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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1569

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perfection, the cause of failure with large loaves proving the success of the small. Generally speaking, this small bread requires a quick, sharp, flash heat that will bake the loaves quickly and well. Therefore there should be no very great difficulty in supplying the family table with dainties for either breakfast, luncheon, dinner or tea, and where it is necessary to bake bread in a town where gas can be procured, there is nothing that will be so satisfactory as a gas oven, failing one specially constructed for the purpose of baking bread. Usually the gas companies let out these stoves on hire, and so great has been the advantage from this arrangement that it will be found more economical to use a gas oven than an ordinary kitchener for the purpose. It should, however, be remembered that there are many different styles of gas ovens, and it is therefore advisable to state what is required to the gas company, and let them supply a suitable stove for the particular purpose required. In using a gas oven it should be remembered that it must be thoroughly heated before the bread is put in, and then kept at a good heat during the time the process of baking is going on: the oven door must be kept closed. Some gas ovens are provided with a tiled "sole," or bottom, and these ovens bake excellent cottage and other breads that are desired to have a sweet crusty bottom. Usually bread baked in and on tins or metal has a tough crust that is not generally liked, and to avoid this defect it is advisable to procure some new red house-tiles and fit them into the bottom or shelf of the oven. By this means a more satisfactorily baked loaf will be obtained than by baking it on the iron. With the generality of kitchen ovens it will be very desirable to bake the bread in tins, as better results will be obtained than by putting the loaves direct upon the iron of the oven, for if the oven is used for all kinds of domestic purposes, there will be every probability of some dirt remaining upon the oven from burnt fruit-juices, or boiled-over fat, which would be very undesirable on the bottoms of the loaves, and would sometimes add a very disagreeable flavour to the bread. Of course it is possible to take the shelves out and scour them, but there is always the liability to forget these little things until the last minute, when it is undesirable to do them, and they are neglected, with unfortunate after-results. It is most necessary to practise the utmost cleanliness, for bread is very sensitive, and will very soon absorb a very undesirable flavour from anything that has been or is being baked with it. No matter whether the flavour is pleasant or obnoxious, it should not, under any consideration, be allowed to impart it to the bread. On all occasions bake bread by itself.

To Keep Bread.—One of the most important points in connection with home baking is to keep the bread in good condition for the table after it is baked. To do this it is necessary to commence at the beginning, and when the bread is drawn from the oven stand it upon racks to cool, the air can circulate freely and gradually cool it, and then when