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Morser/Morsel Baking Question

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  • wheezul@canby.com
    Hi everyone, I wanted to ask an opinion about a more or less common instruction in the Wecker cookbook to bake some sort of dough/mush/cake mix in a morser .
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 6, 2010
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      Hi everyone,

      I wanted to ask an opinion about a more or less common instruction in the
      Wecker cookbook to bake some sort of dough/mush/cake mix in a "morser".
      It is the same word she uses for the mortar (and pestle) with instructions
      to crush things.

      Some of the instructions call for the 'morser' to be greased before baking
      so that the ingredients will come out whole. Most of the mortars from the
      16th century I have found are bronze and it is conceivable to me that they
      may have been useable for baking as well as crushing. Do you think they
      baked in the same mortar they used for crushing, or was this a more
      general term for a cylindrical container?

      Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on this?

      Thanks,

      Katherine B
    • Sharon Palmer
      ... Grimm says it is a loan word from Latin, so I think it refers to something used for grinding, not just the shape. Rumpolt often refers to Mörsel ,
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 6, 2010
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        >Hi everyone,
        >
        >I wanted to ask an opinion about a more or less common instruction in the
        >Wecker cookbook to bake some sort of dough/mush/cake mix in a "morser".
        >It is the same word she uses for the mortar (and pestle) with instructions
        >to crush things.
        >
        >Some of the instructions call for the 'morser' to be greased before baking
        >so that the ingredients will come out whole. Most of the mortars from the
        >16th century I have found are bronze and it is conceivable to me that they
        >may have been useable for baking as well as crushing. Do you think they
        >baked in the same mortar they used for crushing, or was this a more
        >general term for a cylindrical container?
        >
        >Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on this?
        >
        >Thanks,
        >
        >Katherine B
        >
        Grimm says it is a loan word from Latin, so I
        think it refers to something used for grinding,
        not just the shape.

        Rumpolt often refers to "Mörsel", usually to
        crush (stoß) something. One recipe specifies an
        alabaster or white marble mortar, another
        alabaster or calcite (with a wooden pestle), so
        perhaps the usual is something else, but I don't
        find details.

        One recipe puts cooked dried peas on the fire in
        a mortar, another is an egg dish cooked in a
        mortar. It sounds like the same mortar used to
        crush. They were likely much larger than common
        kitchen mortars now.

        Ranvaig

        Zugemüß 1. Peas. Take peas/ set them (on the
        fire) with lye / and let them simmer/ that the
        hulls go from/ rub them well/ and wash them
        clean/ let them soak in water/ that the taste
        comes away. Set them (on the fire) with cold
        water/ and let them simmer/ and when you think
        they are soft/ then pour them on a strainer/ and
        let the water run away/ put them again in a fish
        kettle and set them on hot coals/ stir them
        often/ until they become dry/ keep the kettle
        against the fire/ like this they dry the sooner
        put them in a mortar/ and crush with a wooden
        pestle. Take new bacon/ that is not melted/
        under it/ and crush it/ set with the mortar on
        the fire/ and crush continuously/ until the stuff
        becomes warm/ and when you will melt it (when it
        is ready to melt?)/ then take water/ that is
        warm/ and correctly salted/ mix up the peas with
        it/ make them not too thick/ and also not too
        thin/ that you can strain it. Take a white
        bread/ that is sliced/ and is roasted in butter/
        is sugared when warm/ and pour the peas over it/
        pour again melted bacon over it/ like this the
        peas are white/ and the bacon is also white. And
        thus one cooks the peas specially on a flesh day.
        At times one takes milk to it/ but with water one
        can make it as white as with milk.

        Zugemüß 50. Take eggs/ and beat them well/ and
        beat well together/ grate a weck bread under it/
        and small black raisins/ and big onions/ that are
        washed clean/ make sweet/ and pour a little good
        sweet cream under it/ and a little salt/ take a
        pan and butter in it/ make hot/ and pour the eggs
        in it.
        When you have put all things together/ stir in
        the pan/ until it becomes hard/ that it does not
        burn/ take a hot mortar/ and put a little butter
        in it/ then put the egg dish in the mortar/ put
        an iron cover and coals on it/ and the mortar
        over hot ashes?/ and let it then bake/ turn the
        mortar over/ and pour in the dish/ so it comes
        out whole. And might over or under put an almond
        gescharb sauce or sugar crystals/ like this it is
        good and well tasting. This one makes a mortar
        cake/ that is delicate and good.
      • wheezul@canby.com
        ... Well, there is also the cylindrical instance of mortar applying to artillery, which piqued my curiosity about the word itself. I couldn t find an
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 6, 2010
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          >>Hi everyone,
          >>
          >>I wanted to ask an opinion about a more or less common instruction in the
          >>Wecker cookbook to bake some sort of dough/mush/cake mix in a "morser".
          >>It is the same word she uses for the mortar (and pestle) with
          >> instructions
          >>to crush things.

