It was not until the middle of the 19th century that the hearth with its bake oven was sealed off and the monstrous iron stove took its place in the kitchen.
For the wise mother who still insists that home-made bread is a necessity to her family’s health and enjoyment, bread-making is an easy task as compared to that of earlier days. Today we begin with prepared yeast, either in cake or granular form, but in the old days the yeast had first to be made before thought could be given to making bread.
Making the yeast starter from hops and potatoes was a process that involved days, so care had to be taken to keep a supply always on hand. Kept tightly corked in stone jars and stored in a cool place, the yeast would stay sweet and fresh for a couple of months.