this and the ginger to the bowl
  6. Mix well with your hands to make a stiff dough
  7. Line the wooden mold with a clean cloth
  8. Place the dough into the cloth and press down firmly
  9. Leave to cool completely
  10. Lift the cloth from the mold and turn out onto a cutting board
  11. Cut into squares, arrange on a plate and serve
Gingered Bread - print view  Gingered Bread - print view

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There are 14 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Sophie 5th May 2020
I absolutely love this it might be because I love ginger but it’s the best I highly recommended it.
Name: Rose 26th July 2017
This stuff tastes horrible, I would advise you don't try it
Name: Daniel James Western 27th November 2016
This will be great for my homework our theme for the class was tudors!!!
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