History Of The Dorset Knob

The Dorset Knob is a savoury biscuit that is crisp, golden, and steeped in tradition. Today this famous biscuit is enjoyed far and wide, but where did it come from and what is the history of this unique product?

The Dorset Knob is Born - Before the 1860s

The Dorset Knob started life sometime before 1860 when the Moores family began baking in West Dorset. After the day's bread baking was finished it was the custom to make Dorset Knobs by adding butter and sugar to the leftover dough and hand rolling them in small buttons. They were then baked in the dying heat of the bread oven to dry them out like rusks.

The Dorset Knob was originally named after hand-sewn Dorset Knob buttons that were still being made in the last revival of the once thriving cottage industry.

Knobs Popularity Grows - Late 1800s

Locally, the Dorset Knob became very popular and was eaten by farmworkers who would soak them in hot tea and sprinkle sugar on them as a breakfast treat. It’s believed around this time many bakers made their own Dorset Knobs and a similar biscuit; the Double Bake was made in Devon.

Moores Established - 1880

Four of Moores family’s sons continued in the family trade and set up bakeries across West Dorset. The second son Samuel Moores established a bakery in Morcombelake which was the start of the business as we know it today. He, like the other sons, continued to make the Dorset Knobs along with various other bakery products.

Novelist Hardy Enjoys the Dorset Knob - 1900s

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Dorset Knob proved to be a firm favourite of the famous novelist Thomas Hardy who would finish off a meal with Dorset Knobs and some Stilton cheese. 

Dorset Knob Tins - Early 20th Century  

In the 1920s the Moores business continued to grow including the increased popularity of the Dorset Knob. The keeping quality of the Dorset Knob was improved for the first time as they were packed in tins.

Post War - 1950s

The second World War and subsequent rationing was the start of a gradual decline in bakery businesses. The last of the other Moores bakeries in the area had closed. With this decline in business, Keith and Ivor Moores sought about improving the Morcombelake bakery. Bread and cake making was stopped altogether and Dorset Knob production was increased.

Fire Threatens Knob Production - 1980s

In the early 1980s a fire ripped through the Moores Bakery, leaving only charred rafters and buckled the ovens, threatening the production of Dorset Knobs. Thanks to the tireless hard work of staff and builders, bakery production managed to resume within fourteen weeks of the fire.

Knobs Become Seasonal - 1990s / 2000s

Dorset Knobs continue to be enjoyed as a niche delicacy. Due to the long baking process and traditional technique, the Dorset Knob begins to be produced for only a few months a year. The core summer production being sweet biscuits.

Throw Your Knob - 2008

In more recent years the Dorset Knob sees continued popularity and in 2008 the Dorset Knob Throwing festival starts in the Dorset village of Cattistock. The festival has grown annually drawing widespread acclaim from the national press.

Dorset Knobs Today - Present Day

Today the Dorset Knobs are still produced by the Moores family exclusively. The methods of production are much the same as they were well over 140 years ago. Moores Biscuits produces the Dorset Knob all year round when time permits. However, due to the long traditional methods used and the multiple bakes there are periods when the Dorset Knob is out of stock.  

Loading... Updating page...