Part 4 out of 17
however, the temperature of the oven be just right, the loaf will
continue for a little time to enlarge, owing to the expansion of the
carbonic acid gas, the conversion of the water into steam, and the
vaporizing of the alcohol, which rises in a gaseous form and is driven
off by the heat; a nicely browned crust will be formed over the surface,
the result of the rapid evaporation of water from the surface and
consequent consolidation of the dough of this portion of the loaf, and a
chemical change caused by the action of the heat upon the starch by
which is converted into dextrine, finally assuming a brown color due to
the production of a substance known to the chemist as _assama_.
Bread is often spoiled in the baking. The dough may be made of the best
of flour and yeast, mixed and kneaded in the most perfect manner, and
may have risen to the proper degree of lightness' before going to the
oven, yet if the oven is either too hot or not hot enough, the bread
will be of an inferior quality.
Without an oven thermometer, there is no accurate means of determining
the temperature of the oven; but housekeepers resort to various means to
form a judgment about it. The baker's old-fashioned method is to throw a
handful of flour on the oven bottom. If it blackens without igniting,
the heat is deemed sufficient. Since the object for which the heat is
desired is to cook the flour, not to burn it, it might be supposed that
this would indicate too high a temperature; but the flour within the
loaf to be baked is combined with a certain amount of moisture, the
evaporation of which lowers the temperature of the bread considerably
below that of the surrounding heated atmosphere. The temperature of the
inner portion of the loaf cannot exceed 212 deg. so long as it continues
moist. Bread might be perfectly cooked at this temperature by steam, but
it would lack that most digestible portion of the loaf, the crust.
A common way of ascertaining if the heat of the oven is sufficient, is
to hold the bare arm inside it for a few seconds. If the arm cannot be
held within while thirty is counted, it is too hot to begin with. The
following test is more accurate: For rolls, the oven should be hot
enough to brown a teaspoonful of flour in _one_ minute, and for loaves
in _five_ minutes.
The temperature should be high enough to arrest the fermentation, which
it will do at a point considerably below the boiling point of water, and
at the same time to form a shell or crust, which will so support the
dough as to prevent it from sinking or collapsing when the evolution of
carbonic acid gas shall cease; but it should not be hot enough to brown
the crust within ten or fifteen minutes. The heat should increase for
the first fifteen minutes, remain steady for the next fifteen minutes,
and may then gradually decrease during the remainder of the baking. If
by any mischance the oven be so hot as to brown the crust too soon,
cover the loaf with a clean paper for a few minutes. Be careful that no
draught reaches the bread while baking; open the oven door very seldom,
and not at all for the first ten minutes. If it is necessary to turn the
loaf, try to do so without bringing it to the air. From three fourths of
an hour to an hour is usually a sufficient length of time to bake an
ordinary sized loaf. Be careful not to remove the bread from the oven
until perfectly done. It is better to allow it to bake ten minutes too
long than not long enough. The crust of bread, when done, should be
equally browned all over.
The common test for well-baked bread is to tap it on the bottom with the
finger; if it is light and well done, it will sound hollow; heavy bread
will have a dull sound. A thoroughly baked loaf will not burn the hand
when lifted upon it from the pan.
CARE OF BREAD AFTER BAKING.--When done, remove the loaves from the
tins, and tilt them upon edge so that the air may circulate freely on
all sides of them to prevent "sweating." Do not, however, lay them on a
pine shelf or table to absorb the odor of the wood. A large tin dripping
pan turned over upon the table does very well to tilt them on. If they
are turned often, so that they will not soften on one side, but a fine
wire bread cooler is the best thing. If this is not obtainable, a fair
substitute can be easily improvised by tacking window-screen wire to a
light frame of sufficient size to hold the requisite number of loaves.
If the bread is left exposed to the air until cold, the crust will be
crisp; if a soft crust is desired, it can be secured by brushing the top
of the loaf while hot, with tepid water, and covering with several
thicknesses of a clean bread cloth.
If by accident any portion of the crust is burnt, grate it away as soon
as cold; this is preferable to cutting or clipping it off.
BEST METHOD OF KEEPING BREAD.--When the bread is quite cold, put it
away in a bread box, which should be of tin, or of wood lined with tin,
convenient in form and supplied with a well-fitting cover. Never use an
unlined wooden box of any kind, as it cannot easily be kept fresh and
free from musty odors, which bread so readily absorbs.
Stone and earthen ware are not open to this objection, but they are
likely to collect moisture, and hence are not equal to a tin receptacle.
Do not keep bread in the cellar or any other damp place, nor in a close
closet, where there are other foods from which it can absorb odors. The
bread box should be kept well covered, and free from crumbs and stale
bits. It should be carefully washed in boiling soapsuds, scalded, and
dried, every two or three days. If cloths are used to wrap or cover the
bread, they too should be washed and scalded every week, and oftener if
at any time the loaf about which they are wrapped becomes moldy or
TEST OF GOOD FERMENTED BREAD.--A loaf of good bread, well risen and
perfectly baked, may be taken in the hands, and, with the thumb on the
top crust and fingers upon the bottom of the loaf, pressed to less than
half its thickness, and when the pressure is removed, it will
immediately expand like a sponge, to its former proportions.
Good yeast bread, while it should be firm and preserve a certain amount
of moisture, will, when cold, crumble easily when rubbed between the
fingers. If, instead, it forms a close, soggy mass, it may be regarded
as indigestible. This is one reason why hot, new yeast bread and biscuit
are so indigestible. In demonstration of this, take a small lump of new
bread, gently roll it into a ball, and put into a glass of water, adding
a similar quantity of stale bread of the same kind also. The latter will
crumble away very soon, while the former will retain its form for hours,
reminding one of its condition in the stomach, "as hard as a bullet,"
for a long time resisting the action of the gastric juice, although,
meanwhile, the yeast germs which have not been killed in the oven are
converting the mass into a lump of yeast, by which the whole contents of
the stomach are soured. A soluble article like salt or sugar in fine
powdered form is much more easily and quickly dissolved than the same
article in solid lumps, and so it is with food. The apparent dryness of
stale bread is not caused by its loss of moisture; for if carefully
weighed, stale bread will be found to contain almost exactly the same
proportion of water as new bread that has become cold. The moisture has
only passed into a state of concealment, as may be demonstrated by
subjecting a stale loaf inclosed in a tightly-sealed receptacle to a
temperature equal to boiling heat in an oven for half an hour, when it
will again have the appearance of new bread.
Hot bread eaten with butter is still more unwholesome, for the reason
that the melted grease fills up the pores of the bread, and further
interferes with the action of the digestive fluids.
WHOLE-WHEAT AND GRAHAM BREADS.--The same general principles are
involved in the making of bread with whole-wheat and Graham flours as in
the production of bread from white flour. Good material and good care
are absolutely essential.
Whole-wheat flour ferments more readily and rises more quickly than does
white flour, hence bread made with it needs more careful management, as
it is more liable to sour. The novice in bread-making should not
undertake the preparation of bread with whole-wheat flour, until she has
thoroughly mastered all the details of the art by practical experience,
and can produce a perfect loaf from white flour.
Breads from whole-wheat and Graham flours require less yeast and less
flour than bread prepared from white flour. A slower process of
fermentation is also advantageous.
Such breads will be lighter if at least one third white flour be
employed in their manufacture. When the bread is made with a sponge,
this white flour may be utilised for the purpose. Thus the length of
time the whole-wheat flour will be undergoing fermentation will be
somewhat lessened, and its liability to become sour diminished. This
plan is a preferable one for beginners in bread-making.
Graham and whole-wheat flour breads must be kneaded longer than
white-flour bread, and require a hotter oven at first and a longer time
for baking. Much Graham and whole-wheat bread is served insufficiently
baked, probably owing to the fact that, being dark in color, the crust
appears brown very soon, thus deluding the cook into supposing that the
loaf is well baked. For thorough baking, from one to one and a half
hours are needed, according to the size of the loaf and the heat of the
TOAST.--Toasting, if properly done, renders bread more digestible,
the starch being converted into dextrine by the toasting process; but by
the ordinary method of preparing toast, that of simply browning each
side, only the surfaces of the slices are really toasted, while the
action of the heat upon the interior of the slice, it is rendered
exactly in the condition of new bread, and consequently quite as
indigestible. If butter is added while the toast is hot, we have all the
dyspepsia-producing elements of new bread and butter combined. Although
considered to be the dish _par excellence_ for invalids, nothing could
be more unwholesome than such toast. To properly toast the bread, the
drying and browning should extend throughout the entire thickness of the
slice. Bread may be thus toasted before an open fire, but the process
would be such a lengthy and troublesome one, it is far better to secure
the same results by browning the bread in a moderate oven.
Such toast is sometimes called _zwieback_ (twice baked), and when
prepared from good whole-wheat bread, is one of the most nourishing and
digestible of foods. Directions for its preparation and use will be
found in the chapter on "Breakfast Dishes."
STEAMED BREAD.--Steaming stale bread is as open to objection as the
surface toasting of bread, if steamed so as to be yielding and adhesive.
It is not, perhaps, as unwholesome as new bread, but bread is best eaten
in a condition dry and hard enough to require chewing, that its starch
may be so changed by the action of the saliva as to be easily digested.
RAW POTATO YEAST.--Mix one fourth of a cup of flour, the same of
white sugar, and a teaspoonful of salt to a paste with a little water.
Pare three medium-size, fresh, and sound potatoes, and grate them as
rapidly as possible into the paste; mix all quickly together with a
silver spoon, then pour three pints of boiling water slowly over the
mixture, stirring well at the same time. If this does not rupture the
starch cells of the flour and potatoes so that the mixture becomes
thickened to the consistency of starch, turn it into a granite-ware
kettle and boil up for a minute, stirring well to keep it from sticking
and burning. If it becomes too much thickened, add a little more boiling
water. It is impossible to give the exact amount of water, since the
quality of the flour will vary, and likewise the size of the potatoes;
but three pints is an approximate proportion. Strain the mixture through
a fine colander into an earthen bread bowl, and let it cool. When
lukewarm, add one cup of good, lively yeast. Cover with a napkin, and
keep in a moderately warm place for several hours, or until it ceases to
ferment. As it begins to ferment, stir it well occasionally, and when
well fermented, turn into a clean glass or earthen jar. The next morning
cover closely, and put in the cellar or refrigerator, not, however, in
contact with the ice. It is best to reserve enough for the first baking
in some smaller jar, so that the larger portion need not be opened so
soon. Always shake the yeast before using.
RAW POTATO YEAST NO. 2.--This is made in the same manner as the
preceding, with this exception, that one fourth of a cup of loose hops
tied in a clean muslin bag, is boiled in the water for five minutes
before pouring it into the potato and flour mixture. Many think the
addition of the hops aids in keeping the yeast sweet for a longer
period. But potato yeast may be kept sweet for two weeks without hops,
if cared for, and is preferred by those who dislike the peculiar flavor
of the bread made from hop yeast.
HOP YEAST.--Put half a cup of loose hops, or an eighth of an ounce
of the pressed hops (put up by the Shakers and sold by druggists), into
a granite-ware kettle; pour over it a quart of boiling water, and simmer
about five minutes. Meanwhile stir to a smooth paste in a tin basin or
another saucepan, a cup of flour, and a little cold water. Line a
colander with a thin cloth, and strain the boiling infusion of hops
through it onto the flour paste, stirring continually. Boil this thin
starch a few minutes, until it thickens, stirring constantly that no
lumps be formed. Turn it into a large earthen bowl, add a tablespoonful
of salt and two of white sugar, and when it has cooled to blood heat,
add one half cup of lively yeast, stirring all well together. Cover the
bowl with a napkin, and let it stand in some moderately warm place
twenty-four hours, or until it ceases to ferment or send up bubbles,
beating back occasionally as it rises; then put into a wide-mouthed
glass or earthen jar, which has been previously scalded and dried, cover
closely, and set in a cool place. Yeast made in this manner will keep
sweet for two weeks in summer and longer in winter.
