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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1565

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1399
RECIPES FOR BREAD, BISCUITS, AND CAKES

enough for his bread would be good and reliable enough for domestic use.

On the other hand, if resident in the country and far distant from a town, there may be some difficulty in procuring suitable yeast for bread-making purposes, in which case it would be advisable to make it, and thus be practically independent. Instructions will be found for making yeast suitable for bread-making and other purposes for which yeast is required, and as it improves if properly kept, there can be no objection to brewing the yeast once a month; but it must be stored in a cool place, and some of the old yeast saved to start the new brewing each time, for if some yeast has not been reserved for this purpose, suddenly the supply of yeast may fail, with no means of making a fresh stock. Malt and hops for the purpose can be procured from the corn-chandlers.

In the past brewer's yeast was very extensively used for home-baking, but, principally because it was not always to be depended upon, was often bitter in taste and dark in colour, it has dropped almost out of use. As brewer's yeast may possibly, in some cases, be the only available supply, it will be necessary to cleanse it, or remove the bitterness and dark colour. This can, to some extent, be done by washing the yeast in a little water, in the following manner:—Put the yeast into a large jug, add a small pinch of carbonate of soda, and fill up the jug nearly to the top with clean water, stir it up well to mix it thoroughly with the water, and then stand it aside in a cool place to settle.

The yeast will settle at the bottom in a thick sediment, and the liquor poured off will take away a considerable portion of the dark colour and bitter flavour. If this process is repeated 2 or 3 times, it will result in a very good-flavoured yeast being left behind, eminently suitable for bread-making purposes.

Many of the brewing firms make a practice of cleansing their yeast in this fashion, and then, after all the moisture has been pressed out, it is sold as Brewer's Compressed, and is used largely for bread-making purposes by bakers; but, as this yeast is somewhat slow and sluggish in action, it is not used for any other purpose to any very great extent. It makes a very sweet-eating loaf, and is generally appreciated.

Final Advice about Flour.—Although the finest flour procurable may be used, it will not always turn out the perfection of bread, for various reasons. But at the same time good bread cannot be made from bad or indifferent flour; it is, therefore, always advisable to use the best flour which can be obtained for the purpose. Of course the sine quâ non of home baking is to make bread cheaper than it could be procured from the bakers, but if a worse article than the tradesman supplies is produced, nothing is gained by home baking. The finest flour procurable in this country is "Vienna," or "Hungarian," as it is more generally called, and it is always the dearest flour on the market, sometimes as much as 14s. per sack (280 lbs.) dearer than the best town-made whites. Of