Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1564

This page has been validated.
1398
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

then turn the flour into the pan, cover it over with a clean cloth, and allow it to stand until the chill passes off before commencing. This is of course more necessary in winter than in the summer, and as there is only a small quantity of dough it will very soon get cold and be spoilt if it is not properly taken care of; and, since much depends upon the warmth, the whole process should be performed in front of the kitchen fire if the weather is at all cold and chilly. At the same time, under no consideration must the dough become too hot, for heat will kill the yeast sooner than cold, and the result in each case would be the same—heavy and unsatisfactory bread. Heavy bread is the result of insufficient fermentation, and sour bread is caused by over fermentation; it will therefore be seen how desirable it is to adopt just the happy medium—to have the water neither too hot nor too cold, to give the yeast sufficient time to work or ferment properly, but not long enough to work itself sour. This happy medium will soon be arrived at by experience. On no account must the pan containing the dough be placed close enough to the fire for the heat to penetrate and form a crust on the inside of the pan, for that would presently be mixed into the remainder of the dough, and result in dark, heavy patches in the bread. Care must also be taken by keeping the dough sufficiently well covered to prevent it from becoming skinned over, producing a very unsightly appearance should it get on the outside of the loaves when they are moulded or shaped up ready for the oven; such loaves are known generally as "slut's farthings." When making the dough, it is of the greatest importance that it should be thoroughly well kneaded; in fact, up to a certain point, the more kneading given to the bread the better it will be, while if it is not kneaded sufficiently the dough may run flat in the oven, and not spring as it should. When freeing the hands of paste after the dough has been made, very particular notice should be taken that the scraps are first well rubbed into the dough, and then kneaded into the mass, leaving the finished dough perfectly smooth and clear.

When making the dough, keep all the flour in the pan, and do not get it all over the sides of the pan on to the floor, for, besides being wasteful, it is a very dirty and slovenly proceeding.

Another Word about Yeast.—In making bread for household purposes, residents in towns will find no difficulty in procuring fresh yeast from the bakers or corn-chandlers, and most probably the yeast obtained will be the distillery, French, or German article. There is no very great difference between these yeasts, and either, or all of them, may be depended upon for being effective. As a general rule the distiller's yeast would be the most vigorous and the sweetest for the purpose. Of late years the great distillery companies have made some special efforts to meet the bakers' requirements in this particular, and have succeeded in turning out some of the best yeast that can be produced, and it is certain that the yeast that the baker considers good