bread crumbs or flour

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pegs
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bread crumbs or flour

Post by pegs »

Can someone explain why medieval cooks are always said to use breadcrumbs for thickening dishes.
Why waste something they have already cooked, with some hard work and difficulty, when the flour they made the bread from would work just as well.
I am thinking about the effort of gathering fuel etc as well as the kneading. - also I did not think ovens were generally available until much later.

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Polygone
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Post by Polygone »

I don't no but I think it was stale bread?

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Phil the Grips
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Post by Phil the Grips »

Bread goes stale quickly (before modern preservatives and 15 minute bake loaves it was common to buy bread twice a day for freshness- still is in parts of the Continent) and so would be best used for thickening in a "waste not, want not" fashion, especially as it would have partially dried out and therfore would absorb more moisture.
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sally
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Post by sally »

Its also a different finish in the food, flour needs 'cooking out', think about how it works when you make a roux for example, whearas breadcrumbs add thick bulk very quickly. Then there is also the vast difference in taste between a proved and baked bread and 'raw' flour that can be very definite especially on wholegrain flours

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chrisanson
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Post by chrisanson »

my mom used to add bread crums to soups and things when i was a kid.
i still do it, to stews.

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narvek
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Post by narvek »

I do it too, with soups, stews, sauces...Welĺ, most of my friends do it too.
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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

"Its also a different finish in the food, flour needs 'cooking out', think about how it works when you make a roux for example, whearas breadcrumbs add thick bulk very quickly. Then there is also the vast difference in taste between a proved and baked bread and 'raw' flour that can be very definite especially on wholegrain flours"


Yep, certainly the case at work. The starch conversion has happened and you don't get lumps and if the sauce is not a cooked one you don't need to bring it up to temperature to covert the flour.

Excellent question, some more possibilities:

It is a by-product of bread - less wasteful
They provide colour - light breadcrumbs for light sauces, brown (crusts) for brown sauces

We make loads of breadcrumbs at the palace and since then I use bread crumbs to thicken my soups and stews, if they need a quick boost.

Can certainly recommend using breadcrumsb where possible, piece of cake to use (almost ;-))
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pegs
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Post by pegs »

Thanks for that everyone - it has been puzzling me for some time - I had considered the stale angle, but thought the poor at least could probably not be that fussy, but had not thought about the cooking out flour.
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