Testing Recipe - To bake cake - Fennel and Bacon Bread - Nyeuwen cooc boeck by Gheeraert Vorselman

According to Christianne Muuser this recipe found in Gheeraert Vorselman, Nyeuwen coock boeck was directly borrowed from Platina's "De Honesta Voluptate Et Valetudine".   It took some research but I located it. It follows a very long recipe for bread. This is the bread that I will be serving with the cheese sop in the first course of 12th Night.  I will be using Christianne Muuser's own interpretation  with a few changes noted in the recipe below.   If you have not visited her site Coquinaria, you are missing out! 

Van coeck te backen

Neemt tarwenmeel oft bloemen met warmen watere also vele als ghi behoeft, ende wercket een luttel samen, dan neemt venckelsaet ende spec ghesneden terlincxwijse ende doeget int deech ende wercket wel tsamen tot tay deech ende maect eenen ronden coec ende bacten in den oven metten brode oft op den heert, &c. Inde plaetse vanden spec moech dy nemen boter oft olijfoly. Men bact ooc coec onder de asschencolen, mer sonder spec, met sout, venckel ende olie.

To bake cake

Take wheat meal or flour with warm water, as much as you need, and blend it a little. Then take fennel seed and diced lard. Add it to the dough and knead together into a tough (elastic?) dough. Make a round cake and bake that in the oven [together] with the bread or on the hearth, etc. You can also use butter or olive oil instead of lard. One also bakes cake under the ashes of the coals, but without lard, with salt, fennel and oil.


Wheat meal or flour
Fennel Seed
Diced Lard (butter or olive oil)


1 1/2 cup sour dough starter
~ 5 cups mixed flours (2 1/2 cups stone ground wheat, 1 1/2 cup bread flour, and 1 cup stone ground rye flour)
~ 2 - 2 1/2 cups warm water
1½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
6 strips of bacon, diced 

**Alternate to sourdough- dry yeast**

This recipe follows a recipe for Platina's (aka Bartolomeo Sacchi) which includes leavening not mentioned in the recipe that follows it. 
"... Therefore I recommend to anyone who is a baker that he use flour from wheat meal, well ground and then passed through a fine seive to sift it; then put it in a bread pan with warm water, to which has been added salt, after the manner of the people of Ferrari in Italy. After adding the right amount of leaven, keep it in a damp place if you can and let it rise.... The bread should be well baked in an oven, and not on the same day; bread from fresh flour is most nourishing of all, and should be baked slowly."
The mix of wheat and rye flour is to create the flavor one would find in Bauernbrot, Farmer's bread, and I wanted to recreate that hearty flavor in this bread. 

The sourdough starter will be a modern starter.  The instructions can be found here: Eating Well Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter. I will be using this as my previous attempts to create a wild yeast starter have led to a mouthpuckering experience, I don't want to recreate!

Mix 1 1/2 cups of the starter with warm water, a pinch of salt and slowly add in the remaining flour.  Place into a bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled.  This process could take up to 24 hours depending on many conditions.  Practicing patience is a must when working with sour dough!

The next day - turn the dough out onto a floured surface, add remaining ingredients (bacon and fennel seeds) and shape into loaves, and allow to rise for another hour. Sprinkle fennel seeds and some bacon on tops of the dough before baking. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven approximately 45 minutes or, until done.  Bread should sound hollow when picked up and thumped on the bottom.  

This is something I am definately going to have to taste. The starter takes five days to create and the concern is that it may be very sharp to begin with and overwhelm the taste of the bread.  

Cross your fingers!


Re-Read through the Bauernbrot recipe. I will be trying their Sourdough starter instead and following along with their recipe as much as I can.  It is much quicker and has the same flavors I am looking for. 

Recipe to Make Starter

1 c unbleached all purpose flour ** will sub 50/50 mix bread flour and stoneground whole wheat
1 c rye flour
1 Tbsp honey
1 c water, warmed to 80F
1 tsp active dry yeast

To Make Starter

Mix all starter ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the starter with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 24 hours, until very bubbly.