The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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200                                 »        BRKAP-MAKING.
The utensils required for making bread, on a moderate scale, are a kneading trough or pan sufficiently large so that the dough may be kneaded freely without throwing the flour over the edges, and also for its rising, a hair sieve for straining yeast and one or two strong spoons.
Yeast must always be good of its kind and in a fitting state to produce ready and proper fermentation. Yeast of strong beer or ale produces more effect than that of milder kinds, and the fresher the yeast, the smaller the quantity will be required to raise the dough.
As a general rule, the oven for baking bread should be rather quick, and the heat so regulated as to penetrate the dough without hardening the outside. The oven door should not be opened after the bread is put in until.the dough is set or has become firm, as the cool air admitted will have an unfavorable effect on it.
Stoves bake bread admirably, as they can always be brought to the required temperature when it is higher than is needed by leaving the doors open for a time.
The currants to be used should be carefully washed, picked, dried in a cloth, and then closely examined to see that no pieces of grit or stone are left among them. They should then be laid in a dish be­fore the fire or stove to become thoroughly dry, as the cakes will be liable to be heavy if added when they are damp to the other ingre­dients. The butter and sugar should be beaten together for a very long time, until the mass has the appearance and consistency of ice cream. The eggs should be broken into a cup—the whites and yolks separately. They should always be strained. Breaking the eggs thus, the bad ones may be easily rejected without spoiling the others, and consequently there will be no waste. Beat or whisk the yolks until all the large bubbles disappear, then stir it into the butter and sugar, when the flour or the crumbs should next be stirred in well and thoroughly, (bread crumbs are better than flour as they are already cooked and are more digestible) and if milk is used it should then be added. As eggs are used instead of yeast, they should be thoroughly whisked. When they are thick enough to carry the drop that falls from the whisk they are sufficiently beaten ; then stir in the currants and add the beaten eggs, stirring while adding, and next the flouror bread crumbs, and lastly of all, the baking powder, if used. Stir this mix­ture well and bake in a moderate oven, (some housekeepers rub the butter into the flour, then add the sugar, currants and alspice,)