Home | Cookbooks | Diary | Magic Menu | Surprise! | More ≡

Bath Olivers


Very low bake white wheatflour biscuits, slightly raised with yeast, unsweetened and lightly salted, typically 3ins diameter and 1/4ins thick with prick-marks all over the surface.

It is said that Dr. William Oliver (16951764) invented them as a type of digestive biscuit for patients taking Bath's restorative waters. He bequeathed the receipt to his coachman, Mr. Atkins, together with a sack of flour and enough money to set him up as a baker. The receipt was been handed-down through successive owners of the biscuit business to James Fortt, whose family were making 80,000 a day in 1952.


Original Receipt from 'The Bread And Biscuit Baker's And Sugar-Boiler's Assistant' by Robert Wells, 1890 (Wells 1890)

78. - Bath Oliver Biscuits.

1 quart of milk, 1 lb. of butter, 2 ozs. of German yeast, 6 1/2 lbs. of flour. Make the milk warm, add the sugar, yeast and a handful of flour to form a ferment, let it ferment for an hour and a half. Rub the butter into the remaining flour and make all into a nice smooth dough; let it stand about two hours, then roll it out thin; cut the biscuits out with a cutter about three inches in diameter, dock them well, place on clean tins sprinkled with water, wash over with milk when you have them all off, put them in a steam press or drawers for half an hour, and bake in a cool oven.

Hill's Biscuits
Norfolk Chronicle, Saturday 12 November 1842

Bath Olivers
Image: Richard Wheeler (Zephyris)

MORE FROM Foods of England...
Cookbooks Diary Index Magic Menu Random Really English? Timeline Donate English Service Food Map of England Lost Foods Accompaniments Biscuits Breads Cakes and Scones Cheeses Classic Meals Curry Dishes Dairy Drinks Egg Dishes Fish Fruit Fruits & Vegetables Game & Offal Meat & Meat Dishes Pastries and Pies Pot Meals Poultry Preserves & Jams Puddings & Sweets Sauces and Spicery Sausages Scones Soups Sweets and Toffee About ... Bookshop

Email: editor@foodsofengland.co.uk