I love discovering cool things about how stuff works! Time once again to play, that’s not right in the SCA baking world.
I am doing research on Gingerbread or Lebkuchen (the german version). I have been looking for a period recipe that functions like cookies and not like candy. I have been able to find references to the English switching over to adding eggs and flour (instead of bread crumbs) in the 16th century, creating a cookie consistancy and not a candy one. BUT I havent been able to find the recipe or any recipe for that matter to support this. However, there are german recipes that fit the bill.
Again in looking at the redactions that have been done, I really can’t find any problems with the ingredients or the portion sizes (i’ll save judgement until I actually try the recipe). However, again it comes down to cooking methods. Almost all of the people doing the recipes are skipping steps in their attempts at modernization. They are forgetting one basic rolled/pressed dough trueism… they keep forgetting the let it sit overnight step. This is important for the glutten development (or in this case the lack there of). Many are talking about doughs that dont work right and are trying to adjust the ingredients to fall inline with modern methods, but are skipping critical steps. Pastry is a labor of love, and a lesson in hurry up and wait. The other interesting thing is that they are not cooking the sugars long enough. The first part of the recipe is to thin and purify the sugars, but it also is doing some chemical changes as the sugars cook. I will have to get out my thermometer to test tempuratures as I follow the steps of as long as it takes to cook an egg….
I cant wait to get into the kitchen to try out my hypothesises! Should be fun.