          > Grimm says it is a loan word from Latin, so I
          > think it refers to something used for grinding,
          > not just the shape.

          Well, there is also the cylindrical instance of "mortar" applying to
          artillery, which piqued my curiosity about the word itself. I couldn't
          find an English instance of a mortar cake though - but I certainly have
          not gone looking for that info either. Is the French or Italian usage
          similar, I wonder? The OED shows that mortar was applied to artillery
          around 1450's, and subsequently the shape of the mortar was part of the
          meaning of the word. Perhaps since the makers of the bronze mortar and
          artillery may have been the same people, or at least using the same
          technology?

          Here's the OED etymology:

          [In Old English < classical Latin mortrium receptacle for pounding,
          product of grinding or pounding (applied by Juvenal to drugs, and by
          Vitruvius to builder's mortar); in later use probably largely reborrowed <
          Anglo-Norman mortier, morter, mortir, mortor and Middle French mortier
          receptacle for pounding (late 12th cent. in Old French; also in sense
          ‘builder's mortar’: see MORTAR n.2), small lamp (13th cent.), piece of
          artillery (c1450), mortier (1461; compare MORTIER n.), and their etymon
          classical Latin mortrium, in post-classical Latin also small lamp
          (frequently from 12th cent. in British sources), wooden mortar carried as
          instrument of punishment (1423 in Court Rolls of Maldon, Essex; also in
          Kent), piece of artillery (1480; 1550 in a British source), builder's
          mortar (from 13th cent. in British sources). See also MORTAR n.2
          Classical Latin mortrium is of uncertain etymology. Subsequent sense
          developments probably arise from similarity in shape to the ‘mortar’ of
          pharmacy.
          Compare forms in other Germanic languages < classical Latin mortrium
          (with forms frequently showing alteration apparently after the base of
          German morsch rotten, brittle, and with dissimilation of liquid
          consonants): Middle Dutch morsel, Old Saxon morsari, Middle Low German
          mortr, mottr, morten, Old High German mortri, morsri, morsali (Middle
          High German morsære, morsel, German Mörser, Mörsel), Old Swedish mortare
          (Swedish mortel), Danish morter. Compare also Middle Dutch, Dutch
          mortier (< Middle French mortier). See also Germanic forms s.v. MORTAR
          n.2
          Further Romance cognates include Old Occitan morter, mortier (1192;
          Occitan mortièr), Italian mortaio (late 13th cent.; a1502 in sense 4),
          Spanish mortero (1210), Portuguese morteiro (1619).]

          >
          > Rumpolt often refers to "Mörsel", usually to
          > crush (stoß) something. One recipe specifies an
          > alabaster or white marble mortar, another
          > alabaster or calcite (with a wooden pestle), so
          > perhaps the usual is something else, but I don't
          > find details.

          I think I have run across other examples of a specification for a marble
          mortar - so it's great to know that it is in Rumpolt too. There are
          specifications listed for marble ones in the OED quotations as well.

          >
          > One recipe puts cooked dried peas on the fire in
          > a mortar, another is an egg dish cooked in a
          > mortar. It sounds like the same mortar used to
          > crush. They were likely much larger than common
          > kitchen mortars now.
          >
          > Ranvaig

          I just blogged about a huge mortar woodcut here that I needed for some
          recalcitrant lebkuchen:

          http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0004/bsb00041673/images/index.html?id=00041673&fip=131.252.192.179&no=5&seite=5

          Most of the extant ones I've found in my literature/museum survey so far
          are maybe about twice as big as what we can buy in Kitchen Kaboodle. It
          might be an interesting comparative study! I also seem to think that one
          of the mortars I saw in a woodcut was a series of concentric circles where
          one could grind several different ingredients. I wondered if this could
          be a second kind of a mortar used, however, the descriptive part of the
          recipe calls for dumping the mortar over and the cake like mass coming out
          whole. Perhaps it was just a convenient type of cooking vessel and made a
          nice round loaf such similar to the ones from the used fruit juice cans we
          baked in back in the day?

