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Gingered Bread

This recipe is in categories Desserts, Tudors,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 3

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.


Ingredients

Making and cooking it
  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