Vienna loaves are crisply crusty, fairly elongated and tapering at each end, and with a slash or slashes along the top. They get their name mainly from the Vienna oven, a variety of bread-baking oven introduced in the mid-nineteenth century which made possible the injection of steam during the baking process. Another contributory factor, however, was the so-called ‘Vienna’ flour, a type of high-grade white wheat flour much used in Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century which in fact came mainly from Hungary and Rumania. It was not employed only in bread, of course (indeed cakes made from it became known as Vienna cakes, first referred to by Eliza Acton in her Modern Cookery, 1845), but the flour and the loaf came to be closely associated. The First World War put a stop to the importation of the flour, and it never reappeared.
Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.