BOILED POTATO YEAST.--Peel four large potatoes, and put them to
boil in two quarts of cold water. Tie two loose handfuls of hops
securely in a piece of muslin, and place in the water to boil with the
potatoes. When the potatoes are tender, remove them with a perforated
skimmer, leaving the water still boiling. Mash them, and work in four
tablespoons of flour and two of sugar. Over this mixture pour gradually
the boiling hop infusion, stirring constantly, that it may form a smooth
paste, and set it aside to cool. When lukewarm, add a gill of lively
yeast, and proceed as in the preceding recipe.
BOILED POTATO YEAST NO. 2.--To one teacupful of very smoothly
mashed, mealy potato, add three teaspoonfuls of white sugar, one
teaspoonful of salt, and one cup of lively yeast, or one cake of Yeast
Foam, dissolved in a very little water. The potatoes should be warm, but
not hot enough to destroy the yeast. Allow this to stand until light,
when it is ready for use.
In the preparation of breads after the following recipes, the measure of
flour should be heaping.
MILK BREAD WITH WHITE FLOUR.--Scald and cool on pint of unskimmed
milk. Add to the milk when lukewarm, one fourth of a cup, or three
tablespoonfuls, of liquid yeast, and three cups of flour. Give the
batter a vigorous beating, turn it into a clean bread bowl or a small
earthen crock, cover, and let it rise over night. In the morning, when
well risen, add two or three cupfuls of warm flour, or sufficient to
knead. Knead well until the dough is sufficiently elastic to rebound
when struck forcibly with the fist. Allow it to rise again in mass; then
shape into loaves; place in pans; let it stand until light, and bake. If
undesirable to set the bread over night, and additional tablespoonfuls
or two of cheese may be used, to facilitate the rising.
VIENNA BREAD.--Into a pint of milk sterilized by scalding, turn a
cup and a half of boiling water. When lukewarm, add one half cup of warm
water, in which has been dissolved a cake of compressed yeast, and a
quart of white flour. Beat the batter thus made very thoroughly, and
allow it to rise for one hour; then add white flour until the dough is
of a consistency to knead. Knead well, and allow it to rise again for
about three hours, or until very light. Shape into four loaves, handling
lightly. Let it rise again in the pans, and bake. During the baking,
wash the tops of the loaves with a sponge dipped in milk, to glaze them.
WATER BREAD.--Dissolve a tablespoonful of sugar in a pint of
boiling water. When lukewarm, add one fourth of a cup full of liquid
yeast, and sufficient flour to make a batter thick enough to drop from
the spoon. Beat vigorously for ten minutes, turn into a clean,
well-scalded bread bowl, cover (wrapping in a blanket if in cold
weather), and let it rise over night. In the morning, when well risen,
add flour to knead. Knead well for half an hour, cover, and let it
become light in mass. When light, shape into loaves, allow it to rise
again, and bake.
FRUIT ROLL.--Take some bread dough prepared as for Milk Bread,
which has been sufficiently kneaded and is ready to mold, and roll to
about one inch in thickness. Spread over it some dates which have been
washed, dried, and stoned, raisins, currants, or chopped figs. Roll it
up tightly into a loaf. Let and it rise until very light, and bake.
FRUIT LOAF.--Set a sponge with one pint of rich milk, one fourth
cup of yeast, and a pint of flour, over night. In the morning, add two
cups of Zante currents, one cup of sugar, and three cups of flour, or
enough to make a rather stiff dough. Knead well, and set to rise; when
light, mold into loaves; let it rise again, and bake.
POTATO BREAD.--Cook and mash perfectly smooth, potatoes to make a
cupful. Add a teaspoonful of best white sugar, one cup and a half of
warm water, and when the mixture is lukewarm, one half cup of yeast,
prepared as directed for Boiled Potato Yeast No. 2, and flour to make a
very thick batter. Allow it to rise over night. In the morning, add a
pint of warm water and flour enough to knead. The dough will need to be
considerably stiffer than when no potato is used, or the result will be
a bread too moist for easy digestion. Knead well. Let it rise, mold into
four loaves, and when again light, bake.
PULLED BREAD.--Remove a loaf from the oven when about half baked,
and lightly pull the partially set dough into pieces of irregular shape,
about half the size of one's fist. Do not smooth or mold the pieces;
bake in a slow oven until browned and crisp throughout.
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD.--The materials needed for the bread are: one
pint of milk, scalded and cooled, one quart of wheat berry flour, one
pint Minnesota spring wheat flour, one third cup of a soft yeast, or one
fourth cake of compressed yeast, dissolved in one third cup of cold
water. Stir enough flour into the milk to make a stiff batter, put in
the yeast, and let it rise until foamy. Have the milk so warm that, when
the flour is put in, the batter will be of a lukewarm temperature. Wrap
in a thick blanket, and keep at an equable temperature. When light, stir
in, slowly, warm flour to make a soft dough. Knead for fifteen minutes,
and return to the bowl (which has been washed and oiled) to rise again.
When risen to double its size, form into two loaves, place in separate
pans, let rise again, and bake from three fourths to one and one half
hours, according to the heat of the oven.
WHOLE-WHEAT BREAD NO. 2.--Scald one pint of unskimmed milk; when
lukewarm, add one half cup of liquid yeast, or one fourth cake of
compressed yeast, dissolved in one half cup of warm water, and a pint of
Pillsbury's best white flour. Beat this batter thoroughly, and allow it
to rise. When well risen, add three and two thirds cups of wheat berry
flour. Knead thoroughly, and allow it to become light in mass; then
shape into two loaves, allow it to rise again, and bake.
MISS. B'S ONE-RISING BREAD.--Sift and measure three and three
fourths cups of wheat berry flour. Scald and cool a pint of unskimmed
milk. When lukewarm, add one tablespoonful of lively liquid yeast. By
slow degrees add the flour, beating vigorously until too stiff to use a
spoon, then knead thoroughly for half an hour, shape into a loaf, place
in a bread pan, cover with a napkin in warm weather, wrap well with
blankets in cold weather, and let rise over night. In the morning, when
perfectly light, pat in a well heated oven, and bake.
POTATO BREAD WITH WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR.--Take a half gill of liquid
yeast made as for Boiled Potato Yeast No. 2, and add milk, sterilised
and cooled to lukewarm, to make a pint. And one cup of well-mashed,
mealy potato and one cup of white flour, or enough to make a rather
thick batter Beat thoroughly, cover, and set to rise. When well risen,
add sufficient whole-wheat flour to knead. The quantity will vary
somewhat with the brand of flour used, but about four and one fourth
cupfuls will in general be needed. Knead well, let it rise in mass and
again in the loaf, and bake.
RYE BREAD.--Prepare a sponge over night with white flour as for
Water Bread. In the morning, when light, add another tablespoonful of
sugar, and rye flour to knead. Proceed as directed for the Water Bread,
taking care to use only enough rye flour to make the dough Just stiff
enough to mold. Use white flour for dusting than kneading board, as the
rye flour is sticky.
GRAHAM BREAD.--Take two tablespoonfuls of lively liquid yeast, or a
little less than one fourth cake of compressed yeast, dissolved in a
little milk, and add new milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm, to make
one pint. Add one pint of white flour, beat very thoroughly, and set to
rise. When very light, add three find one half cupfuls of sifted Graham
flour, or enough to make a dough that can be molded. Knead well for half
an hour. Place in a clean, slightly oiled bread bowl, cover, and allow
it to rise. When light, shape into a loaf: allow it to rise again, and
GRAHAM BREAD NO. 2.--Mix well one pint of white and two pints of
best Graham flour. Prepare a batter with a scant pint of milk, scalded
and cooled, two table spoonfuls of liquid yeast, or a little less than
one fourth of a cake of compressed yeast, dissolved in two table
spoonfuls of milk, and a portion of the mixed flour. Give it a vigorous
beating, and put it in a warm place to rise. When well risen, add more
flour to make a dough sufficiently stiff to knead. There will be some
variation in the amount required, dependent upon the brands of flour
used, but in general, two and one half pints of the flour will be enough
for preparing the sponge and kneading the dough. Knead thoroughly for
twenty-five or thirty minutes. Put into a clean and slightly oiled bread
bowl, cover, and set to rise again. When double its first bulk, mold
into a loaf; allow it to rise again, and bake.
GRAHAM BREAD NO. 3.--Mix three pounds each of Graham and Minnesota
spring wheat flour. Make a sponge of one and a half pints of warm water,
one half cake compressed yeast, well dissolved in the water, and flour
to form a batter. Let this rise. When well risen, add one and a half
pints more of warm water, one half cup full of New Orleans molasses, and
sufficient flour to knead. Work the bread thoroughly, allow it to rise
in mass; then mold, place in pans, and let it rise again. The amount of
material given is sufficient for four loaves of bread.
RAISED BISCUIT.--These may be made from dough prepared by any of
the preceding recipes for bread. They will be more tender if made with
milk, and if the dough is prepared expressly for biscuits, one third
cream may be used. When the dough has been thoroughly kneaded the last
time, divide into small, equal-sized pieces. A quantity of dough
sufficient for one loaf of bread should be divided into twelve or
sixteen such portions. Shape into smooth, round biscuits, fit closely
into a shallow pan, and let them rise until very light. Biscuit should
be allowed to become lighter than bread before putting in the oven,
since, being so much smaller, fermentation is arrested much sooner, and
they do not rise as much in the oven as does bread.
ROLLS.--Well kneaded and risen bread dough is made into a variety
of small forms termed rolls, by rolling with the hands or with a
rolling-pin, and afterward cutting or folding into any shape desired,
the particular manner by which they are folded and shaped giving to the
rolls their characteristic names. Dough prepared with rich milk or part
cream makes the best rolls. It may be divided into small, irregular
portions, about one inch in thickness, and shaped by taking each piece
separately in the left hand, then with the thumb and first finger of the
right hand, slightly stretch one of the points of the piece and draw it
over the left thumb toward the center of the roll, holding it there with
the left thumb. Turn the dough and repeat the operation until you have
been all around the dough, and each point has been drawn in; then place
on the pan to rise. Allow the rolls to become very light, and bake.
Rolls prepared in this manner are termed _Imperial Rolls_, and if the
folding has been properly done, when well baked they will be composed of
a succession of light layers, which can be readily separated.
_French Rolls_ may be made by shaping each portion of dough into small
oval rolls quite tapering at each end, allowing them to become light,
and baking far enough apart so that one will not touch another.
If, when the dough is light and ready to shape, it be rolled on the
board until about one eighth of an inch in thickness, and cut into
five-inch squares, then divided through the center into triangles,
rolled up, beginning with the wide side, and placed in the pan to rise
in semicircular shape, the rolls are called _Crescents_.
What are termed _Parker House Rolls_ may be made from well-risen dough
prepared with milk, rolled upon the board to a uniform thickness of
about one forth inch; cut into round or oval shapes with the cutter;
folded, one third over the other two thirds; allowed to rise until very
light, and baked.
The light, rolled dough, may be formed into a _Braid_ by cutting into
strips six inches in length and one in width, joining the ends of each
three, and braiding.
The heat of the oven should be somewhat greater for roils and biscuit
than for bread. The time required will depend upon the heat and the size
of the roll, but it will seldom exceed one half hour. Neither rolls nor
biscuits should be eaten hot, as they are then open to the same
objections as other new yeast bread.
BROWN BREAD.--To one and one fourth cups of new milk which has been
scalded and cooled, add one fourth of a cup of lively yeast, three
tablespoonfuls of sugar, and one cup each of white flour, rye flour or
sifted rye meal, and yellow corn meal. With different brands of flour
there may need to be some variation in the quantity of liquid to be
used. The mixture should be thick enough to shape. Allow it to rise
until light and cracked over the top; put into a bread pan, and when
again well risen, bake for an hour and a half or two hours in an oven
sufficiently hot at first to arrest fermentation and fix the bread
cells, afterwards allowing the heat to diminish somewhat, to permit a
slower and longer baking. Graham flour may be used in place of rye, if
DATE BREAD.--Take a pint of light white bread sponge prepared with
milk, add two tablespoons of sugar, and Graham flour to make a very
stiff batter. And last a cupful of stoned dates. Turn into a bread pan.
Let it rise, and bake.
