Good, cheap, and wholesome bread

I’ve been looking at old recipes again, and came across one for maize (or maise bread from a Mr Carl Hatman JP of Toowoomba in Queensland. The recipe appeared in 1879 and seems quite straightforward except it doesn’t give any quantities! The morning of the day before making the bread, ‘boil the necessary maise meal’ – well, how much is the necessary? It should be boiled for about half-an-hour until it becomes stiff and then it’s taken off the stove ‘off the fire’, and the pot is wrapped in hay or blankets and left until the evening. In the evening you should take a large spoonful of sugar – a table spoon, a serving spoon, how much sugar? It just doesn’t say but you should stir the sugar into some yeast – again no quantity given.  The sugar and yeast mixture is stirred into ‘the  porridge, and the whole thing is kept warm until morning. Add salt and another spoon of sugar, and  as much wheat flour as desired’… good grief Mr Hartman (or Herr Hartman as he appears in other articles)  and mix the whole lot very thoroughly. It’s let to rest and rise, knock back, put into tins and allow to rise again and then bake… at what temperature and for how long isn’t specified. Maybe people were so good at basics like bread making that they knew.. Good, cheap, and wholesome bread will be the result, apparently!

Carl Heinrich Hartman appears in the newspaper in various adverts for musical performances, conducting orchestras and taking part in choirs. He was a market gardener owning Range Nursery:

FRUIT TREES AND VINES – of the choicest and most suitable sort for Queensland, well proved by fourteen years experiments. Also, ornamental and shade trees, shrubs, flowers, bulbs, flower seeds, etc, grafted and reared at the Range Nursery, Toowoomba. Catalogues free on application.Carl H. Hartman, F.R.U.S., M.B.V.,Berlin, &c.

It seems he died in December 1887, leaving a son, Hugo also a gardener.

As usual with this little corner of the newspaper entitled ‘Household Recipes’ there are a few other offerings. Unusually they are all to do with food, nothing to do with cleaning peculiar and now unknown items of clothing, killing various insects with dangerous sounding poisons (dangerous to humans as well as the insects) or making your own medications for your animals.

  • POTATO CAKES – this sounds so easy I’m going to do it! take the insides out of baked potatoes and mash with butter and warm milk, chopped shallot, parsley salt and pepper; make into little cakes, egg and breadcrumb them, and fry until they are a nice light brown.
  • QUEEN PUDDING -Soak a pint of bread crumbs in boiling milk, add four well beaten yolks, four tablespoonfuls of  sugar vanilla or lemon essence, and bake until a very light brown. How easy is that?! I’m going to give this to the family!
  • BEEP TEA. – this is a good old favourite going back centuries, especially for invalids and people of a weak disposition. In this recipe you need four drops muriatic acid – not a thing you often see on the shelves of the local supermarket… in actual fact it’s hydrochloric acid. I’m thinking of giving this recipe a miss, even if i ever did fancy beef tea! Should you be tempted you put your hydrochloric acid in a  bowl with a pint of cold water and a pound of chopped lean beef. You should stand it on the  back of  the range an hour, then simmer two. After that, strain it, add four cloves and a teaspoonful of salt.
  • GINGERBREAD.- an ordinary straightforward recipe not with any muriatic acid at all, just butter, brown sugar, eggs, treacle, flour bicarb, ground ginger and cinnamon.


  1. David Lewis

    Any foods that are good, cheap and wholesome are called gut pluggers in Canada such as perogies or gnocchi”s. That would refer to grits in the USA. Our town is on pins and needles after Trump said he is putting a tarriff on steel because we are a steel town. If things get really bad half the town will be eating gut pluggers.

    Liked by 1 person

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