1 and 1/2 pint milk
1/4 pint homemade yeast (2-3 packets or cubes commercial yeast)
6 oz. butter
Take a pint and a half of milk quite warm, and a quarter of a pint of thick small-beer yeast; mix them well together in a pan with sufficient flour to make a thick batter; let it stand in a warm place covered over until it has risen as high as it will; rub six ounces of butter into some flour till it is quite fine; then break three eggs into your pan with the flour and butter; mix them well together; then add sufficient flour to make it into a dough, and let it stand a quarter of an hour; then work it up again, and break it into pieces about the size of an egg, or larger, as you may fancy; roll them round and smooth with your hand, and put them on tins, and let them stand covered over with a light piece of flannel. [Bake]
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: Translating recipes for yeast breads is always difficult because the quantities given are for “homemade” yeast which is nowadays used primarily by those who make their own sourdough products.
In the 19th century a pot of live yeast starter sat in every kitchen, carefully located closer or farther from the heat source as the season dictated to keep it from either freezing or dying of over-heating. It was removed by the tablespoon, cup or pint-full to make the amount of bread needed by the household on a daily basis. The amount removed was replaced with an equivalent amount of flour and water, and the remaining yeast creatures would spread through that until the next day’s baking time rolled around.
If that yeast “wore out” or was lost in some fashion it was necessary to make a trip to the local tavern or other beermaking emporium and buy or beg a resupply from their stock. This was considered a great disgrace, the mark of a slovenly housekeeper, if the yeast was lost to anything less than a house fire.