The first thing that every schoolchild learns about King Alfred is that he burned some loaves. The history books clearly could not come to an agreement on what Alfred actually looked like, but they all agreed that he was a big old loaf-burner.
The schoolchild later, of course, goes on to learn about Alfred’s leadership of the Anglo-Saxons, his fortification of London and his effective resistance against the Danish incursions of England in the 9th century AD, but the first thought that gets dredged up at the mention of his name is, inevitably, “That Alfred, eh, couldn’t even work an oven properly”.
Which goes to show two things.
First, don’t leave a king to do a baker’s work, he’s going to have his mind thoroughly busy with keeping the Vikings out of Mercia, of course he’s not going to pay attention to mundane culinary matters. And secondly, it doesn’t matter how effective you are in your chosen career (eg, King of England), everyone’s going to remember that one time you ruined a batch of bread.
Which brings me to the subject of today’s post.