FRUIT LOAF WITH GRAHAM AND WHOLE-WHEAT FLOUR.--Dissolve one fourth
cake of compressed yeast in a pint of sterilized milk; and a pint of
white flour; heat thoroughly, and set to rise. When well risen, add
three and one fourth cups of flour (Graham and whole-wheat, equal
proportions, thoroughly mixed), or sufficient to knead. Knead well for
half an hour, and just at the last add a cup of raisins, well washed,
dried, and dusted with flour. Let the loaf rise in mass; then shape, put
in the pan, allow it to become light again, and bake.
RAISED CORN BREAD.--Into two cupfuls of hot mush made from white
granular corn meal, stir two cupfuls of cold water. Beat well, and add
one half cup of liquid yeast, or one half cake of compressed yeast,
dissolved in one half cup of warm water, and two teaspoonfuls of
granulated sugar. Stir in white or sifted Graham flour to make it stiff
enough to knead. Knead very thoroughly, and put in a warm place to rise.
When light, molded into three loaves, put into pans, and allow it to
rise again. When well risen, bake at least for three fourths of an hour.
CORN CAKE.--Sterilise a cupful of rich milk or thin cream. Cool to
lukewarm, and dissolve in it half a cake of compressed yeast Add two
small cupfuls of white flour; beat very thoroughly, and put in a warm
place to rise. When light, add a cup of lukewarm water or milk, and two
cups of best yellow cornmeal. Turn into a shallow square pan, and leave
until again well risen. Bake in a quick oven. A tablespoonful of sugar
may be added with the corn meal, if desired.
OATMEAL BREAD.--Mix a quart of well-cooked oatmeal mush with a pint
of water, beating it perfectly smooth; add a cupful of liquid yeast and
flour to make a stiff batter. Cover, and let it rise. When light, add
sufficient flour to mold; knead as soft as possible, for twenty or
thirty minutes; shape into four or more loaves, let it rise again, and
MILK YEAST BREAD.--Prepare the yeast the day before by scalding
three heaping teaspoonfuls of fresh cornmeal with boiling milk. Set in a
warm place until light (from seven to ten hours); then put in a cool
place until needed for use. Start the bread by making a rather thick
batter with one cupful of warm water, one teaspoonful of the prepared
yeast, and white flour. Put in a warm place to rise. When light, add to
it a cupful of flour scalded with a cupful of boiling milk, and enough
more flour to make the whole into a rather stiff batter. Cover, and
allow it to rise. When again well risen, add flour enough to knead.
Knead well; shape into a loaf; let it rise, and bake. Three or four
cupfuls of white flour will be needed for all purposes with the amount
of liquid given; more liquid and flour may be added in forming the
second sponge if a larger quantity of bread is desired. In preparing
both yeast and bread, all utensils used should first be sterilized by
scalding in hot sal-soda water.
GRAHAM SALT-RISING BREAD.--Put two tablespoonfuls of milk into a
half-pint cup, add boiling water to fill the cup half full, one half
teaspoonful of sugar, one fourth teaspoonful of salt, and white flour to
make a rather stiff batter. Let it rise over night. In the morning, when
well risen, add a cup and a half of warm water, or milk scalded and
cooled, and sufficient white flour to form a rather stiff batter. Cover,
and allow it again to rise. When light, add enough sifted Graham flour
to knead. When well kneaded, shape into a loaf; allow it to become light
again in the pan, and bake. All utensils used should be first well
sterilized by scalding in hot sal-soda water.
The earliest forms of bread were made without fermentation. Grain was
broken as fine as possible by pounding on smooth stones, made into dough
with pure water, thoroughly kneaded, and baked in some convenient way.
Such was the "unleavened breads" or "Passover cakes" of the Israelites.
In many countries this bread is the only kind used. Unleavened bread
made from barley and oats is largely used by the Irish and Scotch
peasantry. In Sweden an unleavened bread is made of rye meal and water,
flavored with anise seed, and baked in large, thin cakes, a foot or more
[Illustration: Mexican Woman Making Tortillas]
Some savage tribes subsists chiefly upon excellent corn bread, made
simply of meal and water. Unleavened bread made of corn, called
_tortillas_, forms the staple diet of the Mexican Indians. The corn,
previously softened by soaking in lime water, is ground to a fine paste
between a stone slab and roller called a _metate_, then patted and
tossed from hand to hand until flattened into thin, wafer-like cakes,
and baked over a quick fire, on a thin iron plate or a flat stone.
Unquestionably, unleavened bread, well kneaded and properly baked, is
the most wholesome of all breads, but harder to masticate than that made
light by fermentation, but this is an advantage; for it insures more
thorough mixing with that important digestive agent, the saliva, than is
usually given to more easily softened food.
[Illustration: Stone Metate.]
What is usually termed unfermented bread, however, is prepared with
flour and liquid, to which shortening--of some kind is added, and the
whole made light by the liberation of gas generated within the dough
during the process of baking. This is brought about either by mixing
with the flour certain chemical substances, which, when wet and brought
into contact, act upon each other so as to set free carbonic acid gas,
which expands and puffs up the loaf; or by introducing into the dough
some volatile substance as carbonate of ammonia, which the heat during
baking will, cause to vaporize, and which in rising produces the same
Carbonic acid gas maybe for this purpose developed by the chemical
decomposition of bicarbonate of potassa (saleratus), or bicarbonate of
soda, by some acid such as sour milk, hydrochloric acid, tartaric acid,
nitrate of potassa, or the acid phosphate of lime.
The chemical process of bread-raising originally consisted in adding to
the dough definite proportions of muriatic acid and carbonate of soda,
by the union of which carbonic acid gas and common salt were produced.
This process was soon abandoned, however, on account of the propensity
exhibited by the acid for eating holes in the fingers of the baker as
well as in his bread pans; and a more convenient one for hands and
pans, that of using soda or salaratus with cream of tartar or sour milk,
was substituted. When there is an excess of soda, a portion of it
remains in the loaf uncombined, giving to the bread a yellow color and
an alkaline taste, and doing mischief to the delicate coating of the
stomach. Alkalies, the class of chemicals to which soda and salaratus
belong, when pure and strong, are powerful corrosive poisons. The acid
used with the alkali to liberate the carbonic-acid gas in the process of
bread-making, if rightly proportioned, destroys this poisonous property,
and unites with it to form a new compound, which, although not a poison,
is yet unwholesome.
We can hardly speak too strongly in condemnation of the use of chemicals
in bread-making, when we reflect that the majority of housewives who
combine sour milk and salaratus, or cream of tartar and soda, more
frequently than otherwise _guess_ at the proportions, or measure them by
some "rule of thumb," without stopping to consider that although two
cups of sour milk may at one time be sufficiently acid to neutralize a
teaspoonful of saleratus, milk may vary in degree of acidity to such an
extent that the same quantity will be quite insufficient for the purpose
at another time; or that though a teaspoonful of some brand of cream of
tartar will neutralize a half teaspoonful of one kind of soda, similar
measures will not always bring about the same result. Very seldom,
indeed, will the proportions be sufficiently exact to perfectly
neutralise the alkali, since chemicals are subject to variations in
degree of strength, both on account of the method by which they are
manufactured and the length of time they have been kept, to say nothing
of adulterations to which they may have been subjected, and which are so
common that it is almost impossible to find unadulterated cream of
tartar in the market.
Baking powders are essentially composed of bicarbonate of soda and cream
of tartar, mixed in the proper proportions to exactly neutralize each
other, and if they were always pure, would certainly be as good as soda
and cream of tartar in any form, and possess the added advantage of
perfect proportions; but as was demonstrated not long ago by the
government chemist, nearly every variety of baking powder in the market
is largely adulterated with cheaper and harmful substances. Alum, a most
frequent constituent of such baking powders, is exceedingly injurious to
the stomach. Out of several hundred brands of baking powder examined,
only one was found pure.
Even when in their purest state, these chemicals are not harmless, as is
so generally believed. It is a very prevalent idea that when soda is
neutralized by an acid, both chemical compounds are in some way
destroyed or vaporized in the process, and in some occult manner escape
from the bread during the process of baking. This is altogether an
error. The alkali and acid neutralize each other chemically, but they do
not destroy each other. Their union forms a salt, exactly the same as
the Rochelle salts of medicine, a mild purgative, and if we could
collected from the bread and weigh or measure it, we would find nearly
as much of it as there was of the baking powder in the first place. If
two teaspoonfuls of baking powder to the quart of flour be used, we have
remaining in the bread made with that amount of flour 165 grains of
crystallized Rochelle salts, or 45 grains more than this to be found in
a Seidlitz powder. It may be sometimes useful to take a dose of salts,
but the daily consumption of such chemical substances in bread can
hardly be considered compatible with the conditions necessary for the
maintenance of health. These chemical substances are unusable by the
system, and must all be removed by the liver and excretory organs, thus
imposing upon them an extra and unnecessary burden. It has also been
determined by scientific experimentation that the chemicals found in
baking powders in bread retard digestion.
These substances are, fortunately, not needed for the production of good
light bread. The purpose of their use is the production of a gas; but
air is a gas much more economical and abundant than carbonic-acid gas,
and which, when introduced into bread and subjected to heat, has the
property of expanding, and in doing, puffing up the bread and making it
light. Bread made light with air is vastly superior to that compounded
with soda or baking powder, in point of healthfulness, and when well
prepared, will equal it in lightness and palatableness. The only
difficulty lies in catching and holding the air until it has
accomplished the desired results. But a thorough understanding of the
necessary conditions and a little practice will soon enable one to
attain sufficient skill in this direction to secure most satisfactory
[Illustration: Gem Irons]
GENERAL DIRECTIONS.--All materials used for making aerated bread
should be of the very best quality. Poor flour will not produce good
bread by this or by any other process. Aerated breads are of two kinds:
those baked while in the form of a batter, and such as are made into a
dough before baking.
[Illustration: Perforated Sheet Iron Pan for Rolls.]
All breads, whether fermented or unfermented, are lighter if baked in
some small form, and this is particularly true of unfermented breads
made light with air. For this reason, breads made into a dough are best
baked in the form of rolls, biscuits, or crackers, and batter breads in
small iron cups similar to those in the accompanying illustration. These
cups or "gem irons" as they are sometimes called, are to be obtained in
various shapes and sizes, but for this purpose the more shallow cups are
preferable. For baking the dough breads a perforated sheet of Russia
iron or heavy tin, which any tinner can make to fit the oven, is the
most serviceable, as it permits the hot air free access to all sides of
the bread at once. If such is not obtainable, the upper oven grate,
carefully washed and scoured, may be used Perforated pie tins also
answer very well for this purpose.
[Illustration: Making Unfermented Bread.]
The heat of the oven for baking should be sufficient to form a slight
crust over all sides of the bread before the air escapes, but not
sufficient to brown it within the first fifteen minutes. To aid in
forming the crust on the sides and bottom of batter breads, the iron
cups should be heated previous to introducing the batter. The degree of
heat required for baking will be about the same as for fermented rolls
and biscuit, and the fire should be so arranged as to keep a steady but
not greatly increasing heat.
Air is incorporated into batter breads by brisk and continuous agitating
and beating; into dough breads by thorough kneading, chopping, or
Whatever the process by which the air is incorporated, it must be
_continuous_. For this reason it is especially essential in making
aerated bread that every thing be in readiness before commencing to put
the bread together. All the materials should be measured out, the
utensils to be used in readiness, and the oven properly heated. Success
is also dependent upon the dexterity with which the materials when ready
are put together. Batter bread often proves a failure although the
beating is kept up without cessation, because it is done slowly and
carelessly, or interspersed with stirring, thus permitting the air to
escape between the strokes.
If the bread is to be baked at once, the greater the dispatch with which
it can be gotten into a properly-heated oven the lighter it will be.
Crackers, rolls and other forms of dough breads often lack in lightness
because they were allowed to stand some time before baking. The same is
true of batter breads. If, for any reason, it is necessary to keep such
breads for any length of time after being prepared, before baking, set
the dish containing them directly on ice.
The lightness of aerated bread depends not only upon the amount of air
incorporated in its preparation, but also upon the expansion of the air
during the baking. The colder the air, the greater will be its expansion
upon the application of heat. The colder the materials employed, then,
for the bread-making, the colder will be the air confined within it, and
the lighter will be the bread. For this reason, in making batter bread,
it will be found a good plan, when there is time, to put the materials
together, and place the dish containing the mixture on ice for an hour
or two, or even over night. When ready to use, beat thoroughly for ten
or fifteen minutes to incorporate air, and bake in heated irons. Rolls
and other breads made into a dough, may be kneaded and shaped and put
upon ice to become cold. Thus treated, less kneading is necessary than
when prepared to be baked at once.
