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October 14, 2005

Making Bread

-This is taken from a book published in 1839 The Good Housekeeper -

A large family will, probably, use a bushel of flour weekly; but we will take the proper quantity for a family of four or five persons.

Take twentyone quarts of flour, put it into a kneading trough or earthen pan which is well glazed, and large enough to hold double the quantity of flour. Make a deep, round hole in the centre of the flour, and pour into it half a pint of brewer's yeast, or the thick sediment from home-brewed beer--the last if good, is to be preferred. In either case the yeast must be mixed with a pint of milk-warm water, and well stirred before it is poured in. Then with a spoon stir into this liquid, gradually, so much of the surrounding flour as will make it like thin batter; sprinkle this over with dry flour, till it is covered entirely. Then cover the trough or pan with a warm cloth, and set it by the fire in winter, and where the sun is shining in summer. This process is called "setting the sponge." The object is to give strength and character to the ferment by communicating the quality of leaven to a small portion of the flour; which will then be easily extended to the whole. Setting sponge is a measure of wise precaution--for if the yeast does not rise and ferment in the middle of the flour it shows that the yeast is not good; the batter can then be removed, without wasting much of the flour, and another sponge set with better yeast.

Let the sponge stand till the batter has swelled and risen so as to form cracks in the covering of flour; then scatter over it two table spoonfuls of fine salt, and begin to form the mass into dough by pouring in, by degrees, as much warm water as is necessary to mix with the flour. Twenty-one quarts of flour will require about four quarts of water. It will be well to prepare rather more; soft water is much the best; it should in summer be warm as new milk; during winter, it ought to be somewhat warmer, as flour is a cold, heavy substance.

Add the water by degrees to the flour, mix them with your hand, till the whole mass is incorporated; it must then be worked most thoroughly, moulded over and over and kneaded with your clenched hands, till it becomes so perfectly smooth and light as well as stiff, that not a particle will adhere to your hands. Remember that you cannot have good bread, light and white, unless you give the dough a thorough kneading.--Then make the dough into a lump in the middle of the trough or pan, and dust it over with flour to prevent its adhering to the vessel. Cover it with a warm cloth, and in the winter the vessel should be placed near the fire. It now undergoes a further fermentation, which is shown by its swelling and rising; this, if the ferment was well formed, will be at its height in an hour--somewhat less in very warm weather. It ought to be taken at its height, before it begins to fall.*

Divide the dough into seven equal portions; mould on your paste-board, and form them into loaves; put these on well floured tin or earthen plates, and place immediately in the oven.

The oven, if a good one and you have good dry wood, will heat sufficiently in an hour. It is best to kindle the fire in it with dry pine, hemlock furze or some quick burning material; then fill it up with faggots or hard wood split fine and dried, sufficient to heat it--let the wood burn down and stir the coals evenly over the bottom of the oven, let them lie till they are like embers; the bricks at the arch and sides will be clear from any color of smoke when the oven is sufficiently hot. Clean and sweep the oven,--throw in a little flour on the bottom,--if it burns black at once, do not put in the bread, but let it stand a few moments and cool.

t is a good rule to put the fire in the oven when the dough is made up--the batter will rise and the former heat in about the same time.

When the loaves are in the oven, it must be closed and kept tight, except you open it for a moment to see how the bread appears. If the oven is properly heated, loaves of the size named, will be done in an hour and a half or two hours. They will weigh four pounds per loaf, or about that--thus giving you twentyeight pounds of bread from twentyone quarts (or pounds) of flour. The weight gained is from the water.

It is the best economy to calculate (or ascertain by experiment) the number of loaves of a certain weight or size, necessary for a week's consumption in your family, and bake accordingly. In the winter season bread may be kept good for a fortnight; still I think it the best rule to bake once every week. Bread should not be eaten at all till it has been baked, at least, one day. When the loaves are done, take them from the oven, and place them on a clean shelf, in a clean, cool pantry. If the crust happen to be scorched, or the bread is too much baked, the loaves, when they are taken out of the oven, may be wrapped in a clean, coarse towel, which has been slightly damped. It is well to keep a light cloth thrown over all the loaves. When a loaf has been cut, it should be kept in a tight box from the air, if you wish to prevent its drying.

*There are three processes in fermentation--the vinous, which makes the dough light and white--the acetous, which turns it sour and rather brown--and the putrefactive, which utterly spoils it.--The only good bread is made by baking the dough when the vinuous fermentation is exactly at its height. As soon as the acetous commences, the dough is injured. It it may be in a measure restored by mixing diluted pearlash or sal?ratus, and working it thoroughly with every portion of the dough--then baking it quickly.

