Eename 1665 – the bakery

In our reconstruction of the rural village of Ename in 1665, we have introduced a bakery. Although bakeries were common in cities from the late medieval period, they were new in rural villages, as villagers used to make their own bread. So we have chosen for a small bakery, owned by a young couple with two small children. Nevertheless, their bakery is a refurbished small dwelling, in fact way too small for a family of four. For the moment, we don’t have historical proof for the presence of a bakery in the village centre, but it is highly plausible.

The new bakery in Ename in 1665 (image: Visual Dimension bvba)

Intern Fien Smits has designed a virtual baker, based upon the painting of baker Arent Oostwaard by Jan Steen in 1658 (the painting is probably a gift from Jan Steen to his friend and his wife when they married). So he is the perfect model for our young, starting baker.

Baker Arent Oostwaard and his wife in front of their bakery In Leiden (Rijksmuseum)

This painting not only shows the outfit of the baker, but it provides to a certain extent what a bakery offered in the second half of the 17th century. Notice the special bread in the middle of the picture, called duivekater, that was typically made at Easter. Arent’s wife Catherina is holding a muffin, which was used as an eatable plate for the food. At the door, we see pretzels hanging (soft and without the salty seasoning that is typical today). The pretzel was used a lot as bakery emblem.

The bakery was selling bread, muffins and pretzels (image: Visual Dimension bvba)
The Archeon bakery emblem (photo: About Pixels)

Our virtual baker shows us the different steps in making bread, using a set of tools.

Heating the oven (image: Fien Smits for Visual Dimension)
Taking out the ashes into a metal container (image: Fien Smits for Visual Dimension)
Putting in the dough (image: Fien Smits for Visual Dimension)
Taking out the baked bread (image: Fien Smits for Visual Dimension)
Fresh bread ready to sell (image: Fien Smits for Visual Dimension)
Blow the horn: the village needs to know (image: Fien Smits for Visual Dimension)

The baker would blow the horn when the bread was ready, but also in the evening, when the remaining bread could be bought at a much lower price.

In our reconstruction, we have added also objects that refer to the inhabitants of the house. On the dining table, a wooden tankard refers to the baker at work. At the dining table, we have a baby chair. Unlike most houses, beds are on the first floor, as no room is left downstairs. Upstairs, we also find a bassinet and a cot or bakermat that was used to nurse and breastfeed the baby. The Dutch word bakermat (with the meaning of “where it all begins”) comes from bakermand, a nursing basket.

A 17th-century children’s chair (image:Visual Dimension)
Young child in his chair, Thomas Wijck, 1640-1677 (Rijksmuseum)
A cot or “bakermand” used for nursing a baby (image:Visual Dimension)
Nursing a baby in the 17th century, by Magdalena van de Passe, 1617-1634 (Rijksmuseum)

One thought on “Eename 1665 – the bakery

  1. Pingback: Ename in 1665, de bakkerij – Ename, mijn dorp.

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