Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/614

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glowing heat, and that of the floor in a somewhat lower degree. When this heating is completed (the judgment of which constitutes the chief element of skill in thus baking) the embers are carefully brushed out from the floor, the loaves, etc., inserted by means of a flat battledoor with a long handle, called a "peel," and the door closed and firmly luted round, not to be opened until the operation is complete. Baked clay is an excellent radiator, and, therefore, the surface of bricks forming the arched roof of the oven radiates vigorously upon its contents below, which are thus heated at top by radiation from the roof, and at bottom by direct contact with the floor of the oven. The difference between the compact bottom crust and the darker, bubble-bearing top crust of an ordinary loaf is thus explained.

As the baking of a large joint of meat is a longer operation than the baking of bread, there is another reason besides that already given for the inferiority of meat when baked in a baker's oven constructed on this principle. The slow cooling down must tend to produce a flabbiness and insipidity similar to those of the roast meat which is served at restaurants, where a joint remains "in cut" for two or three hours. Of this I speak theoretically, not having had an opportunity of tasting a joint that has been cooked in a brick oven of the construction above described, but have observed the advantage of maintaining a steady heat throughout the process of roasting in the iron oven of a kitchener, or American stove, or gas-oven.


WITHIN the past eight years there have been founded in several States institutions which, though they have not yet attracted much attention from the general public, can hardly fail to exert, in the near future, an important influence both on the material and mental welfare of the people. These institutions are the agricultural experiment stations, of which six now exist in this country, with a prospect of the speedy establishment of at least two more.

By an agricultural experiment station is understood an institution established and maintained "for the purpose of promoting agriculture by scientific investigation and experiments." Such institutions have, in most cases, owed their existence to governmental action, and have been sustained at the public expense, though in a few instances universities and private individuals have carried on what are in effect experiment stations, the most notable example of the latter being the well known Rothamsted experiments of Messrs. Lawes and Gilbert, in England.