Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Remembering an Eastern Vacation: Louisburg's Soldier Bread

Back when I was a wee thing (about 11 I think), my parents, my sister and I went on a camping excursion to Canada's East coast. We drove our loaded up station wagon all the way out to P.E.I. and back, touring through both Canada and part of the US Eastern Seaboard. I will never forget that trip, for the memories of everything from the red sand of P.E.I.'s beaches to my sister attacking jellyfish on the beach to the fabulous ice cream at Cows will stick in my mind for eternity. We ate very well on that trip too, I seem to remember at least 5 different lobster meals over the 2 week trip and they weren't that pricey either!

One of the tourist attractions that I had the most fun at was at the Fortress of Louisburg National Park in Nova Scotia. It's a great living museum, set in the 18th century and filled with things to do. Of course, even at a young age I was a total foodie and I fell in love with the King's Bakery and their bread. A scouring of their website lead me to this info about the delicious treat they sold:
The King's Bakery was built in 1732. The purpose of the bakery was to supply bread to the garrison. It employed four bakers who doled out six pound loaves of bread every four days to the troops. This loaf of bread was the staple of the soldier's ration, which also consisted of dried vegetables and salt pork.

All I can tell you is that the bread in question is amazing. Lucky for me they had a recipe available! It does make a heckofa lot of bread though, but it does freeze well! Of course, if you have to feed an army (or a couple of teenage boys), this may just be the recipe for you!

Louisburg Soldier’s Bread
Makes 4 Loaves
6 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dry active yeast
4 cups rye flour
12 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp salt

  1. In a large bowl mix together water, sugar, yeast and rye flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour. Beat 100 strokes.
  2. Cover and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Stir down and mix in the salt.
  4. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough comes away from sides of bowl.
  5. Turn out and knead 15 minutes.
  6. Place dough in greased bowl and turn to coat.
  7. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
  8. Punch down, turn out and knead 5 minutes more.
  9. Divide into 4 equal portions, shape in slightly flattened rounds and place on greased cookie sheets, 4 inches apart.
  10. Allow to rise 45 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 400F.
  12. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and bake a further 45 minutes.
They made great sandwiches with this bread when I was there, with thick smoked ham slices, grainy mustard, sharp cheddar (instead of the usual Swiss) and lettuce and tomato. we took a loaf back with us and it was so awesome for the many snacks and breakfasts to come!

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada is located at 259 Park Service Road, Louisbourg, Nova Scotia B1C 2L2. Their telephone number is 902-733-2280 for more information!

1 comment :

Thanks for the feedback!