Victorian Bakers - Episode 3
Good morning, we will continue to explore the world of the Victorian Baker. This time four bakers are facing the conditions of 1900. They are working in a London Suburb. The British Empire is at the height of its power and London is the biggest city in the world. The Four Bakers find themselves In a high street location.
The Four bakers are working in a bakery shop. Previous to this, the bakers had to deliver what they made. Now there is a shop. The bakery they are using was established during this period and continues to operate to this day. The bakery kitchen in the back was taken back to this period for this show.
Now the bakers will not only have to make bread, but they will also make confectionaries as well. They will have the assistance of machines, gas, and electricity. This time the team will have to wear uniforms and dress like high-end chefs. This gave the customer a better impression of the baker.
The first challenge for the baker is to make a pastry dough. This time the team will use more butter, eggs, and sugar for this recipe. Bakery at this time was not only about subsistence, it was about treating the customer. The bakers start working on tarts. The bakers find it awkward to make tarts and the factory owner wishes he was back to make bread. Bakers during this time had to learn new skills to meet the customer demand. The team works together to get the tarts put together. Even now, it is rare for bread makers to make cakes and tarts.
During the 1880s, bread became affordable. This was possible due to imports of wheat and machines. Wages were going up. However, it became a challenge for bakers. Bread consumption halved. The bread was linked with poverty. It turns out if the Victorian had a little money they could spend money on different types of food. Candy and confectionaries became more common because of more access to sugar. Bakers saw the opportunity to expand into different markets.
Small pastries could prove to be a moneymaker for the Victorian baker. Three of the bakers, long to make bread. They comment on having access to all this flour they are not allowed to make bread. So the baker had to get creative in their bread making. The next task the Victorian Bakers work on is Vienna bread. Vienna bread were morning rolls and was found on the breakfast tables in the upper class. Vienna bread had a lovely glaze on them and to get the glaze the later Victorian Bakers had use of steam.
Steam was the innovation in the Victorian Bakery. They no longer had to worry about stoking fires or gathering coal. Another innovation in the Victorian Bakery was machinery. There were electric mixers in the shop. Early machines were operated by steam or hand-cranked. For the majority of the century, bakers relied on mixing by hand. Victorian Bakers still were nervous about the hand mixer because it could mean that they could be out on the street.
Another thing that was introduced in the Victorian Bakery was loaf tins. Bread dough was put into these tins and baked. Victorian Bakers hoped that by putting bread in a different shape than they would still be able to sell bread. Would this innovation help our Victorian bakers sell more bread on the high street? Will Victorian bakers be able to adapt to this new technology? Tune into this episode to find out.
This is a good TV series to show to a history class or a food science class. The commentary for this episode from the bakers was excellent. They were skeptical about the changes at first, but they threw themselves into the changes and were impressed with how these changes worked out.
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