Education

Baker's Receipt, Paid by Madam Van Rensselaer, 1675 and 1676


Historical Context
Bread was the main staple of the Dutch diet both in the Netherlands and in the colony of New Netherland. Residents of the colony ate at least three times a day and bread was a key part of every meal. Bread in New Netherland was made mostly from wheat which could be grown in abundance in this part of the world. Bakers baked both rye and wheat bread. White bread was the most desirable bread and therefore was consumed mainly by the wealthier residents of the colony.



Baking was a labor intensive process that required significant amounts of time. The ovens were built with large bricks designed to stay hot for long periods of time. First, the baker would heat the oven with wood and clean out the residue when the oven was hot enough. Then the oven would be wiped clean with a wet cloth attached to the end of a stick. The baker had to knead the dough by hand or foot. Rye bread had to bake for 12 hours, while wheat bread had to rise twice and bake for an hour. The baker would blow a horn when the bread was ready so that customers would know they could now purchase the bread and other baked goods.



The large amount of wheat and rye bread produced by Dutch colonial bakers reflects the influence of geography on colonial life. The abundance of natural resources necessary for the production of large quantities of wheat allowed for the increased production of the more desirable white bread. The availability of resources also allowed for the production of holiday treats like sweet breads, cakes, and cookies.



 
Glossary
sewant= black and purple bead that is used as currency, just as wampum was used

stiver= nickel coin (Dutch currency)        

guilder=dollar coin (Dutch currency)

rusk= a hard, dry biscuit                               

schepel= a dry measure

 
Essential Question
How did bakers contribute to the growth and success of the colony?
Check for Understanding
Write a few sentences that answer the essential questions. Use the graphic organizer and evidence from the document to support your answers.

 
[click to enlarge]
Baker's Account , New York State Library, NYSL_sc7079_bakers_account
Document Description
Baker's Receipt, Paid by Madam Van Rensselaer, 1675 and 1676
Questions
  1. What is the purpose of this document?

     
  2. What is the baker providing to the Van Rensselaer family?

     
  3. Did the family continue to carry on Dutch traditions?

     
Historical Challenge
After analyzing the receipt students could create diary entries from the point of view of the baker or Madame Van Rensselaer depicting the need for the baked goods.

 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Find recipes for Dutch rusks and other baked Dutch goods and then make them.

 
Resources
  1. www.newnetherlandinstitute.org

    Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664 by Janny Venema, State University of New York Press, 2003

    Recipe: http://magazine.dutchancestrycoach.com/whats-cooking-beschuit-dutch-rusks

     
Translation
Anno 75 in March

Settled with Madam Van Rensselaer and paid for everything

and baked once more

3 schepels of Dutch rusks is                                                           7 guilders 10 stivers

in May for cookies                                                                      2                   10 st

baked in July 3 schepels of Dutch rusks                                        7                   10 st

in November 2 schepel of Dutch rusks                                                              5

All together 32 loafs of white bread were fetched this year                 10                 10 st

                                                Anno 1676

Fetched again white bread,

and there is fetched in total

until now in December                                                                         77

87 loafs of white bread is                                                              30                     9 st

had cake, in 3 times                                                                     1                     1 st[4???]

2 Dutch rusks                                                                                                     4 st

carted a load                                                                                                     12 st

toward Saint Nicolas goodies                                                         2                    10 st

baked 2 schepels of Dutch rusks                                                                           5

18 loafs of white bread were fetched at the funeral of Brucke                  6                     6 st

given 25 guilders in sewant                                                                                            25

Wouterde backer                                             sum                                    145         2 st

                                                                                                                Say                         105         2 stivers