Many of the recipes given for the batter breads include eggs. The yolk
is not particularly essential, and if it can be put to other uses, may
be left out. The white of an egg, because of its viscous nature, when
beaten, serves as a sort of trap to catch and hold air, and added to the
bread, aids in making it light. Very nice light bread may be made
without eggs, but the novice in making aerated breads will, perhaps,
find it an advantage first to become perfectly familiar with the
processes and conditions involved, by using the recipes with eggs before
attempting those without, which are somewhat more dependent for success
upon skill and practice.
When egg is used in the bread, less heating of the irons will be
necessary, and not so hot an oven as when made without.
If the bread, when baked, appears light, but with large holes in the
center, it is probable that either the irons or the oven was too hot at
first. If the bread after baking, seems sticky or dough-like in the
interior, it is an indication that either it was insufficiently baked,
or that not enough flour in proportion to the liquid has been used. It
should be stated, that although the recipes given have been prepared
with the greatest care, and with the same brands of flour, careful
measurement, and proper conditions, prove successful every time, yet
with different brands of flour some variation in quantity may needed,--a
trifle more or less,--dependent upon the absorbent properties of the
flour, and if eggs are used, upon the size of the eggs.
A heavy bread may be the result of the use of poor flour, too much
flour, careless or insufficient beating, so that not enough air was
incorporated, or an oven not sufficiently hot to form a crust over the
bread before the air escaped. Breads made into a dough, if moist and
clammy, require more flour or longer baking. Too much flour will make
them stiff and hard.
The length of time requisite for baking aerated breads made with
whole-wheat, wheat berry, or Graham flours, will vary from forty minutes
to one hour, according to the kind and form in which the bread is baked,
and the heat of the oven.
The irons in which batter breads are to be baked should not be smeared
with grease; if necessary to oil them at all, they should only be wiped
out lightly with a clean, oiled cloth. Irons well cared for, carefully
washed, and occasionally scoured with Sapolio to keep them perfectly
smooth, will require no greasing whatever.
In filling the irons, care should be taken to fill each cup at first as
full as it is intended to have; it, as the heat of the irons begins the
cooking of the batter as soon as it is put in, and an additional
quantity added has a tendency to make the bread less light.
WHOLE-WHEAT PUFFS.--Put the yolk of an egg into a basin, and beat
the white in a separate dish to a stiff froth. Add to the yolk, one half
a cupful of rather thin sweet cream and one cupful of skim milk. Beat
the egg, cream, and milk together until perfectly mingled and foamy with
air bubbles; then add, gradually, beating well at the same time, one
pint of what berry flour. Continue the beating vigorously and without
interruption for eight or ten minutes; then stir in, lightly, the white
of the egg. Do not beat again after the white of the egg is added, but
turn at once into heated, shallow irons, and bake for an hour in a
moderately quick oven. If properly made and carefully baked, these puffs
will be of a fine, even texture throughout, and as light as bread raised
WHOLE-WHEAT PUFFS NO. 2.--Make a batter by beating together until
perfectly smooth the yolk of one egg, one and one half cups of new or
unskimmed milk, and one pint of whole-wheat flour. Place the dish
containing it directly upon ice, and leave for an hour or longer. The
bread may be prepared and left on the ice over night, if desired for
breakfast. When ready to bake the puffs, whip the white of the egg to a
stiff froth, and after vigorously beating the batter for ten minutes,
stir in lightly the white of the egg; turn at once into heated irons,
and bake. If preferred, one third white flour and two thirds sifted
Graham flour may be used in the place of the wheat berry flour.
WHOLE-WHEAT PUFFS NO. 3.--Take one cupful of sweet cream
(twelve-hour cream), one half cupful of soft ice water, and two slightly
rounded cupfuls of wheat berry flour. Beat the material well together,
and set the dish containing it on ice for an hour or more before using.
When ready to bake, beat the mixture vigorously for ten minutes, then
turn into heated iron cups (shallow ones are best), and bake for about
an hour in a quick oven.
GRAHAM PUFFS.--Beat together vigorously until full of air bubbles,
one pint of unskimmed milk, the yolk of one egg, and one pint and three
or four tablespoonfuls of Graham flour, added a little at a time. When
the mixture is light and foamy throughout, stir in lightly and evenly
the white of the egg, beaten to a stiff froth; turn into heated irons,
and bake in a rather quick oven. Instead of all Graham, one third white
flour may be used if preferred.
GRAHAM PUFFS NO. 2.--Beat the yolks of two eggs in two cupfuls of
ice water; then add gradually, beating well meantime, three and one
fourth cupfuls of Graham flour. Continue the beating, after all the
flour is added, until the mixture is light and full of air bubbles. Add
last the whites of the eggs, beaten to a stiff froth, and bake at once
in heated irons.
CURRANT PUFFS.--Prepare the puffs as directed in any of the
foregoing recipes with the addition of one cup of Zante currants which
have been well washed, dried, and floured.
GRAHAM GEMS.--Into two cupfuls of unskimmed milk which has been
made very cold by standing on ice, stir gradually, sprinkling it from
the hand, three and one fourth cupfuls of Graham flour. Beat vigorously
for ten minutes or longer, until the batter is perfectly smooth and full
of air bubbles. Turn at once into hissing hot gem irons, and bake in a
hot oven. If preferred, the batter may be prepared, and the dish
containing it placed on ice for an hour or longer; then well beaten and
baked. Graham gems may be made in this manner with soft water instead of
milk, but such, in general, will need a little more flour than when made
with milk. With some ovens, it will be found an advantage in baking
these gems to place them on the upper grate for the first ten minutes or
until the top has been slightly crusted, and then change to the bottom
of the oven for the baking.
CRUSTS.--Beat together very thoroughly one cupful of ice-cold milk,
and one cupful of Graham flour. When very light and full of air bubbles,
turn into hot iron cups, and bake twenty-five or thirty minutes. The
best irons for this purpose are the shallow oblong, or round cups of the
same size at the bottom as at the top. Only a very little batter should
be put in each cup. The quantity given is sufficient for one dozen
RYE PUFFS.--Beat together the same as for whole-wheat puffs one
cupful of milk, one tablespoonful of sugar, and the yolk of an egg. Add
one cupful of good rye flour, mixed with one half cupful of Graham
flour, and stir in lastly the well beaten white of the egg. Bake at
once, in heated gem-irons.
RYE PUFFS NO. 2.--Beat together until well mingled one pint of thin
cream and the yolk of one egg. Add gradually, beating meanwhile, four
cups of rye flour. Continue to beat vigorously for ten minutes, then add
the stiffly-beaten white of the egg, and bake in heated irons.
RYE GEMS.--Mix together one cupful of corn meal and one cupful of
rye meal. Stir the mixed meal into one and a half cupfuls of ice water.
Beat the batter vigorously for ten or fifteen minutes, then turn into
hot irons, and bake.
BLUEBERRY GEMS.--To one cupful of rich milk add one tablespoonful
of sugar, and the yolk of an egg. Beat well till full of air bubbles;
then add gradually one cupful of Graham flour, and one cupful of white
flour, or white corn meal. Beat vigorously until light; stir in the
beaten white of the egg, and one cupful of fresh, sound blueberries.
Bake in heated irons, in a moderately quick oven. Chopped or sour apples
may be used in place of the berries.
HOMINY GEMS.--Beat one egg until very light, add to it one
tablespoonful of thick sweet cream, a little salt if desired, and two
cupfuls of cooked hominy (fine). Thin the mixture with one cupful or
less of boiling water until it will form easily, beat well, and bake in
SALLY LUNN GEMS.--Beat together the yolk of one egg, two
tablespoonfuls of sugar, and one cupful of thin, ice-cold, sweet cream.
Add slowly, beating at the same time, one cup and two tablespoonfuls of
sifted Graham flour. Beat vigorously, until full of air bubbles, add the
white of the egg beaten stiffly, and bake in heated irons.
CORN PUFFS.--Mingle the yolk of one egg with one cupful of rich
milk. Add to the liquid one cupful of flour, one-half cupful of fine,
yellow corn meal, and one-fourth cupful of sugar, all of which have
previously been well mixed together. Place the batter on ice for an
hour, or until very cold. Then beat it vigorously five or ten minutes,
till full of air bubbles; stir in lightly the stiffly beaten white of
the egg, and put at once into heated irons. Bake in a moderately quick
oven, thirty or forty minutes.
CORN PUFFS NO. 2.--Scald two cupfuls of fine white corn meal with
boiling water. When cold, add three tablespoonfuls of thin sweet cream,
and the yolk of one egg. Beat well, and stir in lastly the white of the
egg, beaten to a stiff froth. The batter should be sufficiently thin to
drop easily from a spoon, but not thin enough to pour. Bake in heated
irons, in a moderately quick oven.
CORN PUFFS NO. 3.--Take one cupful of cold mashed potato, and one
cupful of milk, rubbed together through a colander to remove all lumps.
Add the yolk of one well beaten, egg, and then stir in slowly, beating
vigorously meantime, one cupful of good corn meal. Lastly, stir in the
white of the egg beaten to a stiff froth, and bake in heated irons, in a
rather quick oven.
CORN PUFFS NO. 4.--Beat together one and one-half cupfuls of
unskimmed milk and the yolks of two eggs, until thoroughly blended. Add
two cupfuls of flour, and one cupful best granular corn meal. Beat the
batter thoroughly; stir in lightly the whites of the eggs, beaten to a
stiff froth, turn into heated irons, and bake.
CORN DODGERS.--Scald one cupful of best granular corn meal, with
which a tablespoonful of sugar has been sifted, with one cup of boiling
milk. Beat until smooth, and drop on a griddle, in cakes about one inch
in thickness, and bake slowly for an hour. Turn when brown.
CORN DODGERS NO. 2.--Mix one tablespoonful of sugar with two cups
best corn meal. Scald with one cup of boiling water. Add rich milk to
make a batter thin enough to drop from a spoon. Lastly, add one egg,
yolk and white beaten separately, and bake on a griddle in the oven from
three fourth of an hour to one hour.
CREAM CORN CAKES.--Into one cup of thin cream stir one and one half
cups of granular corn meal, or enough to make a stiff batter; beat well,
drop into heated irons, and bake.
HOE CAKES.--Scald one pint of white corn meal, with which, if
desired, a tablespoonful of sugar, and one half teaspoonful of salt have
been mixed, with boiling milk, or water enough to make a batter
sufficiently thick not to spread. Drop on a hot griddle, in large or
small cakes, as preferred, about one half inch in thickness. Cook
slowly, and when well browned on the under side, turn over. The cake may
be cooked slowly, until well done throughout, or, as the portion
underneath becomes well browned the first browned crust may be peeled
off with a knife, and the cake again turned. As rapidly as a crust
becomes formed and browned, one may be removed, and the cake turned,
until the whole is all browned. The thin wafer-like crusts are excellent
served with hot milk or cream.
OATMEAL GEMS.--To one cupful of well-cooked oatmeal add one half
cupful of rich milk or thin cream, and the yolk of one egg. Beat all
together thoroughly; then add, continuing to beat, one and one third
cupfuls of Graham flour, and lastly the stiffly beaten white of the egg.
Bake in heated irons. If preferred, one cupful of white flour may be
used in place of the Graham.
SNOW GEMS.--Beat together lightly but thoroughly two parts clean,
freshly fallen, dry snow, and one part best granular corn meal. Turn
into hot gem irons and bake quickly. The snow should not be packed in
measuring, and the bread should be prepared before the snow melts.
POP OVERS.--For the preparation of these, one egg, one cupful of
milk, and one scant cupful of white flour are required. Beat the egg,
yolk and white separately. Add to the yolk, when well beaten, one half
of the milk, and sift in the flour a little at a time, stirring until
the whole is a perfectly smooth paste. Add the remainder of the milk
gradually, beating well until the whole is an absolutely smooth, light
batter about the thickness of cream. Stir in the stiffly beaten white of
the egg, and bake in hot earthen cups or muffin rings, and to prevent
them from sticking, sift flour into the rings after slightly oiling,
afterward turning them upside down to shake off all of the loose flour.
