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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1566

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HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

course the price of flour fluctuates according to the law of supply and demand, and all kinds of flour are governed by the standard of Households. Thus when Households are quoted at 24s. per sack, the better qualities will be correspondingly dearer. Whites, for instance, would be 24s., and the Patents probably 28s. 6d. to 29s. 6d.; Vienna would then be sold at about 40s. With the cheaper flours, which are also inferior in quality, the drop in price is not at so large a rate, and the flour coming next below "Households," and known as No. 2's would cost from 21s. 6d. to 22s. 6d. This is one of the cheapest flours milled by English millers, or, strictly speaking, the lowest grade they put upon the markets. The country-milled flour would then be about 2s. per sack cheaper than town flour of the same grade, but not of the same quality, for the town miller will have a wider field to select his "grist" or wheat from than the country miller, and in that way will use some of the choicest foreign wheats along with the best-grown in this country, while the country miller will depend largely upon local growths, which practically give the characteristics to the flour produced. If the miller grinds with the idea of supplying the town bakers, he will add in some foreign wheat to give tone to the flour, and in all likelihood will mark it under a special brand; but his principal aim would generally be to give good colour and sweet flavour, while the town miller would combine these two characteristics, and add "strength," which is of the utmost importance for bread-making purposes. The loaf produced from the country flour will almost invariably be small in size, close in texture, and pleasantly sweet, besides being good in colour; the outside crust also would be pale and somewhat tough. On the other hand, the loaf made from town flour of the same grade, if a similar process has been followed in turning it into bread, would be large and bulky, with a well-aƫrated, yet smooth cut in crumb, and sweet, but not quite so sweet, as the loaf made from the country-milled flour; the outside crust would also be slightly browner in colour, and crisp. Vienna flour, if made into bread, will have, to some extent, the characteristics of both these flours combined, but the colour of the crumb will be considerably whiter, and the texture will be very silky and even. The outside crust will be tough. In this connection it must be remembered that although Vienna flour has been used that does not constitute "Vienna Bread," which is made by a special process and baked in specially constructed ovens. Reference has been made to Vienna flour to show its superiority in baking it into ordinary bread.

American and Canadian flour is imported into the country in vast quantities, and the supply, generally speaking, governs the markets of the world. When there is an abundance of flour from those countries bread will be cheap, provided, of course, that all other countries growing wheat have their average crops, and do not need to import to any great extent; but should one or two of the wheat-consuming countries be "short," the market will be correspondingly influenced,