Bread was a staple of army life. General Winfield Scott emphasized its importance, when he explained that bread was one of the "great items of a soldier's diet," and to make it well an "essential part of his instruction." He furthermore stated that "officers…will give strict attention to this vital branch of economy."
The bake house was part of the quartermaster complex and was closely tied to both the quartermaster and subsistence functions; the quartermaster maintained the building and furnishings while subsistence provided the flour rations and maintained the ovens.
The quality of the bread was of utmost importance to the army, but it was difficult to maintain. As there was no recipe at the time, just general guidelines, the quality of the bread often varied with the cooking ability of the soldier on duty. Needless to say, the bread was sometimes found…lacking.
The Bake House at Fort Scott has two rooms, one for the baking and making of bread and the other probably to store the loaves in as they cooled and before issue to the company cooks.
Inside is an oven that is functional and is still used by reenactors to make bread in during special events. The refurnished Bake House shows visitors how an important element in the rations was provided to large numbers of men at Army posts and explains the role bread played in the diet of the soldier of the 1840s.
Last updated: July 26, 2016