BEEF-GRAVY

.... or Brown Sauce for Ragout, Game, Poultry, Fish, &c.

If you want gravy immediately, see Potato Soup, or Glaze. If you have time enough, furnish a thick and well-tinned stewpan with a thin slice of salt pork, or an ounce of butter, and a middling-sized onion; on this lay a pound of nice, juicy gravy beef, (as the object in making gravy is to extract the nutritious succulence of the meat, it must be beaten to comminute the containing vessels, and scored to augment the surface to the action of the water); cover the stewpan, and set it on a slow fire; when the meat begins to brown, turn it about, and let it get slightly browned (but take care it is not at all burned): then pour in a pint and a half of boiling water; set the pan on the fire; when it boils, carefully catch the scum, and then put in a crust of bread toasted brown (don't burn it) a sprig of winter savory, or lemon thyme and parsley--a roll of thin cut lemon-peel, a dozen berries of allspice, and a dozen of black pepper. Cover the stewpan close, and let it stew very gently for about two hours, then strain it through a sieve into a basin. Now, if you wish to thicken it, set a clean stewpan over a slow fire, with about an ounce of butter in it; when it is melted, dredge to it, by degrees, as much flour as will dry it up, stirring them well together; when thoroughly mixed, pour in a little gravy--stir it well together, and add the remainder by degrees; set it over the fire, let it simmer gently for fifteen minutes longer, skim off the fat, &c. as it rises; when it is about as thick as cream, squeeze it through a tamis or fine sieve--and you will have a fine rich Brown Sauce, at a very moderate expense, and without much trouble.

-Taken from The Cook's Own Book 1832

Explanation of some Terms Used

Atelets--Small silver skewers.

Baba--A French sweet yeast cake.

Bouquet--a bunch of parsley and scallions tied up to put in soups, &c.

Bouquet garni, or Assaisonne--The same, with the addition of cloves and aromatic herbs.

Bourguignote--A ragout of truffles.

Brioche--A French yeast cake.

Buisson--A whimsical method of dressing up pastry, &c.

Capilotade--A common hash of poultry.

Caramel, [see Sugar Stages ]

Casse, [see Sugar Stages ]

Civet--A hash of game or wild fowl.

Compiegne--A French sweet yeast cake, with fruit; &c. &c.

Compote--A fine mixed ragout to garnish white poultry, &c.; also a method of stewing fruit with sirup for desserts.

Compotier--A dish amongst the dessert service appropriated to the use of the compote.

Couronne--To serve any prescribed articles on a dish in the form of a crown.

Court or short (to stew)--To reduce a sauce very thick.

Croustade--Bread baked in a mould, and scooped out to contain minces, &c.

Croutons--Bread cut in various shapes, and fried lightly in butter or oil.

Dorez--To wash pastry, &c. with yolk of egg well beaten.

Dorure--Yolks of eggs beaten well.

Entrees--Are dishes served at the commencement, or during the first course of the dinner.

Entremets--Small ornamental dishes, served in the second and third courses.

Farce,stuffing.

Financiere--An expensive, highly-flavored, mixed ragout.

Flan--A French custard.

Glaze, (to fall to a)--To reduce sauces till they become a jelly, and adhere to the meat.

Glaze--Is usually made from reduced consomme, or juices from the bottoms of braised white meats; it should be preserved in jelly-pots.

Glaze, Glace, or Ice--Is composed of white of egg beaten with powder-sugar.

Godiveau--A common veal forcemeat.

Grand Plume, [see Sugar Stages ]

Grand Perle, [see Sugar Stages ]

Grand Queue de Cochon, [see Sugar Stages ]

Gros Boulet, [see Sugar Stages ]

Gras(au)--This signifies that the article specified is dressed with meat gravy.

Gratin--A layer of some particular article is spread over a silver, or any other dish that will bear the fire, and placed on a stove or hot ashes until it burns to it.

Hors d'?uvre--A small dish, served during the first course.

Hatelets--The same as Atelets.

Lard--To stick bacon, or other specified articles, into poultry, meat, &c.; it is done by means of a larding-pin, one end of which is pointed, the other square, and hollow; the lardon is put into this hollow, the point is then inserted into the meat, and on being drawn out, leaves the lardon standing up in its proper place.

Lardons--The pieces into which bacon and other things are cut, for the purpose of larding meat, &c. &c.

Larding-pan--An utensil by means of which meat, &c. is larded.

Liaison--A finish with yolks of eggs and cream, for ragouts and sauces.

Lisse, [see Sugar Stages ]

Madeleines--Cakes made of the same composition as pound-cakes.

Maigre--Soups, &c. dressed without meat.

Marinade--A prepared pickle for meat, fish, &c.

Mask--To cover completely.

