Flour for cakes should always be of the finest quality procurable, and for best goods Vienna is the most suitable for use, and will also give the best results. But for all ordinary purposes of the household, what is termed "Whites" is suitable. But in any case let the flour be dry to the touch and sweet to the smell, with some colour and strength.
Manufacture of Biscuits.—Since the establishment of the large modern biscuit factories, biscuits have been produced both cheap and wholesome in almost endless variety. Their actual component parts are, perhaps, known only to the various makers; but there are several kinds of biscuits which have long been in use, most of which belong to the class of unfermented bread, and are perhaps the most wholesome of that class. In cases where fermented bread causes dyspepsia, biscuits may be recommended; in many instances they are considered lighter, and less liable to create acidity. The name is derived from the French biscuit, or "twice-baked," because, originally, the method of baking entirely deprived them of all moisture, to ensure their keeping, but although that process is no longer employed, the name is retained. The use of this kind of bread on land is general, and some varieties are luxuries; but at sea, biscuits are articles of the first necessity. Fancy biscuits contain butter, eggs, milk, and various flavourings. They are sold in enormous quantities. Sea or ship-biscuits are made of wheat flour, from which only the coarsest bran has been separated. Dough is made up as stiff as it can be worked, and is then formed into shapes, and baked in an oven; after which the biscuits are exposed in lofts over the oven until perfectly dry, to prevent them from becoming mouldy when stored. Captains' biscuits are made in a similar manner, but of finer flour. Particulars of the different kinds and prices will be found in the marketing portion of the book.