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Gem bread


Flour batter, dropped into small, hot, tins and baked so as to rise without the use of yeast or other raising agents.

Possibly associated with a late 19th Century suspicion of yeast which also gave rise to Aerated Bread and Non-Brewed Condiment

Known at least since a report of the Vegetarian Society Conference given in 'The London Standard' on Saturday 8 January 1887; "Gem bread is the best entire flour mixed with water into a batter which will drop from a spoon. This is poured into cast-iron moulds made hissing hot, and the bread is then baked in an oven hot enough to brown the crust, no yeast or chemical is used, and the lightness is due solely to the formation of steam in the cast-iron moulds."

Original Receipt from 'The Healthy Life Cook Book' by Florence Daniel (Daniel 1915)


Put into a basin a pint of cold water, and beat it for a few minutes in order to aerate it as much as possible. Stir gently, but quickly, into this as much fine wholemeal as will make a batter the consistency of thick cream. It should just drop off the spoon. Drop this batter into very hot greased gem pans. Bake for half an hour in a hot oven. When done, stand on end to cool. They may appear to be a little hard on first taking out of the oven, but when cool they should be soft, light and spongy. When properly made, the uninitiated generally refuse to believe that they do not contain eggs or baking-powder.

There are proper gem pans, made of cast iron (from 1s.) for baking this bread, and the best results are obtained by using them. But with a favourable oven I have got pretty good results from the ordinary baking-tins with depressions, the kind used for baking small cakes. But these are a thinner make and apt to produce a tough crust.

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