Nouilles--An Italian paste, resembling macaroni; it is flat, instead of being in pipes.

Panada--Bread soaked in milk, used principally for quenelles and fine farces.

Passer--To fry lightly.

Pate--A raised crust pie.

Petit Boulet, [see Sugar Stages ]

Petit Lisse, [see Sugar Stages ]

Petit Perle, [see Sugar Stages ]

Petit Plume, [see Sugar Stages ]

Petit Queue de Cochon, [see Sugar Stages ]

Poele--A light braise for white meats. The difference between this and the braise is, that in the former the meat, or whatever it may be, need not be so much done as in the latter.

Potage--Another term for soup.

Puree--Any meat, fish, or other article, boiled to a pulp, and rubbed through a sieve.

Quenelles--A fine farce; it is generally poached when used.

Salmi--A highly seasoned hash.

Sauter--To fry very lightly.

Sabotiere, or Sorbetiere--A pewter or tin vessel, in which are placed the moulds containing the substance to be frozen.

Souffle, [see Sugar Stages ]

Tammy--A silk sieve.

Tourner, or Turn--To stir a sauce; also to pare and cut roots, vegetables, and fruits, neatly.

Tourte--A puff-paste pie.

Vanner--To take up sauce, or other liquid, in a spoon, and turn it over quickly

Sugar Stages

SUGAR, Different Degrees of Preparing. The various purposes to which sugar is applied, require it to be in different states; these are called degrees, and are thirteen in number, called as follows:

Petit Lisse, or First Degree Replace the clarified sugar in the preserving-pan, to boil gently, take a drop of it on the thumb, touch it with the fore-finger; if, on opening them, it draws to a fine thread, and in breaking, forms two drops on each finger, it is at the right point.

Lisse, Second Degree. A litte more boiling brings it to this point; when the thread will draw further before it breaks.

Petit Perle, Third Degree. At this point the thread may be drawn as far as the span will open, without breaking.

Grand Perle, Fourth Degree. On still increasing the boiling, little raised balls are formed on the surface of the sugar.

Petit Queue de Cochon, Fifth Degree. Take up some of the sugar on a skimmer, and drop it on the rest, when it should form a slanting streak on the surface. Boil it a little longer, and it will reach the

Grand Queue de Cochon, orSixth Degree. The streak or tail is now larger.

Souffle, Seveth Degree. Take out a skimmerful of the sugar, blow through it, and small sparks of sugar will fly from it.

Petit-Plume, Eighth Degree. The same proof as above; the sparks should be larger and stronger.

Grande Plume, Ninth Degree. Take the sugar in the skimmer, as before, give it a shake, and if the sparks are large, and adhere together on rising, it is at the right point.

Petit Boulet, Tenth Degree. Dip your fingers in cold water, and then into the sugar instantly, and again into the water, when the sugar will roll into a ball, which will be supple when cold.

Gros Boulet, Eleventh Degree. At this point, the ball or bullet will be harder when cold than at the last.

Casse, Twelfth Degree. Prove as above; the bullet should crumble between the fingers, and on biting, will stick to the teeth; at the next point,

Caramel, Thirteenth Degree, It should snap clean. This point is very difficult to attain, for in increasing the height, the sugar is apt to burn; it is better therefore to try the proof very frequently.

Another caramel is frequently used by the confectioner, and is of a deep color; it is made by putting a little water to the sugar, and boiling it without skimming, or otherwise touching the sugar, till of the right color, then take it off and use immediately.

If, on preparing the sugar, you happen to miss the right point, add a little cold water, and boil once more.

Observations. --The skimmer should never be left in the preserving-pan after the sugar is clarified, nor after the scum is removed.

Be very careful not to stir or disturb the sugar, as that would cause its diminution.

In boiling the sugar (particularly the two last degree), the sugar is continually rising and falling; and on falling, leaves marks on the sides of the pan, which the heat of the fire would soon burn, and thereby spoil the whole of the sugar; to avoid this, have by the side of you a pan of cold water, and a sponge, with which wipe the sides of the pan carefully, the instant after the sugar has fallen.

1850 Tin Baker or Reflector


Fig. 14 represents a Tin Baker, or Reflector. The iron hooks running out in front, fit it to use with grates. It can be made without them, or made so that they can be drawn out and put in. This bakes bread, cakes, apples, &c., as well as an oven.

1850 Footman


Fig. 15, called a Footman, is made of brass, or sheet iron, and is used with a grate, to heat irons, and for other purposes.

1850 Balance


Fig. 16 is the best kind of Balances to use in weighing cake, and for other purposes.