GRANOLA GEMS.--Into three fourths of a cup of rich milk stir one
cup of Granola (prepared by the Sanitarium Food Co.). Drop into heated
irons, and bake for twenty or thirty minutes.
BEAN GEMS.--Prepare the gems in the same manner as for Whole-Wheat
Puffs, using one half cup of milk, one egg, one cup of cooked beans
which have been rubbed through a colander and salted, and one cup and
one tablespoonful of white flour. A little variation in the quantity of
the flour may be necessary, dependent upon the moisture contained in the
beans, although care should be taken to have them quite dry.
BREAKFAST ROLLS.--Sift a pint and a half of Graham flour into a
bowl, and into it stir a cupful of very cold thin cream or unskimmed
milk. Pour the liquid into the flour slowly, a few spoonfuls at a time,
mixing each spoonful to a dough with the flour as fast as poured in.
When all the liquid has been added, gather the fragments of dough
together, knead thoroughly for ten minutes or longer, until perfectly
smooth and elastic. The quantity of flour will vary somewhat with the
quality, but in general, the quantity given will be quite sufficient for
mixing the dough and dusting the board. When well kneaded, divide into
two portions; roll each over and over with the hands, until a long roll
about once inch in diameter is formed; cut this into two-inch lengths,
prick with a fork and place on perforated tins, far enough apart so that
one will not touch another when baking. Each roll should be as smooth
and perfect as possible, and with no dry flour adhering. Bake at once,
or let stand on ice for twenty minutes. The rolls should not be allowed
to stand after forming, unless on ice. From thirty to forty minutes will
be required for baking. When done, spread on the table to cool, but do
not pile one on top of another.
Very nice rolls may be made in the same manner, using for the wetting
ice-cold soft water. They requite a longer kneading, are more crisp, but
less tender than those made with cream.
With some brands of Graham flour the rolls will be much lighter if one
third white flour be used. Whole-wheat flour may be used in place of
Graham, if preferred.
STICKS.--Prepare, and knead the dough the same as for rolls. When
ready to form, roll the dough much smaller; scarcely larger than one's
little finger, and cut into three or four-inch lengths. Bake the same as
rolls, for about twenty minutes.
CREAM GRAHAM RAILS.--To one half cup cold cream add one half cup of
soft ice water. Make into a dough with three cups of Graham flour,
sprinkling in slowly with the hands, beating at the same time, so as to
incorporate as much air as possible, until the dough is too stiff to be
stirred; then knead thoroughly, form into rolls, and bake.
CORN MUSH ROLLS.--Make a dough of one cup of corn meal mush, one
half cup of cream, and two and one half cups of white flour; knead
thoroughly, shape into rolls, and bake.
FRUIT ROLLS.--Prepare the rolls as directed in the recipe for
Breakfast Rolls, and when well kneaded, work into the dough a half
cupful of Zante currants which have been well washed, dried, and
floured. Form the rolls in the usual manner, and bake.
CREAM MUSH ROLLS.--Into a cupful of cold Graham mush beat
thoroughly three tablespoonfuls of thick, sweet cream. Add sufficient
Graham flour to make a rather stiff dough, knead thoroughly, shape into
roils, and bake. Corn meal, farina, and other mushes may be used in the
place of the Graham mush, if preferred.
BEATEN BISCUIT.--Into a quart of whole-wheat flour mix a large cup
of must be very stiff, and rendered soft and pliable by thorough
kneading and afterward pounding with a mallet for at least half an hour
in the following manner: Pound the dough oat flat, and until of the same
thickness throughout; dredge lightly with flour; double the dough over
evenly and pound quickly around the outside, to fasten the edges
together and thus retain the air within the dough. When well worked, the
dough will appear flaky and brittle, and pulling a piece off it quickly
will cause a sharp, snapping sound. Mold into small biscuits, making an
indenture in the center of each with the thumb, prick well with a fork,
and place on perforated sheets, with a space between, and put at once
into the oven. The oven should be of the same temperature as for rolls.
If they are "sad" inside when cold, they were not well baked, as they
should be light and tender. If preferred, use one third white flour,
instead of all whole-wheat. Excellent results are also obtained by
chopping instead of pounding the dough.
CREAM CRISPS.--Make a dough of one cupful of thin cream, and a
little more than three cups of Graham flour. Knead until smooth, then
divide the dough into several pieces, and place in a dish on ice for an
hour, or until ice cold. Roll each piece separately and quickly as thin
as brown paper. Cut with a knife into squares, prick with a fork, and
bake on perforated tins, until lightly browned on both sides.
CREAM CRISPS NO. 2.--Into two and one half cups of cold cream or
rich milk, sprinkle slowly with the hands, beating meanwhile to
incorporate air, four cups of best Graham flour, sifted with one half
cup of granulated sugar. Add flour to knead; about two and one fourth
cups will be required. When well kneaded, divide into several portions,
roll each as thin as a knife blade, cut into squares, prick well with a
fork, and bake.
GRAHAM CRISPS.--Into one half cupful of ice-cold soft water, stir
slowly, so as to incorporate as much air as possible, enough Graham
flour to make a dough stiff enough to knead. A tablespoonful of sugar
may be added to the water before stirring in the flour, if desired.
After kneading fifteen minutes, divide the dough into six portions;
roll each as thin as brown paper, prick with a fork, and bake on
perforated tins, turning often until both sides are a light, even brown.
Break into irregular pieces and serve.
OATMEAL CRISPS.--Make a dough with one cupful of oatmeal porridge
and Graham flour. Knead thoroughly, roll very thin, and bake as directed
for Graham Crisps. A tablespoonful of sugar may be added if desired.
GRAHAM CRACKERS.--Make a dough of one cup of cream and Graham flour
sufficient to make a soft dough. Knead thoroughly, and place on ice for
half an hour; then roll thin, cut into small cakes with a cookie-cutter,
prick with a fork, and bake on floured pans, in a brisk oven. A
tablespoonful of sugar may be added if desired.
FRUIT CRACKERS.--Prepare a dough with one cup of cold sweet cream
and three cups of Graham flour, knead well, and divide into two
portions. Roll each quite thin. Spread one thickly with dates or figs
seeded and chopped; place the other one on top and press together with
the rolling pin. Cut into squares and bake. An additional one fourth of
a cup of flour will doubtless be needed for dusting the board and
Behind the nutty loaf is the mill wheel; behind the mill is the
wheat field; on the wheat field rests the sunlight; above the sun is
God.--_James Russell Lowell._
Bread forms one of the most important parts of the ration of the
German soldier. In time of peace, the private soldier is supplied
day by day with one pound and nine ounces of bread; when fighting
for the Fatherland, every man is entitled to a free ration of over
two pounds of bread, and field bakery trains and steam ovens for
providing the large amount of bread required, form a recognized part
of the equipment of the German army.
The wandering Arab lives almost entirely upon bread, with a few
dates as a relish.
According to Count Rumford, the Bavarian wood-chopper, one of the
most hardy and hard-working men in the world, receives for his
weekly rations one large loaf of rye bread and a small quantity of
roasted meal. Of the meal he makes an infusion, to which he adds a
little salt, and with the mixture, which he calls burned soup, he
eats his rye bread. No beer, no beef, no other food than that
mentioned, and no drink but water; and yet he can do more work and
enjoys a better digestion and possesses stronger muscles than the
average American or Englishman, with their varied dietary.
The following truthful bit of Scandinavian history well illustrates
the influence of habits of frugality upon national character: "The
Danes were approaching, and one of the Swedish bishops asked how
many men the province of Dalarna could furnish.
"'At least twenty thousand,' was the reply; 'for the old men are
just as strong and brave as the young ones.'
"'But what do they live upon?'
"'Upon bread and water. They take little account of hunger and
thirst, and when corn is lacking, they make their bread out of tree
"'Nay,' said the bishop, 'a people who eat tree bark and drink
water, the devil himself could not vanquish!' and neither were they
vanquished. Their progress was one series of triumphs, till they
placed Gustavus Vasa on the throne of Sweden."
The word _biscuit_ embodies the process by which this form of bread
was made from time immemorial down to within the last century. _Bis_
(twice), and _coctus_ (cooked), show that they were twice baked.
Fragments of unfermented bread were discovered in the Swiss
lake-dwellings, which belong to the Neolithic age.
Fermented bread is seldom seen in Northern Europe and Asia except
among the rich or the nobility. At one time, the captain of an
English vessel requested a baker of Gottenburg to bake a large
quantity of loaves of raised bread. The baker refused to undertake
an order of such magnitude, saying it would be quite impossible to
dispose of so much, until the captain agreed to take and pay for it
I made a study of the ancient and indispensable art of bread-making,
consulting such authorities as offered, going back to the primitive
days and first invention of the unleavened kind, and traveling
gradually down in my studies through that accidental souring of the
dough which it is supposed taught the leavening process, and through
the various fermentations thereafter till I came to "good, sweet,
wholesome bread,"--the staff of life. Leaven, which some deemed the
soul of bread, the _spiritus_ which fills its cellular tissues,
which is religiously preserved like the vestal fire,--some precious
bottleful, I suppose, brought over in the Mayflower, did the
business for America, and its influence is still rising, swelling,
spreading in cerulean billows over the land,--this seed I regularly
and faithfully procured from the village, until one morning I forgot
the rules and scalded my yeast; by which accident I discovered that
even this was not indispensable, and I have gladly omitted it ever
since. Neither did I put any soda or other acid or alkali into my
bread. It would seem that I made it according to the recipe which
Marcus Porcius Cato gave about two centuries before Christ: "Make
kneaded bread thus: Wash your hands and trough well. Put the meal
into the trough, add water gradually, and knead it thoroughly. When
you have needed it well, mold it, and bake it under a cover," that
is in a baking kettle.--_Thoreau in Walden._
Of all the articles which enter the list of foods, none are more
wholesome and pleasing than the fruits which nature so abundantly
provides. Their delicate hues and perfect outlines appeal to our sense
of beauty, while their delicious flavors gratify our appetite. Our
markets are supplied with an almost unlimited variety of both native and
tropical fruits, and it might be supposed that they would always appear
upon the daily bill of fare; yet in the majority of homes this is rarely
the case. People are inclined to consider fruit, unless the product of
their own gardens, a luxury too expensive for common use. Many who use a
plentiful supply, never think of placing it upon their tables, unless
cooked. Ripe fruit is a most healthful article of diet when partaken of
at seasonable times; but to eat it, or any other food, between meals, is
a gross breach of the requirements of good digestion.
Fruits contain from seventy-five to ninety-five per cent of water, and a
meager proportion of nitrogenous matter; hence their value as
nutrients, except in a few instances, is rather small; but they supply a
variety of agreeable acids which refresh and give tone to the system,
and their abundant and proper use does much to keep the vital machinery
in good working order.
Aside from the skin and seeds, all fruits consist essentially of two
parts,--the cellulose structure containing the juice, and the juice
itself. The latter is water, with a small proportion of fruit sugar
(from one to twenty per cent in different varieties), and vegetable
acids. These acids are either free, or combined with potash and lime in
the form of acid salts. They are mallic, citric, tartaric, and pectic
acids. The last-named is the jelly-producing principle.
While the juice, as we commonly find it, is readily transformable for
use in the system, the cellular structure of the fruit is not so easily
digested. In some fruits, as the strawberry, grape, and banana, the cell
walls are so delicate as to be easily broken up; but in watermelons,
apples, and oranges, the cells are coarser, and form a larger bulk of
the fruit, hence are less easily digested. As a rule, other points being
equal, the fruits which yield the richest and largest quantity of
juices, and also possess a cellular framework the least perceptible on
mastication, are the most readily digested. A certain amount of waste
matter is an advantage, to give bulk to our food; but persons with weak
stomachs, who cannot eat certain kinds of fruit, are often able to
digest the juice when taken alone.
