CITY leaders have revealed for the first time a new version of an historic type of bread that was once presented to royal visitors but whose recipe was lost for centuries.
As The Press reported on Saturday, the secret of making “mayne” bread, a rich and spicy biscuit-style bread that was presented to Richard III when he visited the city in June 1482, was lost in the 17th century despite attempts to preserve it by the city council.
Now, after decades of research that began in the 1950s ,the bread has been recreated.
German academic Dr Almute Grohmann-Sinz, working with the city’s archives service, has drawn up a recipe based on references to the bread in the civic records, which she has used to make a loaf made from a yeast and egg dough with sugar, coriander, caraway seeds and rose water.
Coun Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s leisure and culture portfolio holder, said: “Having only recently celebrated York 800, a year dedicated to commemorating York’s history, it’s fitting that we have been able to help recreate such an interesting and unique memento from York’s past.
“Mayne” bread was only made for special occasions and was traditionally presented to royal or noble visitors by the city’s mayor, sheriff and aldermen.
But by 1595, the bread had gone out of fashion. The council’s minutes recorded: “Mayne bread as it is reputed is not in use nor baked in any other city or place forth of this city in England, and hath been in use in this city time out of mind of man, and is one of the antientist matters of novelty to present men of honour and others repairing to this city... it is thought convenient that the same be still continued and kept in use and not suffered to decay nor be laid down.”
The council later ordered that anyone making a rival spiced bread be fined the equivalent of £200. But after Charles I received his mayne loaf, the bread was not made again - until now.