Ale barm bread


Jacky W 2011 August 1

I heard the BBC Food Program at luch time today and was facinated by the piece on Ale Barm yeast. I belong to a group in England interedted in Tudor history. We are lucky enough to have access to period ovens and have a local mill that supplies us with flour. The flour that we use is their standard "plain" white or wholemeal, which we use to make either Manchet or a sourdough household bread.


I have used Ale Barm yeast before but the results were not great and the bread with quite bitter tasting, which I think was because we did not wash the yeast before using it, mostly because we were not sure how to do so.


I have been thinking about finding a micro brewering and asking to buy barm from them but you seem to be making your own which sounds like a much better solution. Would you mind sharing the technique/quantities that you use for making balm. I would also be grateful for any advice on the type of flour that you think would be suitable to use.     





JohnD's picture
JohnD 2011 August 4

Hi Jacky, the posts at the bottom of the blog contain some very useful information from other fanatics who are making ale barm bread. particularly the post from Ken Horne.

The authentic flour would be to get a stoneground wholemeal (pref organic) and sift it through the finest sifter you can Tudor times this would have been through a linen sifter. Some companies such as Cann mills make this type of "white" flour. This was used with the barm.

The sourdough in Tudor times would most likely have been a maslin made from a mix of wheat, Rye and Spelt...or in good times a wheat flour we now call 81 % or sifted flour, this is through a not too fine sieve and makes a brown flour, which was the most common flour used. Cann mills also do this flour.

Im working on a book at the moment which will contain details.

good luck with it all. 

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