17th Century Snow Cream Recipe

Door No. 5

To make Snow Cream recipe from Jane Loraine’s recipe book (Miscellaneous Manuscript, Misc MSS 5)

Fancy making ‘Snow Cream’ the 17th Century way. Well, here’s how;

Take thick cream of the evening milk put to it a little sugar and some rose water, then put it into silver basin or a wooden bowl and with a little rod make a little brush and beat it with good strength and as you see it rising to froth put it with the rod into the other side of the bowl from the plate where you beat it and when you have a good deal made into froth take it up with a skimmer and as fast as you lay it into your cream bowls throw searced double refined sugar upon it, and when you have taken up as much froth as yohave that made, that fall to beats in your cream again so do till yohave made your dish of cream as big as you will have it that is done

This recipe is part of a larger recipe book that was created by a number of people including the manuscript’s owner, Jane Loraine. The recipes are culinary, medicinal and cosmetic. The manuscript is an excellent example of the kinds of knowledge and expertise that women in an early modern household needed during the 17th Century.

Find out more about Jane Lorraine’s recipe book here and find more recipes from the Jane Lorraine Recipe book in this digital edition.

14th December – 17th Century Cake Bread Recipe


Cake Bread recipe

Cake Bread recipe from Jane Lorraine’s recipe book (Miscellaneous Manuscripts 5)

Image and transcription (below) are taken from a page of Jane Lorraine’s recipe book. The recipe book contains lots of different recipe and was written in the 17th century by a woman called Jane Lorraine.

Jane Lorraine lived in Northumberland. She is likely to have been the wife of Nicholas Loraine and probably a member of the Fenwick family (John James Fenwick in 1882 opened the shop Fenwicks which exists on a larger scale down Northumberland Street, Newcastle today).

The recipe book is a collaboration between many different people. We can see that many different people contributed their recipes to it as there are mentions of different individuals within it (a total of 67 people), in addition to six different handwriting being identified within the text. Jane Lorraine put together the recipes by different individuals into one big recipe book.

27. Cake Bread
Take a peck of very fine flower two pound of sweat butter
six pound of currants to a quarter of an ounce of mace
a quarter of an ounce of synomond five nutmugs one
pound and a half of fine sugar let your spices and
sugar be very finely beaten your currants washed picked
and dryed put your spices into your flower a little salt
mingled well together, put your butter in thin slices put in
your Corants and sugar mingle them well togeather put
in two spounfuls of rose water a pinte of good ale yest
put in as much Cold cream that is thick and sweat as will
make it into a past work it very well when you have done
put your paste into a hot lining Cloth set it a while before
the fire mould it upon a table take a broad wooden peall lay
a sheat of broade paper strow it with flower lay your paste
on fashon it into a Cake prick it with a bodkin let it goe
down into the bottom then with a fether anoynt the kake
with melted butter strow good sugar finely beaten upon
it set it in an oven that will not scorch

This recipe book is part of Miscellaneous Manscripts

Education Outreach: Use your Loaf

A group of Year 9 (13-14 year old) students from Bedlingtonshire High School in Northumberland took part in a two day event inspired by a 17th century recipe from our Special Collections.  As part of this ‘Use Your Loaf’ project, they baked and sampled bread from a recipe that, as far as we know, had not been used in over 300 years!

Misc Manuscripts 17th C recipe

Misc Manuscripts 17th C recipe

Jane Lorraine’s recipe book, which was compiled between 1684-6, was adapted by the Food Technology students who transcribed the recipe for cake bread (similar to our modern day fruit loaf), interpreting the older spellings, letter formations, annotations and weights to create a recipe they could work with.

Next they visited the Chemistry Outreach Lab to gain an understanding of the science behind the chemical reaction of yeast and the impact that heat has on the effectiveness of yeast.

Students at NU

Students at NU

The following day they returned to have a go at baking both modern day bread and their newly discovered 17th century bread in NU Food – surprisingly finding more similarities than differences.  The students remarked that the 17th century bread was indeed edible (as Library staff who sampled the bread baked by the education outreach staff will testify – (in itself a miracle if anyone knows our baking abilities!).  They also did some food tasting and experienced the difference salt makes to the taste of bread before finding out about current University research on the benefits of various herbs and spices.

The primary purpose of the pilot was to work with the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and the School of Chemistry on an outreach project with a widening participation school, which showcased the potential and breadth of University education to students from families with limited experience of higher education.  One student remarked of the University that “it is a big interesting place” with many others commenting on how “it was different” and how they got to do “something we don’t usually do”, whilst a significant number remarked on how the visit made them more likely to consider applying to University.  One student summed it up succinctly when asked what they would change about the visit:  “nothing, it was brilliant”.

17th C bread

17th C bread

We hope to condense the pilot into a one day event which can be offered to other schools and to open up the project to other interested parties through the development of a libguide.  Hopefully, more forgotten recipes that have not been baked for centuries will be revisited and eaten again.