MissionTour Logo Visual Tour Logo


blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank
- -
- Home - Mission Related Topics - Bookstore - E-mail - -
- - - - -

Navigation for La Purísima Concepción:

Out in the workshop courtyard during Mission Life Day you'll find many activities performed as they would have during the 1800's.

Bread Making

At most missions you'll see dome-shaped ovens. During Mission Life Day here you see how these were actually used.

First, the oven must be heated. This is done by lighting a fire within the oven and keeping it burning with the door covered. This heats the entire oven. After the fire burns down, the coals and ashes are removed from the oven. At this point the oven has absorbed enough heat that it will easily bake three batches of bread and multiple batches of cake or pie before it has to be reheated. The structures are quite efficient!

Here you see a batch of bread being removed and cut. Once cut, the slices are put out for everyone present to have a piece. Fresh-churned butter and home-made jam are also put out for the bread.

Remove bread from oven
Picture taken 12:20pm 21 Jul 2001

Remove bread to cool
Picture taken 12:20pm 21 Jul 2001

Cut bread
Picture taken 12:20pm 21 Jul 2001

Churn butter
Picture taken 12:20pm 21 Jul 2001

Tortilla Making

Tortillas are basically ground corn mixed with a binder, formed and fried. Corn is first soaked and then placed on a rock form and ground with a round rock that fits into the form. The resulting cornmeal would be made into tortillas which are then fried on a hot griddle.

Grinding corn
Picture taken 12:30pm 21 Jul 2001

Frying tortillas
Picture taken 12:30pm 21 Jul 2001

Once fried, the tortillas are put out for anyone to take and eat. A pot of beans and salsa are available to fill them if you wish. It's actually quite filling and makes a light lunch. Side note: Do take advantage of these while available. Any extras left at 2pm when Mission Life Day closes and the docents leave go to the Mission pigs as a treat.

Soap Making

Candles and soap were the two major uses for rendered beef fat. To make soap one renders a batch of beef fat. Once clarified, the fat is mixed with lye. It's then poured into a form and left to solidify. Once solid, it's cut into bars.

During the 1800's lye was formed by passing water through fire ashes. The chemical that drained from the ashes was potassium hydroxide, a form of lye. Side note: Today, the docents cheat a little. If you look under the table you'll find a can of drain cleaner; sodium hydroxide or what we know as lye. 

Beef fat
Picture taken 12:35pm 21 Jul 2001

Rendered tallow
Picture taken 12:35pm 21 Jul 2001

Soap drying
Picture taken 12:35pm 21 Jul 2001


Also present in the courtyard are various tools used for pressing grapes and olives. Look into every nook and cranny; you'll find something there!

Grape press
Picture taken 12:35pm 21 Jul 2001

Olive press
Picture taken 12:35pm 21 Jul 2001

If you're following the tour you'll now want to head back down toward the church and start the interior tour of the workshop building. That would be at the barracks.

Tour the soldier barracks, leather/carpentry/weaving shops...Trail

Navigation for Mission La Purísima Concepción:

Mission Home :: History :: 1st Mission :: Map :: Corral Area :: Cemetery :: Church :: Workshop :: Courtyard :: Workshop Interior :: Monastery :: Monastery Interior :: Chapel :: Kitchen :: Blacksmith :: Village & Garden

Please use the feedback link for questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2002 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!