(or Ginger Knobs)
Very hard-baked spherical (c1½ins) bread rolls.
Reported to originate with Maria Bligdon, "a formidable woman with striking looks and great strength. She could handle a sack of flour as well as any man and was known for getting her own way." Around 1852 she began the 'White Cross Baker' in Litton Cheney, near Dorchester where one of her bakers, Mr Moores, either devised, or introduced, the Dorset Knob. The recipe consists of bread dough with sugar and butter, shaped into round balls by hand and baked three times, to produce a crumbly rusk-like texture. On Mary Blingdon's death, Moores set up his own bakery at Morcombelake with his sons, which continues to this day.
Nellie Titterington, Thomas Hardy’s parlour maid, revealed that the author "would most enjoy a cup of soup, followed by two boiled eggs. He finished his meal with Dorset knobs and Stilton cheese, both favourites of Mr Hardy, Dorset knobs especially."
For reasons which are not entirely clear the Dorset Knob form was made compulsory as a soup roll during the rationing of World War II, possibly because of its excellent keeping qualities.
Western Gazette - Friday 29 January 1943
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