My grandmother used to tell me about the life of field workers in her (and her grandmother's) time, going from the 1950s backwards to the 19th century (in Portugal). This often included baking bread at home in a large batch which the men would take with them as they spent a week away from home, working in the fields.

This bread would become stale and hard, but it was always edible and wouldn't get moldy in those five days [unlike modern bread, which she complained about and which brought on the memories].

My grandmother further explained that making bread was a morose task. You would never do it daily (unless you were a baker, naturally), but about two or three times a week.

While researching (online) the diet of plain farmers in Canada in the 19th century, I expected to find a similar pattern of baking bread once or twice a week. Unfortunately, I have found no reference either to daily or weekly bread baking.

Does anyone have any references concerning how often bread was baked?

  • Yeast breads or sourdough? Biscuits and other quick breads? My grandmother (raised in Texas and Oregon in the early 1900s) would bake them all, depending on what the menu was. But some kind of bread was made daily... – Jon Custer Oct 7 '18 at 3:22
  • @JonCuster There was only yeast bread in my area, as far as I know. – SC for reinstatement of Monica Oct 7 '18 at 3:34
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    I bake bread about once a week in the winter, so it's hardly an exc;lusively historical practice. (And not by any means a morose task - there's very little actual work involved, other than ~10 minutes of kneading.) Might try on the cooking site, but I would imagine how much was baked, and how often, just depends on the number of people you're feeding. – jamesqf Oct 7 '18 at 3:51
  • And if they did not have time to make bread, then they could have cake - Marie Antoinette... – Solar Mike Oct 7 '18 at 4:14
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    @jamesqf The flour you deal with is likely to be very different from the 19th century's one (especially in Portugal), in both gluten content, and overall quality. Kneading was a very big deal. – user58697 Oct 8 '18 at 21:42

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