Gypsy Boy wrote:
Noodling around the internet can be instructive as well as fun. Among my recent discoveries is a "Confederate Receipt [Recipe] Book. A Compilation of Over One Hundred Receipts Adapted to the Times" published in 1863 in Richmond, VA. My question is based on the measurements for many of the recipes. Things appear--at least based upon this book--to have been prepared in far larger quantities than we do today, many of the recipes calling, for example, for a quart of flour or more. While I am prepared to believe that one can profitably make a recipe using a quart of flour, I was not a little surprised to find the following recipe for beer (though other recipes in the book contain similar instructions): "Eight quarts water, one quart molasses, one pint yeast, one tablespoonful cream of tartar, mixed and bottled in twenty-four hours."
Would this be a "modern" pint of yeast as we use it now (either cake or powder)? In other words, I guess I'm asking whether measurements in the 19th century were the same as ours today? I have to believe that the answer is yes. In the example I gave, though, I'm inclined to think that it's the yeast that might have been different--in some different form, that is. Maybe not. Maybe they really do mean a full pint of yeast, even as we know it. Can anyone shed light on this?
P.S. Gotta love and respect the eminent practicality of this little pamphlet. A number of recipes are for substitutes (not to mention some remarkable household "hints") since the war made many staples difficult to find or too expensive for most households. Thus: "SUBSTITUTE FOR COFFEE.--Take sound ripe acords, wash them while in the shell, dry them, and parch until they open, take the shell off, roast with a little bacon fat, and you will have a splendid cup of coffee."
Or, "INDIAN SAGAMITE.--Three parts of Indian meal and one of brown sugar, mixed and browned over the fire, will make the food known as 'Sagamite.' Used in small quantities, it not only appeases hunger but allys thirst, and is therefore useful to soldiers on a scout."
Yeast, as we use it today, is very modern and wasn't really isolated until the mid-late 1800's. The pint of yeast as referred to in the recipe above was a more complicated concoction:http://worldturndupsidedown.blogspot.co ... yeast.html
Here's a little more history:http://www.dakotayeast.com/yeast_history.html
"It was not until the invention of the microscope followed by the pioneering scientific work of Louis Pasteur in the late 1860’s that yeast was identified as a living organism and the agent responsible for alcoholic fermentation and dough leavening. Shortly following these discoveries, it became possible to isolate yeast in pure culture form. With this new found knowledge that yeast was a living organism and the ability to isolate yeast strains in pure culture form, the stage was setfor commercial production of baker’s yeast that began around the turn of the 20th century. Since that time, bakers, scientists and yeast manufacturers have been working to find and produce pure strains of yeast that meet the exacting and specialized needs of the baking industry."