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A History of British Baking: From Blood Bread to Bake-Off

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The British have been baking for centuries. Here, for the first time, is a comprehensive account of how our relationship with this much-loved art has changed, evolved and progressed over time.

Renowned food historian and author, Emma Kay, skillfully combines the related histories of Britain's economy, innovation, technology, health, cultural and social trends with the perso
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 23rd 2020 by Pen and Sword History
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Beth Cato
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance galley of this book via NetGalley.

A History of British Baking abounds in bready joy. I'm an American, an amateur baker who adores Great British Bake Off, and a history geek. On my first-ever international trip ever last year, to the UK, I set about trying all of the British and Scottish baked goods (and cheeses) that I could. To put it simply: I LOVED THIS BOOK. It felt made for me.

The book is incredibly well-researched, filled with footnotes throughout but never stodgy or
Tammy Buchli
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I love history and I love baking, so I was predisposed to enjoy this book! Unfortunately I was disappointed. Although very well-cited (Kay seems very knowledgable about her subject), the book was so poorly organized as to be almost unreadable. It bounced from period to period, subject to subject and location to location with no rhyme and no reason. In my opinion, the best way to organize this book would have been by subject -- a chapter on bread, then one on pie, and so on; with a fairly strict ...more
Rosie Amber
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A History Of British Baking: From Blood Bread To Bake-Off is a really interesting easy read non-fiction book. Emma Kay has undertaken a vast amount of research to bring a record of baking traditions from medieval times to the modern day bakers.

The narrative included a wide range of baked items. As well as their origin, recipes, preparation and baking methods. I thought that some of the food fashions from eras like the Tudors and the Georgians were fascinating. Throughout the book, Kay included
*This book was received as an Advanced Reader's Copy from NetGalley.

I absolutely adore the Great British Bake-Off show and so this book, including it in its sub-title, was an instant draw. I also just love food history and learning about where different cuisines and dishes came from. Baking is kind of an elusive art for me, I can follow directions just fine, but being able to understand the science and be innovative takes a lot of know-how, which these early pioneers of baking would have had to
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

A History of British Baking is a survey course of baking throughout British history - and how it shaped and defined the culture. Due out in late 2020 from Pen & Sword on their History imprint, it's 224 pages and will be available in hardcover format.

The author writes with an accessible and engaging style. The introduction covers the genesis of the book, defining the scope and relevance - what's "British", what's "baking"? How indepth (the autho
Anne Morgan
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
In A History of British Baking: From Blood Bread to Bake-Off food historian Emma Kay gives readers a well-researched history of baking in England. The general focus remains on bread- that staple no matter the social class- but pastries, tarts, and cakes are all included. This is a history of the social, technological, and cultural changes in Britain from Roman occupancy to the present day as seen through baking. Where did certain foods originate? How did they come to Britain? How did baking chan ...more
Date reviewed: August 11, 2020

When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is wort
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Food history books have intrigued me since I was a child, It's the combination of history, cultures, traditions, related laws/crimes/punishments, superstitions and passion for the science of baking which is so fascinating.

This book delves into baking history from Roman times to Medieval times to the present and everything between with a focus on breads, cakes and pastries, including several recipes. It brims with information, yet at no point does it feel like a textbook or an overload. Instead,
Denice Langley
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Baking is one of the many ways a person shows love. When you bake someone a cake, cookies or bread, you pour your best into the dough.
Baking has not always been a choice. You could not run to the store for a loaf of bread or cupcakes for school. Home baking has evolved along with our lifestyles. The choices in basic ingredients have expanded so I can make Irish soda bread or traditional rye breads with authentic ingredients from the store down the block.
So much of history is tied up in the art
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
A History of British Baking by Emma Kay is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early September.

Baking in Britain traced chronologically by Kay, a food historian, through medieval times and lines of the royal family; European baking as beginning in Rome, then Norway, then into the UK by way of the Normans; the meaning and purpose of baking taking on a religious/ritual bent in the 1300s before baking as a craft would be reserved for royals and to feed the military at war until the mid 1500s; oft
Nikki Brooks
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
My baking skills tend to be...patchy at best but I love all things Bake Off and I'm a bit if a history geek, so I got two scratch two itches with this book!

It's a well-rounded tome. With little footnotes that prevent it from ever becoming too academic. It flows from the history of baking from the dawning of written records, via the Romans, the Normans, and into the industrial revolution. There is also a great section on breadmaking during the wars and how immigrant bakers have helped shape bread
Melissa Dee
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This meticulously researched book is wide-ranging, both in time and subject. From flour to leaveners, ovens to mills, Emma Kay writes about the ingredients and technologies that have shaped British baking over the years since the Romans up to the Great British Baking Show. There are few actual recipes here, and most of the ones included are from times past and involve ingredients that to the modern reader might sound less than appetizing. (What are ‘pineapple seeds’ anyway?)

Kay’s file cabinet of
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love learning about historical cooking techniques and recipes! It's always interesting to read about how tastes change, or people settle for (due to technology, etc...) This book doesn't contain a load of recipes, but does has lots of information on how foods have changed and why. I enjoyed reading it, Emma Kay has done her homework and written a well-researched book! If your interested in food, this book will keep you interested.
I received a Kindle copy from Netgalley in exchange for a fair r
Lennette Daniels
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was interesting because it included both history and stories concerning baking. It also included some interesting recipes, many of which were new to me since I am not British. I have to admit that some recipes sounded like recipes I would not try, but there were a few that sounded promising.

The author’s writing style is very laid back and relaxed. At times, I found this irritating because the sentences we're either run on or fragments. However, this style may have been an effort to se
Karen Fisher
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book. Chock full of vintage recipes and more importantly the rigors of bread making in Britain. In the war years the circumstances of field baking was astounding. I found this book to be a very interesting history of baking and learned for more than expected. In fact, I will admit to a bit of shock at times. The copious amounts of research needed to pen such must have been a formidable task indeed.
Daphne Manning
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
A trip through the history of baking in England. It is a long held place of honor and tradition. You get not only a taste of history of food and it’s evolution in England but the people it took to establish that tradition. It is forthright in it’s telling but very English in it’s no nonsense. It is a true picture of a people who survive at all costs.
Tina  Izguerra
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A History of British Baking was such a great read! Emma Kay does a fantastic job detailing the history of British baking; it is very detailed but super easy to read! The wealth of knowledge found in this book is indicative of the sheer amount of research Kay conducted before writing it. I recommend this book to anyone interested in culinary history or even general history.
Coffee & books
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!

It is such a lovely book, with lots of interesting details and lots of pictures. Kay did extensive research and this is clear in the book. I highly recommend it because it's not only lovely written, but fun and informative too.
Polly Krize
Nov 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Although the writing seemed a little scattered, this is an eloquent and, for the most part, well-researched history of the British and their relationships with everything baked.
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