Unripe fruits differ from ripe fruits in that they contain, starch,
which during ripening is changed into sugar, and generally some
proportion of tannic acid, which gives them their astringency. The
characteristic constituent of unripe fruit, however, is pectose, an
element insoluble in water, but which, as maturation proceeds, is
transformed into pectic and pectosic acids. These are soluble in boiling
water, and upon cooling, yield gelatinous solutions. Their presence
makes it possible to convert the juice of ripe fruits into jelly. Raw
starch in any form is indigestible, hence unripe fruit should never be
eaten uncooked. As fruit matures, the changes it undergoes are such as
best fit for consumption and digestion. The following table shows the
composition of the fruits in common use:--
Water. Albumen. Sugar. Free Acid. Pectose. Cellulose Mineral
Apples 83.0 0.4 6.8 1.0 5.2 3.2 0.4
Pears 84.0 0.3 7.0 0.1 4.6 3.7 0.3
Peaches 85.0 0.5 1.8 0.7 8.0 3.4 0.6
Grapes 80.0 0.7 Glucose. Tartaric. 3.1 2.0 0.4
Plums 82.0 0.2 3.6 0.5 5.7 ... 0.6
Gooseberries 86.0 0.4 7.0 1.5 1.9 2.7 0.5
Strawberries 87.6 0.5 4.5 1.3 0.1 ... 0.6
Raspberries 86.+ 0.5 4.7 1.3 1.7 ... 0.4
Currants 85.2 0.4 6.4 1.8 0.2 ... 0.5
Blackberries 86.4 0.5 4.4 1.1 1.4 ... 0.4
Cherries 75.0 0.9 13.1 0.3 2.2 ... 0.6
Apricots 85.0 .08 1.0 ... 5.9 ... 0.8
Oranges 86.0 [A] 8 to 10 ... ... ... ...
Dates 20.8 6.6 54.0 Fat. 12.3 5.5 1.6
Bananas 73.9 4.8 19.7[B] Fat. ... 0.2 0.8
Turkey Figs 17.5 6.1 57.5 Fat. 8.4[C] 7.3 2.3
[Table Note A: Small quantities of albumen, citric acid, citrate of
potash, cellulose, etc.]
[Table Note B: Sugar and pectose.]
[Table Note C: Starch, pectose, etc.]
There is a prevailing notion that the free use of fruits, especially in
summer, excites derangement of the digestive organs. When such
derangement occurs, it is far more likely to have been occasioned by the
way in which the fruit was eaten than by the fruit itself. Perhaps it
was taken as a surfeit dish at the end of a meal. It may have been eaten
in combination with rich, oily foods, pastry, strong coffee, and other
indigestible viands, which, in themselves, often excite an attack of
indigestion. Possibly it was partaken of between meals, or late at
night, with ice cream and other confections, or it was swallowed without
sufficient mastication. Certainly, it is not marvelous that stomach and
bowel disorders do result under such circumstances. The innocent fruit,
like many other good things, being found in "bad company," is blamed
accordingly. An excess of any food at meals or between meals, is likely
to prove injurious, and fruits present no exception to this rule. Fruit
taken at seasonable times and in suitable quantities, alone or in
combination with proper foods, gives us one of the most agreeable and
healthful articles of diet. Fruit, fats, and meats do not affiliate, and
they are liable to create a disturbance whenever taken together.
Partially decayed, stale, and over-ripe, as well as unripe fruit, should
never be eaten. According to M. Pasteur, the French scientist, all
fruits and vegetables, when undergoing even incipient decay, contain
numerous germs, which, introduced into the system, are liable to produce
disturbances or disease. Perfectly fresh, ripe fruit, with proper
limitations as to quantity and occasion, may be taken into a normal
stomach with impunity at any season.
It is especially important that all fruits to be eaten should not only
be sound in quality, but should be made perfectly clean by washing if
necessary, since fruit grown near the ground is liable to be covered
with dangerous bacteria (such as cause typhoid fever or diphtheria),
which exist in the soil or in the material used in fertilizing it.
Most fruits, properly used, aid digestion either directly or indirectly.
The juicy ones act as dilutents, and their free use lessens the desire
for alcohol and other stimulants. According to German analysts, the
apple contains a larger percentage of phosphorus than any other fruit,
or than any vegetable. In warm weather and in warm climates, when foods
are not needed for a heat-producing purpose, the diet may well consist
largely of fruits and succulent vegetables, eaten in combination with
bread and grains. In case of liver and kidney affections, rheumatism,
and gout, the use of fruit is considered very beneficial by many
To serve its best purpose, raw fruit should be eaten without sugar or
other condiments, or with the addition of as small a quantity as
It is a disputed question whether fruits should begin or end the meal;
but it is generally conceded by those who have given the matter
attention, that fruit eaten at the beginning of a meal is itself the
more readily digested, and aids in the digestion of other foods, since
fruits, like soups, have the property of stimulating the flow of the
digestive juices. Something, however, must depend upon the character of
the fruit; oranges, melons, and like juicy fruits, are especially useful
as appetizers to begin the meal, while bananas and similar fruits agree
better if taken with other food, so as to secure thorough mixture with
saliva. This is true of all fruits, except such pulpy fruits as
strawberries, peaches, melons, grapes, and oranges. It is often
erroneously asserted that fruit as dessert is injurious to digestion.
For those people, however, who regulate their bill of fare in accordance
with the principles of hygiene, a simple course of fruit is not only
wholesome, but is all that is needed after a dinner; and much time,
labor, and health will be saved when housekeepers are content to serve
desserts which nature supplies all ready for use, instead of those
harmful combinations in the preparing of which they spend hours of
DESCRIPTION.--For convenience, fruits may be grouped together; as,
_pomaceous_ fruits, including the apple, quince, pear, etc.; the
_drupaceous_ fruits, those provided with a hard stone surrounded by a
fleshy pulp, as the peach, apricot, plum, cherry, olive, and date; the
orange or citron group, including the orange, lemon, lime, citron, grape
fruit, shaddock, and pomegranate; the _baccate_ or berry kind,
comprising the grape, gooseberry, currant, cranberry, whortleberry,
blueberry, and others; the _arterio_ group, to which belong raspberries,
strawberries, dewberries, and blackberries; the fig group; the gourd
group, including--melons and cantaloupes; and foreign fruits.
It is impossible, in the brief scope of this work, to enumerate the
infinite varieties of fruit; but we will briefly speak of some of the
most common found in the gardens and markets of this latitude.
APPLES.--The origin and first home of the apple, is unknown. If
tradition is to be believed, it was the inauspicious fruit to which may
be traced all the miseries of mankind. In pictures of the temptation in
the garden of Eden, our mother Eve is generally represented as holding
an apple in her hand.
We find the apple mentioned in the mythologies of the Greeks, Druids,
and Scandinavians. The Thebans offered apples instead of sheep as a
sacrifice to Hercules, a custom derived from the following
"At one time, when a sacrifice was necessary, the river Asopus had so
inundated the country that it was impossible to take a sheep across it
for the purpose, when some youths, recollecting that the Greek word
_melon_ signified both sheep and an apple, stuck wooden pegs into the
fruit to represent legs, and brought this vegetable quadruped as a
substitute for the usual offering. After this date, the apple was
considered as especially devoted to Hercules."
In ancient times, Greece produced most excellent apples. They were the
favorite dessert of Phillip of Macedon and Alexander the Great, the
latter causing them to be served at all meals. Doubtless they came to be
used to excess; for it is recorded of the Athenian lawgiver, Solon, that
he made a decree prohibiting a bridegroom from partaking of more than
one at his marriage banquet, a law which was zealously kept by the
Greeks, and finally adopted by the Persians. In Homer's time the apple
was regarded as one of the precious fruits. It was extensively
cultivated by the Romans, who gave to new varieties the names of many
eminent citizens, and after the conquest of Gaul, introduced its culture
into Southwestern Europe, whence it has come to be widely diffused
throughout all parts of the temperate zone.
Apples were introduced into the United States by the early settlers,
and the first trees were planted on an island in Boston Harbor, which
still retains the name of Apple Island. The wild crab tree is the parent
of most of the cultivated varieties.
THE PEAR.--The origin of the pear, like that of the apple, is
shrouded in obscurity, though Egypt, Greece, and Palestine dispute for
the honor of having given birth to the tree which bears this prince of
fruits. Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher of the fourth century, speaks
of the pear in terms of highest praise; and Galen, the father of medical
science, mentions the pear in his writings as possessing "qualities
which benefit the stomach." The pear tree is one of the most hardy of
all fruit trees, and has been known to live several hundred years.
THE QUINCE.--This fruit appears to have been a native of Crete,
from whence it was introduced into ancient Greece; and was largely
cultivated by both Greeks and Romans. In Persia, the fruit is edible in
its raw state; but in this country it never ripens sufficiently to be
palatable without being cooked. The fruit is highly fragrant and
exceedingly acid, and for these reasons it is largely employed to flavor
THE PEACH.--This fruit, as its botanical name, _prinus Persica_,
indicates, is a native of Persia, and was brought from that country to
Greece, from whence it passed into Italy. It is frequently mentioned by
ancient writers, and was regarded with much esteem by the people of
Asia. The Romans, however, had the singular notion that peaches gathered
in Persia contained a deadly poison, but if once transplanted to another
soil, this injurious effect was lost. In composition, the peach is
notable for the small quantity of saccharine matter it contains in
comparison with other fruits.
THE PLUM.--The plum is one of the earliest of known fruits. Thebes,
Memphis, and Damascus were noted for the great number of their plum
trees in the early centuries. Plum trees grow wild in Asia, America, and
the South of Europe, and from these a large variety of domestic plum
fruits have been cultivated.
Plums are more liable than most other fruits to produce disorders of
digestion, and when eaten raw should be carefully selected, that they be
neither unripe nor unripe. Cooking renders them less objectionable.
THE PRUNE.--The plum when dried is often called by its French
cognomen, _prune_. The larger and sweeter varieties are generally
selected for drying, and when good and properly cooked, are the most
wholesome of prepared fruits.
THE APRICOT.--This fruit seems to be intermediate between the peach
and the plum, resembling the former externally, while the stone is like
that of the plum. The apricot originated in Armenia, and the tree which
bears the fruit was termed by the Romans "the tree of Armenia." It was
introduced into England in the time of Henry VIII. The apricot is
cultivated to some extent in the United States, but it requires too much
care to permit of its being largely grown, except in certain sections.
THE CHERRY.--The common garden cherry is supposed to have been
derived from the two species of wild fruit, and historians tell us that
we are indebted to the agricultural experiments of Mithridates, the
great king of ancient Pontus, for this much esteemed fruit. It is a
native of Asia Minor, and its birthplace.
THE OLIVE.--From time immemorial the olive has been associated with
history. The Scriptures make frequent reference to it, and its
cultivation was considered of first importance among the Jews, who used
its oil for culinary and a great variety of other purposes. Ancient
mythology venerated the olive tree above all others, and invested it
with many charming bits of fiction. Grecian poets sang its praises, and
early Roman writers speak of it with high esteem. In appearance and size
the fruit is much like the plum; when ripe, it is very dark green,
almost black, and possesses a strong, and, to many people, disagreeable
flavor. The pulp abounds in a bland oil, for the production of which it
is extensively cultivated in Syria, Egypt, Italy, Spain, and Southern
France. The fruit itself is also pickled and preserved in various ways,
but, like all other similar commodities when thus prepared, it is by no
means a wholesome article of food.
THE DATE.--The date is the fruit of the palm tree so often
mentioned in the Sacred Writings, and is indigenous to Africa and
portions of Asia. The fruit grows in bunches which often weigh from
twenty to twenty-five pounds, and a single tree will bear from one to
three thousand pounds in a season. The date is very sweet and
nutritious. It forms a stable article of diet for the inhabitants of
some parts of Egypt, Arabia, and Persia, and frequently forms the chief
food of their horses, dogs, and camels. The Arabs reduce dried dates to
a meal, and make therefrom a bread, which often constitutes their sole
food on long journeys through the Great Desert. The inhabitants of the
countries where the date tree flourishes, put its various productions to
innumerable uses. From its leaves they make baskets, bags, mats, combs,
and brushes; from its stalks, fences for their gardens; from its fibers,
thread, rope, and rigging; from its sap, a spirituous liquor; from its
fruit, food for man and beast; while the body of the tree furnishes them
with fuel. The prepared fruit is largely imported to this country. That
which is large, smooth, and of a soft reddish yellow tinge, with a
whitish membrane between the flesh and stone, is considered the best.