          Katherine
        • xina007eu
          Hi Katherine, the Grimm dictionary says: MÖRSERKUCHEN, m. kuchen der in einer tiefen, in der mitte erhabenen form gebacken wird; süddeutsch gugelhopf.
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 7, 2010
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            Hi Katherine,

            the Grimm dictionary says:
            MÖRSERKUCHEN, m. kuchen der in einer tiefen, in der mitte erhabenen form gebacken wird; süddeutsch gugelhopf.
            (Mörser cake, cake that is baked in a deep mould that is raised in the centre; in Southern Germany called Gugelhopf).

            The German Wikipedia entry (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gugelhupf )says that the moulds with the central tube have been around since the late 17th century and that originally the cake was probably made in a round bowl or small kettle.

            My guess is that the baking mould and the implement for crushing spices etc. are two different things that share the same name, maybe because they originally had a similar shape.

            Best regards,

            Christina

            --- In cooking_rumpolt@yahoogroups.com, wheezul@... wrote:
            >
            > Hi everyone,
            >
            > I wanted to ask an opinion about a more or less common instruction in the
            > Wecker cookbook to bake some sort of dough/mush/cake mix in a "morser".
            > It is the same word she uses for the mortar (and pestle) with instructions
            > to crush things.
            >
            > Some of the instructions call for the 'morser' to be greased before baking
            > so that the ingredients will come out whole. Most of the mortars from the
            > 16th century I have found are bronze and it is conceivable to me that they
            > may have been useable for baking as well as crushing. Do you think they
            > baked in the same mortar they used for crushing, or was this a more
            > general term for a cylindrical container?
            >
            > Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on this?
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Katherine B
            >
          • Mary Sanger
            I once had a discussion about mortars with Master Eadric the Potter. He said there is documentable evidence for clay mortars (including the crushing kind for
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 11, 2010
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              I once had a discussion about mortars with Master Eadric the Potter. He said
              there is documentable evidence for clay mortars (including the crushing kind
              for cookery.) Given that there are other clay cooking vessels used in
              period, a mortar used for cooking may well have been of clay construction.

              Rose Marian

              On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 6:35 AM, xina007eu <Christina_Lemke@...>wrote:

              >
              >
              > Hi Katherine,
              >
              > the Grimm dictionary says:
              > M�RSERKUCHEN, m. kuchen der in einer tiefen, in der mitte erhabenen form
              > gebacken wird; s�ddeutsch gugelhopf.
              > (M�rser cake, cake that is baked in a deep mould that is raised in the
              > centre; in Southern Germany called Gugelhopf).
              >
              > The German Wikipedia entry (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gugelhupf )says
              > that the moulds with the central tube have been around since the late 17th
              > century and that originally the cake was probably made in a round bowl or
              > small kettle.
              >
              > My guess is that the baking mould and the implement for crushing spices
              > etc. are two different things that share the same name, maybe because they
              > originally had a similar shape.
              >
              > Best regards,
              >
              > Christina
              >
              >
              > --- In cooking_rumpolt@yahoogroups.com <cooking_rumpolt%40yahoogroups.com>,
              > wheezul@... wrote:
              > >
              > > Hi everyone,
              > >
              > > I wanted to ask an opinion about a more or less common instruction in the
              > > Wecker cookbook to bake some sort of dough/mush/cake mix in a "morser".
              > > It is the same word she uses for the mortar (and pestle) with
              > instructions
              > > to crush things.
              > >
              > > Some of the instructions call for the 'morser' to be greased before
              > baking
              > > so that the ingredients will come out whole. Most of the mortars from the
              > > 16th century I have found are bronze and it is conceivable to me that
              > they
              > > may have been useable for baking as well as crushing. Do you think they
              > > baked in the same mortar they used for crushing, or was this a more
              > > general term for a cylindrical container?
              > >
              > > Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on this?
              > >
              > > Thanks,
              > >
              > > Katherine B
              > >
              >
              >
              >


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