Monday, May 6, 2019

The Joy of Bakeries

I love bread--mmmmm, carbs. So I always notice bakeries and, when I am researching, I notice mention of bakeries and bakehouses.
mid-19th century advertisement
In the newspapers of the Regency, there seem to be frequent mentions of baking establishments changing ownership.

Morning Advertiser - Thursday 13 November 1806
Morning Advertiser - Wednesday 14 January 1818
Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser Mon 13 Jan 1817
 So I did some investigation on baking and bake shops in the Regency era. (By the way, meal was the word for flour and grains, and meal-men were dealers in the same.) The best book I found on bread baking was:
In it, Mr. Edlin describes the best way of constructing a bakery:
And he describes the "most usual and indispensible requisites" (tools) for the bakery:

    The seasoning tub
    The seasoning sieve
    The warming pot
    The brass-wire sieve
    The pail
    The bowl
    The spade
    The salt bin
    The yeast tub
    The dough knife
    Scales and weights
    The scraper
    The rooker

An early 19th century bakery from 'Baking in America' by Panschar & Slater 1956
Baking was big business. Only the largest establishments made their own bread; most households routinely purchased the staple of life. Bake shops did a small sideline in baking items for householders but the Appendix in Mr. Edlin's book makes it clear it was a small earner for the baker.
Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 15 September 1810
The man who took on a bake shop had to be a hard worker and a good manager of business. The margins were small and the regulations increased throughout the 19th century due to the dishonest practices of a few bakers. (Bread was often adulterated with such things as alum and chalk.)

There is a substantial appendix of interviews and statistics at the end of Mr. Edlin's book. He sums up the facts with the following paragraph. Reading it, I no longer wonder why there were so many bakeries for sale in Regency newspapers.
Hmm, I'm hungry. I think I'll go support a baker.

'Til next time,


Sources: Google Books
               British Newspaper Archives

1 comment:

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