THE ORANGE.--According to some authors, the far-famed "golden fruit
of the Hesperides," which Hercules stole, was the orange; but it seems
highly improbable that it was known to writers of antiquity. It is
supposed to be indigenous to Central and Eastern Asia. Whatever its
nativity, it has now spread over all the warmer regions of the earth.
The orange tree is very hardy in its own habitat, and is one of the most
prolific of all fruit-bearing trees, a single tree having been known to
produce twenty thousand good oranges in a season. Orange trees attain
great age. There are those in Italy and Spain which are known to have
flourished for six hundred years. Numerous varieties of the orange are
grown, and are imported to our markets from every part of the globe.
Florida oranges are among the best, and when obtained in their
perfection, are the most luscious of all fruits.
THE LEMON.--This fruit is supposed to be a native of the North of
India, although it is grown in nearly all sub-tropical climates. In
general, the fruit is very acid, but in a variety known as the sweet
lemon, or bergamot (said to be a hybrid of the orange and lemon), the
juice is sweet. The sour lemon is highly valued for its antiscorbutic
properties, and is largely employed as a flavoring ingredient in
culinary preparations, and in making a popular refreshing beverage.
THE CITRON.--The citron is a fruit very similar to the lemon,
though larger in size and less succulent. It is supposed to be identical
with the Hebrew _tappuach_, and to be the fruit which is mentioned in
the English version of the Old Testament as "apple." The citron is not
suitable for eating in its raw state, though its juice is used in
connection with water and sugar to form an excellent acid drink. Its
rind, which is very thick, with a warty and furrowed exterior, is
prepared in sugar and largely used for flavoring purposes.
THE LIME.--The fruit of the lime is similar to the lemon, though
much smaller in size. It is a native of Eastern Asia, but has long been
cultivated in the South of Europe and other sub-tropical countries. The
fruit is seldom used except for making acidulous drinks, for which it is
often given the preference over the lemon.
THE GRAPE FRUIT.--This fruit, a variety of shaddock, belongs to the
great _citrus_ family, of which there are one hundred and sixty-nine
known varieties. The shaddock proper, however, is a much larger fruit,
frequently weighing from ten to fourteen pounds. Although a certain
quantity of grape fruit is brought from the West Indies, our principal
supply is derived from Florida. It is from two to four times the size of
an ordinary orange, and grows in clusters. It is rapidly gaining in
favor with fruit lovers. Its juice has a moderately acid taste and makes
a pleasing beverage. The pulp, carefully separated, is also much
THE POMEGRANATE.--This fruit has been cultivated in Asia from
earliest antiquity, and is still quite generally grown in most tropical
climes. In the Scriptures it is mentioned with the vine, fig, and olive,
among the pleasant fruits of the promised land. It is about the size of
a large peach, of a fine golden color, with a rosy tinge on one side.
The rind is thick and leathery. The central portion is composed of
little globules of pulp and seeds inclosed in a thin membrane, each seed
being about the size of a red currant. It is sub-acid, and slightly
bitter in taste. The rind is strongly astringent, and often used as a
THE GRAPE.--Undoubtedly the grape was one of the first fruits eaten
by mankind, and one highly valued from antiquity down to the present
time. Although this fruit is often sadly perverted in the manufacture of
wine, when rightly used it is one of the most excellent of all fruits.
The skins and seeds are indigestible and should be rejected, but the
fresh, juicy pulp is particularly wholesome and refreshing. Several
hundred varieties of the grape are cultivated. Some particularly sweet
varieties are made into raisins, by exposure to the sun or to artificial
heat. Sun-dried grapes make the best raisins. The so-called English or
Zante currant belongs to the grape family, and is the dried fruit of a
vine which grows in the Ionian Islands and yields a very small berry.
The name _currant_, as applied to these fruits, is a corruption of the
word _Corinth_, where the fruit was formerly grown.
THE GOOSEBERRY.--The gooseberry probably derives its name from
gorse or goss, a prickly shrub that grows wild in thickets and on
hillsides in Europe, Asia, and America. It was known to the ancients,
and is mentioned in the writings of Theocritus and Pliny. Gooseberries
were a favorite dish with some of the emperors, and were extensively
cultivated in gardens during the Middle Ages. The gooseberry is a
wholesome and agreeable fruit, and by cultivation may be brought to a
high state of perfection in size and flavor.
THE CURRANT.--This fruit derives its name from its resemblance to
the small grapes of Corinth, sometimes called Corinthus, and is
indigenous to America, Asia, and Europe. The fruit is sharply acid,
though very pleasant to the taste. Cultivation has produced white
currants from the red, and in a distinct species of the fruit grown in
Northern Europe and Russia, the currants are black or yellow.
THE WHORTLEBERRY AND BLUEBERRY.--These are both species of the same
fruit, which grows in woods and waste places in the North of Europe and
America. Of the latter species there are two varieties, the high-bush
and the low-bush, which are equally palatable. The fruit is very sweet
and pleasant to the taste, and is one of the most wholesome of all
THE CRANBERRY.--A German writer of note insists that the original
name of this fruit was cram-berry, because after dinner, when one was
filled with other food, such was its pleasant and seductive flavor that
he could still "cram" quite a quantity thereof, in defiance of all
dietetic laws. Other writers consider the name a corruption of
craneberry, so called because it is eagerly sought after by the cranes
and other birds which frequent the swamps and marshes where it chiefly
grows. The fruit is extremely acid, and is highly valued for sauces and
jellies. Cranberries are among the most convenient fruits for keeping.
Freezing does not seem to hurt them, and they may be kept frozen all
winter, or in water without freezing, in the cellar, or other cool
places, for a long period.
THE STRAWBERRY.--The flavor of antiquity rests upon the wild
strawberry. Its fruit was peddled by itinerant dealers about the streets
of ancient Grecian and Roman cities. Virgil sings of it in pastoral
poems, and Ovid mentions it in words of praise. The name by which the
fruit was known to the Greeks indicates its size; with the Latins its
name was symbolic of its perfume. The name _strawberry_ probably came
from the old Saxon _streawberige_, either from some resemblance of the
stems to straw, of from the fact that the berries have the appearance
when growing of being strewn upon the ground. In olden times, children
strung the berries upon straws, and sold so many "straws of berries" for
a penny, from which fact it is possible the name may have been derived.
The strawberry is indigenous to the temperate regions of both the
Eastern and Western Hemispheres, but it seems to have been matured in
gardens, only within the last two centuries.
THE RASPBERRY.--This fruit grows in both a wild and a cultivated
state. It derives its name from the rough rasps or spines with which the
bushes are covered. Among the ancients it was called "the bramble of Mt.
Ida," because it was abundant upon that mountain. It is a hardy fruit,
found in most parts of the world, and is of two special varieties, the
black and the red.
THE BLACKBERRY.--This fruit is a native of America and the greater
part of Europe. There are one hundred and fifty-one named species,
although the high-blackberry and the low-blackberry, or dewberry, are
said to have furnished the best cultivated varieties.
THE MULBERRY.--Different varieties of the mulberry tree produce
white, red, and black mulberries of fine aromatic flavor, and acidulous
or sweet taste. Persia is supposed to be the native home of this fruit,
from whence it was carried, at an early date, to Asia Minor and to
Greece. The Hebrews were evidently well acquainted with it. It was also
cultivated by the farmers of Attica and Peloponnesus. The ancient
mulberry was considered the wisest and most prudent of trees, because it
took care not to put forth the smallest bud until the cold of winter had
disappeared, not to return. Then, however, it lost no time, but budded
and blossomed in a day. Several varieties are found in the United
THE MELON.--This is the generic name for all the members of the
gourd tribe known as cantaloupes, muskmelons, and watermelons. The fruit
varies greatly in size and color, and in the character of the rind. When
fresh and perfectly ripe, melons are among the most delicious of edible
THE FIG.--In the most ancient histories, the fig tree is referred
to as among the most desirable productions of the earth. It was the
only tree in the garden of Eden of which the Sacred Writings make
particular mention. Among the inhabitants of ancient Syria and Greece,
it formed one of the principal articles of food. Its cultivation was,
and is still, extensively carried on in nearly all Eastern countries;
also in Spain, Southern France, and some portions of the United States.
The fruit is pear-shaped, and consists of a pulpy mass full of little
seeds. Dried and compressed figs are largely imported, and are to be
found in all markets. Those brought from Smyrna are reputed to be the
THE BANANA.--This is essentially a tropical fruit growing very
generally in the East, the West Indies, South American countries, and
some of the Southern States. The plant is an annual, sending up stems to
the height of ten or fifteen feet, while drooping from the top are
enormous leaves three or four feet in length, and looking, as one writer
has aptly said, like "great, green quill pens." It is planted in fields
like corn, which in its young growth it much resembles. Each plant
produces a single cluster of from eighty to one hundred or more bananas,
often weighing in the aggregate as high as seventy pounds. The banana is
exceedingly productive. According to Humboldt, a space of 1,000 feet,
which will yield only 38 pounds of wheat, or 462 pounds of potatoes,
will produce 4,000 pounds of bananas, and in a much shorter period of
time. It is more nutritious than the majority of fruits, and in tropical
countries is highly valued as a food, affording in some localities the
chief alimentary support of the people. Its great importance as a food
product is shown by the fact that three or four good sized bananas are
equal in nutritive value to a pound of bread. The amount of albumen
contained in a pound of bananas is about the same as that found in a
pound of rice, and the total nutritive value of one pound of bananas is
only a trifle less than that of an equal quantity of the best beefsteak.
The unripe fruit, which contains a considerable percentage of starch, is
often dried in the oven and eaten as bread, which, in this state, it
considerably resembles in taste and appearance. Thus prepared, it may be
kept for a long time, and is very serviceable for use on long journeys.
The variety of the banana thus used is, however, a much larger kind
than any of those ordinarily found in our Northern markets, and is known
as the plantain. The dried plantain, powdered, furnishes a meal of
fragrant odor and bland taste, not unlike common wheat flour. It is said
to be easy of digestion, and two pounds of the dry meal or six pounds of
the fruit is the daily allowance for a laborer in tropical America.
THE PINEAPPLE.--This delicious fruit is a native of South America,
where it grows wild in the forests. It is cultivated largely in tropical
America, the West Indies, and some portions of Europe. The fruit grows
singly from the center of a small plant having fifteen or more long,
narrow, serrated, ridged, sharp-pointed leaves, seemingly growing from
the root. In general appearance it resembles the century plant, though
so much smaller that twelve thousand pineapple plants may be grown on
one acre. From the fibers of the leaves is made a costly and valuable
fabric called _pina_ muslin.
Nothing can surpass the rich, delicate flavor of the wild pineapple as
found in its native habitat. It is in every way quite equal to the best
cultivated variety. The most excellent pineapples are imported from the
West Indies, but are seldom found in perfection in out Northern markets.
FRESH FRUIT FOR THE TABLE.
All fruit for serving should be perfectly ripe and sound. Immature fruit
is never wholesome, and owing to the large percentage of water in its
composition, fruit is very prone to change; hence over-ripe fruit should
not be eaten, as it is liable to ferment and decompose in the digestive
Fruit which has begun, however slightly, to decay, should be rejected.
Juice circulates through its tissues in much the same manner as the
blood circulates through animal tissues, though not so rapidly and
freely. The circulation is sufficient, however, to convey to all parts
the products of decomposition, when only a small portion has undergone
decay, and although serious results do not always follow the use of
such fruit, it certainly is not first-class food.
If intended to be eaten raw, fruit should be well ripened before
gathering, and should be perfectly fresh. Fruit that has stood day after
day in a dish upon the table, in a warm room, is far less wholesome and
tempting than that brought fresh from the storeroom or cellar. All
fruits should be thoroughly cleansed before serving. Such fruit as
cherries, grapes, and currants may be best washed by placing in a
colander, and dipping in and out of a pan of water until perfectly
clean, draining and drying before serving.
_DIRECTIONS FOR SERVING FRUITS._
APPLES.--In serving these, the "queen of all fruits," much
opportunity is afforded for a display of taste in their arrangement.
