1 and 1/2 lb. flour
1 and 1/2 lb. sugar
whites of 24 eggs
yolks of 18 eggs
cracked or ground coriander seeds (optional)
Take a pound and a half of flour, a pound and a half of fine sugar, the whites of twenty-four, and the yolks of eighteen eggs, put in coriander seeds beaten small at discretion; mix these well together, and make them into a soft paste, add a little soft yeast or not. Lay this paste on paper, or in crusts about two inches broad, and four inches long, set them in a moderate oven, and when they begin to turn brown, take them out, and lay them on paper, in a dry place.
From The Cook’s Own Book by “A Boston Housekeeper” (Mrs. N. K. M. Lee) Boston 1832
Comment: This is a rather peculiar recipe. We cannot think of another which lists “a little yeast” as an option, and give no other rising agent at least as an alternative. Without the yeast this will make a very flat, and we would think very dull, not to mention very tough, biscuit, almost of the level of hardtack. On the other hand the addition of so much egg, both yolk and especially the whites, might serve to induce some rising just from heat expansion of the gas bubbles included therein. Coriander, if used, will give a rye flavor to the bread.
The suggestion to bake “on paper” means cooking-quality parchment paper. Once available only in gourmet cookware stores, this can now be found in a fair range of supermarkets, in the same section as aluminum foil and rolls of plastic wraps