Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: BBC's Victorian Bakers

This is truly a documentary after my own heart! Two historians and four modern-day bakers team up for three hours of pure television joy.

Image result for victorian bakersIn episode 1, they go back to the rural, pre-industrial days of village baking and use traditional wheats and baking methods. It was a lot of sheer hard work and the results were inconsistent because they didn't have commercial yeast, and instead used leftover froth from beermaking.

Image result for victorian bakersEpisode 2 made episode 1 seem like heaven, as the bakers were sent to a properly miserable industrial bakery to make pretty much inedible bread adulterated with disgusting things. The industry was industrialized, unethical and terribly cruel to bakers who worked in squalid conditions. They even kneaded the bread with their feet!

Episode 3 was endlessly fascinating, as it's the late Victorian period, just at the turn of the century, when baking has become a fancy high-street profession. Here's where Victorian creativity really shines, and the bakers make the kinds of fancy pattiserie that previously was only in the Great Houses of the Landed Gentry.

In conclusion, the series was endlessly entertaining and informative, and I would totally recommend it for those into baking and history. There are actually a lot of lovely BBC programmes about history and about baking, but this one really combined the two seamlessly.

After watching the episode, I tried my hand at being a (late) Victorian baker, starting with lemon-vanilla cakes and then attempting some pattiserie techniques - making my own poured fondant by hand! It was too difficult, actually. This tutorial and recipe by Cake Journal makes everything straightforward.

#weekendbaker #victorianbakers
A proper baker
Achiement unlocked: maximum dome-age. #cupcake #oliveoil #baking #vanilla
Gorgeous domage

#sugar  #candy #confectionery

Making poured fondant by hand, just like on Victorian Bakers!
Like snow except very sweet and solid
Poured fondant works like perfection!!
YES! But so sweet.

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