After wiping clean with a damp towel, they may be piled in a fruit
basket, with a few sprigs of green leaves here and there between their
rosy cheeks. The feathery tops of carrots and celery are pretty for this
purpose. Oranges and apples so arranged, make a highly ornamental dish.
Raw mellow sweet apples make a delicious dish when pared, sliced, and
served with cream.
BANANAS.--Cut the ends from the fruit and serve whole, piled in a
basket with oranges, grapes, or plums. Another way is to peel, slice,
and serve with thin cream. Bananas are also very nice sliced, sprinkled
lightly with sugar, and before it had quite dissolved, covered with
orange juice. Sliced bananas, lightly sprinkled with sugar, alternating
in layers with sections of oranges, make a most delicious dessert.
CHERRIES.--Serve on stems, piled in a basket or high dish, with
bits of green leaves and vines between. Rows of different colored
cherries, arranged in pyramidal form, make also a handsome dish.
CURRANTS.--Large whole clusters may be served on the stem, and when
it is possible to obtain both red and white varieties, they make a most
attractive dish. Put them into cold water for a little time, cool
thoroughly, and drain well before using. Currants, if picked from the
stems after being carefully washed and drained, may be served lightly
sprinkled with sugar. Currants and raspberries served together, half and
half, or one third currants two thirds raspberries, are excellent. Only
the ripest of currants should be used.
GOOSEBERRIES.--When fresh and ripe, the gooseberry is one of the
most delicious of small fruits. Serve with stems on. Drop into cold
water for a few moments, drain, and pile in a glass dish for the table.
GRAPES.--Grapes need always to be washed before serving. Drop the
bunches into ice water, let them remain ten of fifteen minutes, then
drain and serve. An attractive dish may be made by arranging bunches of
different colored grapes together on a plate edged with grape leaves.
MELONS.--Watermelons should be served very cold. After being well
washed on the outside, put on ice until needed. Cut off a slice at the
ends, that each half may stand upright on a plate, and then cut around
in even slices. Instead of cutting through the center into even halves,
the melon may be cut in points back and forth around the entire
circumference, so that when separated, each half will appear like a
crown. Another way is to take out the central portion with a spoon, in
cone-shaped pieces, and arrange on a plate with a few bits of ice. Other
melons may be served in halves, with the seeds removed. The rough skin
of the cantaloupe should be thoroughly scrubbed with a vegetable brush,
then rinsed and wiped, after which bury the melon in broken ice till
serving time; divide into eighths or sixteenths, remove the seeds,
reconstruct the melon, and serve surrounded with ice, on a folded
napkin, or arranged on a bed of grape leaves. Do not cool the melon by
placing ice upon the flesh, as the moisture injures the delicate flavor.
ORANGES.--Serve whole or cut the skin into eighths, halfway down,
separating it from the fruit, and curling it inward, thus showing half
the orange white and the other half yellow; or cut the skin into
eighths, two-thirds down, and after loosening from the fruit, leave them
spread open like the petals of a lily. Oranges sliced and mixed with
well ripened strawberries, in the proportion of three oranges to a quart
of berries, make--a palatable dessert.
PEACHES AND PEARS.--Pick out the finest, and wipe the wool from the
peaches. Edge a plate with uniform sized leaves of foliage plant of the
same tints as the fruit, and pile the fruit artistically upon it,
tucking sprays or tips of the plant between. Bits of ice may also be
intermingled. Yellow Bartlett pears and rosy-cheeked peaches arranged in
this way are most ornamental.
PEACHES AND CREAM.--Pare the peaches just as late as practicable,
since they become discolored by standing. Always use a silver knife, as
steel soon blackens and discolors the fruit. If sugar is to be used, do
not add it until the time for serving, as it will start the juice, and
likewise turn the fruit brown, destroying much of its rich flavor. Keep
on ice until needed for the table. Add cream with each person's dish.
PINEAPPLES.--The pineapple when fresh and ripened to perfection, is
as mellow and juicy as a ripe peach, and needs no cooking to fit it for
the table. Of course it must be pared, and have the eyes and fibrous
center removed. Then it may be sliced in generous pieces and piled upon
a plate, or cut into smaller portions and served in saucers. No
condiments are necessary; even the use of sugar detracts from its
delicate flavor. Pineapples found in our Northern markets are, however,
generally so hard and tough as to require cooking, or are valuable only
for their juice, which may be extracted and used for flavoring other
fruits. When sufficiently mellow to be eaten raw, they are usually so
tart as to seem to require a light sprinkling of sugar to suit most
tastes. Pineapples pared, cut into dice or small pieces, lightly
sprinkled with sugar, to which just before serving, a cup of orange
juice is added, form a delicious dish.
PLUMS.--Plums make a most artistic fruit piece, served whole and
arranged with bunches of choice green grapes, in a basket or glass dish.
A fine edge may be made from the velvety leaves of dark purple foliage
PRESSED FIGS.--Look over carefully, and select only such as are
perfectly good. They may be served dry, mixed with bunches of raisins,
or steamed over a kettle of boiling water. Steamed figs make an
excellent breakfast dish, and are considered much more wholesome then
when used dry. Steamed raisins are likewise superior to dried raisins.
RASPBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, DEWBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES AND WHORTLEBERRIES,
require careful looking over to remove all insects, stems, and over-ripe
fruit. Blueberries and whortleberries frequently need to be washed. They
are then drained by spreading on a sieve or colander. Perfectly ripe,
they are more healthful without condiments; but sugar and cream are
usually considered indispensable.
If necessary to wash strawberries, they should be put into cold water, a
few at a time, pushed down lightly beneath the water several times until
entirely clean, then taken out one by one, hulled, and used at once.
Like all other small fruits and berries they are more wholesome served
without cream, but if cream is used, each person should be allowed to
add it to his own dish, as it quickly curdles and renders the whole dish
unsightly; if allowed to stand, it also impairs the flavor of the fruit.
FROSTED FRUIT.--Prepare a mixture of the beaten white of egg,
sugar, and a very little cold water. Dip nice bunches of clean currants,
cherries, or grapes into the mixture; drain nearly dry, and roll lightly
in powdered sugar. Lay them on white paper to dry. Plums, apricots, and
peaches may be dipped in the mixture, gently sprinkled with sugar, then
allowed to dry. This method of preparing fruit is not to be commended
for its wholesomeness, but it is sometimes desirable for ornament.
KEEPING FRESH FRUIT.
Of the numerous varieties of fruits grown in this country, apples and
pears are about the only ones that can be kept for any length of time
without artificial means. As soon as fruit has attained its maturity, a
gradual change or breaking down of tissues begins. In some fruits this
process follows rapidly; in other it is gradual. There is a certain
point at which the fruits are best suited for use. We call it
mellowness, and say that the fruit is in "good eating condition." When
this stage has been reached, deterioration and rotting soon follow. In
some fruits, as the peach, plum, and early varieties of apples and
pears, these changes occur within a few days after maturity, and it is
quite useless to attempt to keep them; in others, like the later
varieties of apples and pears, the changes are slow but none the less
certain. To keep such fruits we must endeavor to retard or prolong the
process of change, by avoiding all conditions likely to hasten decay.
Even with ordinary care, sound fruit will keep for quite a length of
time; but it can be preserved in better condition and for a longer
period by careful attention to the following practical points:--
1. If the fruit is of a late variety, allow it to remain on the tree as
long as practicable without freezing.
2. Always pick and handle the fruit with the greatest care.
3. Gather the fruit on a dry, cool day, and place in heaps or bins for
two or three weeks.
4. Carefully sort and pack in barrels, placing those most mellow and
those of different varieties in different barrels; head the barrels,
label, and place in a cool, dry place where the temperature will remain
equable. Some consider it better to keep fruit in thin layers upon broad
shelves in a cool place. This plan allows frequent inspection and
removal of all affected fruit without disturbance of the remainder.
5. Warmth and moisture are the conditions most favorable to
decomposition, and should be especially guarded against.
6. The best temperature for keeping fruit is about 34 deg. F., or 2 deg.
Another method which is highly recommended is to sprinkle a layer of
sawdust on the bottom of a box, and then put in a layer of apples, not
allowing them to tough each other. Upon this pack more sawdust; then
another layer of apples, and so on until the box is filled. After
packing, place up from the ground, in a cellar or storeroom, and they
will keep perfectly, retaining their freshness and flavor until brought
out. The _Practical Farmer_ gives the following rough but good way to
store and keep apples: "Spread plenty of buckwheat chaff on the barn
floor, and on this place the apples, filling the interstices with the
chaff. Cover with the chaff and then with straw two or three feet deep.
The advantage of this is that covering and bedding in chaff excludes
cold, prevents air currents, maintains a uniform temperature, absorbs
the moisture of decay, and prevents the decay produced by moisture."
The ordinary cellar underneath the dwelling house is too warm and damp
for the proper preservation of fruit, and some other place should be
provided if possible. A writer in the _American Agriculturist_ thus
calls attention to an additional reason why fruit should not be stored
beneath living-rooms: "After late apples are stored for the winter, a
gradual change begins within the fruit. It absorbs oxygen from the air
of the room, and gives off carbonic acid gas. Another change results in
the formation of water, which is given off as moisture. The taking up of
oxygen by the fruit and the giving off of carbonic acid, in a short time
so vitiates the atmosphere of the room in which the fruit is kept, that
it will at once extinguish a candle, and destroy animal life. An
atmosphere of this kind tends to preserve the fruit. There being little
or no oxygen left in the air of the room, the process of decay is
arrested. Hence it is desirable that the room be air tight, in order to
maintain such an atmosphere."
The production of carbonic acid shows that a cellar in or under a
dwelling, is an improper place for storing fresh fruit. When the gas is
present in the air in sufficient proportion, it causes death, and a very
small quantity will cause headache, listlessness, and other unpleasant
effects. No doubt many troubles attributed to malaria, are due to gases
from vegetables and fruits stored in the cellar. A fruit cellar should
be underneath some other building rather than the dwelling, or a fruit
house may be built entirely above the ground. A house to keep fruit
properly must be built upon the principle of a refrigerator. Its walls,
floor, and ceiling should be double, and the space between filled with
sawdust. The doors and windows should be double; and as light is
undesirable, the windows should be provided with shutters. There should
be a small stove for use if needed to keep a proper temperature in
TO KEEP GRAPES.--Select such bunches as are perfect, rejecting all
upon which there are any bruised grapes, or from which a grape has
fallen. Spread them upon shelves in a cool place for a week or two. Then
pack in boxes in sawdust which has been recently well dried in an oven.
Bran which has been dried may also be used. Dry cotton is employed by
some. Keep in a cool place.
Some consider the following a more efficient method: select perfect
bunches, and dip the broken end of the stems in melted paraffine or
sealing wax. Wrap separately in tissue paper, hang in a cool place, or
pack in sawdust.
TO KEEP LEMONS AND ORANGES.--Lemons may be kept fresh for weeks by
placing them in a vessel of cold water in a very cool cellar or ice
house. Change the water every day. Oranges may be kept in the same way.
The usual method employed by growers for keeping these fruits is to wrap
each one separately in tissue paper, and put in a cool, dry place.
TO KEEP CRANBERRIES.--Put them in water and keep in a cool place
where they will not freeze. Change the water often, and sort out berries
which may have become spoiled.
Perfectly ripe fruit is, as a rule, more desirable used fresh than in
any other way. Fruits which are immature, require cooking. Stewing and
baking are the simplest methods of preparation.
GENERAL SUGGESTIONS FOR COOKING FRUIT.--The utensils for stewing
should be porcelain-lined, or granite ware. Fruit cooked in tin loses
much of its delicate flavor; while if it be acid, and the tin of poor
quality, there is always danger that the acid of the fruit acting upon
the metal will form a poisonous compound. Cover with a china plate or
granite-ware cover, never with a tin one, as the steam will condense and
run down into the kettle, discoloring the contents. Use only silver
knives for preparing the fruit, and silver or wooden spoons for
stirring. Prepare just before cooking, if you would preserve the fruit
perfect in flavor, and unimpaired by discoloration. In preparing apples,
pears, and quinces for stewing, it is better to divide the fruit into
halves or quarters before paring. The fruit is more easily handled, can
be pared thinner and cored more quickly. Peaches, apricots, and plums,
if divided and stoned before paring, can be much more easily kept whole.