Short Bread – 18th Century Style

Hi folks,

We recently found some great 18th Century recipes and thought we should share some with you.

To start off we chose the old Scottish classic – Shortbread! Feel free to give it a shot and let us know how you get on!

To make Short Bread.

Take a Peck of flour, and four pounds of butter English, or three pounds Scots weight; put the butter on to come a-boil; make a hole in the flour, and pour the boiling butter in it; work the flour and butter a little while together; pour in a mutchkin of good yeast amongst the paste; work it together, but not too much; divide the paste, and roll it out oval; then cut through the middle, and plait it at the ends; keep out a little of the flour to work out the bread; flour gray paper, and fire the bread on it: if you make it sweet, allow a pound of sugar to the peck of flour at least; if you want it very rich, put in citron, orange-peel, and almonds, strew white carvy on the top; be sure to mix the sugar and the fruit with the flour before you wet it; remember to prick it well on top. Fire it on paper, dusted with flour, in a moderate oven.

Now for some modern day definitions!

A peck of flour is 8 quarts

A mutchkin is a quarter of an old Scottish pint or three quarters of an imperial pint (about 0.43 litres)

And, Scottish measures were often different to English measures until the mid-19th Century.

During the 18th Century these yeast raised breads were common throughout the British Isles. In Scotland they were called ‘Short Bread’ since they were so short due to the large amounts of butter used however, in England very similar enriched breads ware made called ‘Seed Cake.’

Now you may notice 18th Century Short Bread differs from todays shortbread. This is because it was a yeast raised bread enriched with butter but by the mid-19th Century the use of yeast in shortbread recipes was abandoned and the addition of fruits and almonds was reduced resulting in roughly what we see today.

Have fun with your baking and fingers crossed everything tastes good! K&D

As always please share, tweet, like, comment and take photos of your 18th Century Short Bread for the world to see!


6 thoughts on “Short Bread – 18th Century Style

  1. I make shortbread cookies all the time and this receipe is similar with what I use, butter, flour and sugar in lesser proportions but my butter is chilled not boiled (melted)……I had visited the Battlefield when I was in Scotland in August 2015……a sad place….. you can almost hear the cries of the Jacobites as they fought and died. What a horrible ending for so many brave men who’s only want was to get their country back from the British.


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