Ale Bread

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When we visited the Watkins Mill a couple weeks ago, I found something there I couldn’t live without. It was a cookbook of recipes used by the Watkins family. One of the daughters, Carrie Watkins, born in 1854 , wrote down her family’s recipes starting in 1870, and continued to do so until she lost her eyesight in the early 1900s. Carrie never married, and so she helped her mother manage the household. In later years she kept house for her brothers, John and Joe. Carrie was the last member of the family to live at the farm. She died in 1949.

The Watkins Mill cookbook contains mostly Carrie’s recipes, from salads and breads, main dishes and sides, to desserts. There are also a few other period recipes as well. A bread recipe from 1760 caught my eye. It only has a few ingredients and doesn’t require kneading or rising time. I just had to try it.


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  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 12 oz. ale at room temp
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Yield: 1 loaf

Note: I doubled the above recipe to make 2 loaves.

Mix together flour,


and baking powder

in a large mixing bowl. Add ale and mix until just moistened.

Be careful not to over mix. Pour into an ungreased loaf pan, or pans if you’re making 2 loaves, (I doubled the recipe and made 2 loaves), and spread evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

This bread goes perfectly with a hearty soup or stew.

I love using old recipes. It’s like traveling back in time without leaving my kitchen, and this recipe will take you back in time 252 years to 1760. Fun!

* For a copy of the Watkins Mill Cookbook, click HERE.
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