1850 Dustpan


Fig. 17 is a tall-handle Dust Pan. The pan is half a yard in length, ten inches in width, and the handle two feet high, and set up perpendicularly. It is a very economical arrangement to save carpets and labor, as it is set down in spots, and the common broom used to throw the dust and rubbing from the carpet on to it, instead of brushing them all across the carpet.

1850 Saw Knife


Fig. 18 is a Saw Knife, being a saw on one side, and a knife on the other. It is very useful in preparing meats.

1850 Lemon Squeezer


Fig. 19 is a Lemon Squeezer. At A is a concave place with holes bored through. At B is a convex projection to fit into the concave portion, and here the half lemon is put to be squeezed.

KITCHEN PEPPER.

1 oz. of ginger,

1/2 oz. of cinnamon,

1/2 oz. of black pepper,

1/2 oz. of nutmeg,

1/2 oz. of allspice,

10 cloves,

6 oz. of salt.

Mix all well together, keep in a bottle. It is an agreeable addition to any brown sauces or soups.
All kinds of spice should be dried and pounded, and put into small bottles and corked up tight, and labelled, except nutmeg.

Recipe Converted to Our Measurements today:
4 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tabelsoons black pepper
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons allspice
10 whole cloves

October 17, 2005

Handy Conversions

This can greatly help in converting some of those old recipes into modern methods of measuring. They are in no way exact, but can give you the basics.

Water 2 Cups or 1 pint = 1 pound

Flour 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Sugar Granulated 1 Tablespoon = 1/2 ounce

Sugar, Granulated 1 Cup = 7 ounces

Sugar, Powdered 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Sugar, Brown, loose pack1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Salt 1 Tablespoon = 3/4 ounce

Baking Powder 1 Tablespoon = 3/8th ounce or.375 ounce

Baking Soda 1 Tablespoon = 1/2 ounce

Cream of Tartar 1 Tablespoon = 1/3rd ounce or .375 ounce

Yeast, Active Dry 1 Tablespoon = 1/3 ounce

Yeast, Compressed 1 Tablespoon = 1/2 ounce

Honey 1 Cup = 11 ounces

Shortening and Butter 1 Cup = 8 ounces

Shortening and Butter 1/4 Cup = 2 ounces

Allspice 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Cinnamon 1 Tablespoon = 1/4

Cloves 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Nutmeg 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Mace 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Ginger 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Cocoa 1 Tablespoon = 1/4 ounce

Lemon or Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon = 1/2 ounce

Vinegar 1 Tablespoon = 1/2 ounce

Like 1859 Sweet Potatoe Pie

1 cup brown sugar
3 cups mashed sweet potatoe
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup of milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 teapoon cinnamon
1/2 teapoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream your butter. Then add sweet potatoe and sugar, mixing well. Next add in eggs. Next stir in the milk. Add your spice and vanilla being sure to mix well.
Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350 for about 40mins to an hour, or until knife comes out clean.

DIRECTIONS for procuring the best...Potatoes

Potatoes, take rank for universal use, profit and easy acquirement. The smooth skin, known by the name of Howe's Potatoe, is the most mealy and richest flavor'd; the yellow rusticoat next best; the red, and red rusticoat are tolerable; and the yellow Spanish have their value - those cultivated from imported seed on sandy or dry loomy lands, are best for table use; though the red or either will produce more in rich, loomy, highly manured garden grounds; new lands and a sandy soil, afford the richest flavor'd; and most mealy Potatoe much depends on the ground on which they grow - more on the species of Potatoes planted - and still more from foreign seeds - and each may be known by attention to connoisseurs; for a good Potatoe comes up in many branches of cookery, as herein after prescribed.---All Potatoes should be dug before the rainy seasons in the fall, well dryed in the sun, kept from frost and dampness during the winter, in the spring removed from the cellar to a dry loft, and spread thin, and frequently stirred and dried, or they will grow and be thereby injured for cookery.
A roast Potatoe is brought on with roast Beef, a Stake, a Chop, or Fricassee; good boiled with a boiled dish; make an excellent stuffing for a turkey, water or wild fowl; make a good pie, and a good starch for many uses. All potatoes run out or depreciate in America; a fresh importation of the Spanish might restore them to table use.
It would swell this treatise too much to say every thing that is useful to prepare a good table, but I may be pardoned by observing, that the Irish have preserved a genuine mealy rich Potatoe, for a century, which takes rank of any known in any other kingdom; and I have heard that they renew their seed by planting and cultivating the Seed Ball, which grows on the vine. The manner of their managing it to keep up the excellency of that root, would better suit a treatise on agriculture and gardening than this - and be inserted in a book which would be read by the farmer, instead of his amiable daughter. If no one treats on the subject, it may appear in the next edition.

About October 2005

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