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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1563

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Mixed Breads.—Rye bread is hard of digestion, and requires longer and slower baking than wheaten bread. It is better when made with leaven of wheaten flour, rather than yeast, and turns out lighter. It should not be eaten till 2 days old. It will keep a long time. A good bread may be made by mixing rye-flour, wheat-flour, and rice paste in equal proportions; also by mixing rye, wheat and barley. In Norway it is said that they only bake their barley bread once a year, such is its "keeping" quality. Indian cornflour, mixed with wheat-flour (half-and-half) makes a nice bread; but it is not considered very digestible, though it keeps well. Rice cannot be made into bread, nor can potatoes; but ¼ potato-flour in ¾ wheaten flour makes a tolerably good loaf. A very good bread, better than the ordinary kind, and of a delicious flavour, is said to be produced by adopting the following recipe:—Take 10 parts of wheat-flour, 5 parts of potato-flour, 1 part of rice paste; knead together, add the yeast, and bake as usual. This would not prove any cheaper than ordinary wheaten bread at the present day, because the potato-flour and rice are dearer than flour. In times of great scarcity, when the people of this country depended chiefly upon their own productions for their food, nearly all the vegetable products of the garden were used for the purpose of making bread, and mixed breads were as often met with as brown or wheaten breads; this was, however, before the abolition of the Corn Laws, when wheat was over 100s. per quarter, and the quartern loaf cost 1s. 4d. But at the present day, with every country in the world anxious to supply our markets with the best of their products, there does not seem much likelihood of Englishmen being reduced to such straits again, and being compelled to feed on the so-called mixed breads.

It will be seen by what has been previously stated that a very considerable amount of care and skill is requisite to produce a sweet wholesome loaf. If the instructions given in the following pages are carefully carried out, there should be no difficulty in making a palatable and satisfying loaf, whose merits will be appreciated by all who partake of it. In making bread, no matter how large or small the quantity, it is of the first importance that everything should be scrupulously clean, sweet and dry. If these precautions are omitted the bread will not turn out as desired. Before commencing, see that everything is in readiness, so that it will be unnecessary to leave off in the middle. Have a sufficient quantity of water at hand for the purpose, and also some flour in a tin or basin in which to dip the hands and rub them clean when necessary. When you have finished with it, run the flour through a sieve, and any pieces that may have fallen from the hands should be added to the dough and well kneaded in. If no more than ½ a bushel of flour (8 quarterns) is being worked, a large red earthenware pan will answer admirably to mix it in. It should, after being thoroughly washed out and dried, be set out on a strong kitchen chair (from which the back has been removed) in front of the kitchen fire;