The nature of wheaten bread when raised with yeast has been explained already at the commencement of this article; but the importance of the subject demands a more exact account of the established processes employed in the manufacture. Mr. Edlin wishing to obtain every information on this subject, procured access to a bakehouse, and has given us the following account " At three o'clock, they prepared to set the sponge, for which purpose two sacks of household flour were carefully sifted through a brass wire sieve. The following mixture was then prepared; two ounces of alum was first put into a tin vessel with a little water, and dissolved over the fire; this was poured into the seasoning tub, and nine pounds of salt were thrown in, over which they poured two pails full of hot liquor; when cooled to 84° of Fahrenheit, six pints of yeast were added; this composition was then stirred well together, strained through the seasoning sieve, and emptied in a hole made in the flour, with which it was mixed to the consistency of thick batter. Some flour was sprinkled over the top, when it was covered up to keep in the heat.
This operation is called setting quarter sponge.
In three hours two pails full more of warm liquor were stirred in, and the mass covered up as before; this is termed setting half sponge. Five hours afterwards five more pails of warm liquor were added; and when the whole was intimately blended, it was kneaded for upwards of an hour. The dough was then cut into pieces, and thrown over the sluice board and penned to one side of the trough; some dry flour being sprinkled over, it was left to prove, till about three o'clock in the morning, when it was again kneaded for the space of half an hour. The dough was taken out of the trough, put on the lid, and cut into pieces. It was then weighed, and 4 lbs. 15 oz. was allowed for each quartern loaf, the baker observing that a loaf of that size loses from 101/2 to 11 ounces while in the oven. It was then worked up, and the separate masses were laid in a row till the whole were weighed, and in counting them afterwards, he found they were equal to 1631/2 quartern loaves; but this circumstance is variable, as some flours kneaded better than others. It should have been mentioned, that the fire was kindled at two o'clock, and continued burning till near four, when the oven was cleansed from dirt and ashes.
The bread being put in, the oven was close stopped till seven o'clock, when it was opened, and the bread withdrawn."