Having considered the whole grains we must learn how to use them when ground into flour. Although some forms of bread like hoe cake and tortillas can be made from cracked grain without making it into a flour, most people depend upon flour for a large part of their daily food.
In the best cook books the ingredients are mentioned in the order in which they are to be put together to secure the best results and to save dishes; the dry cups and spoons are used for the flour and spices, then for the shortening and liquids. The flour is sifted before measuring and sifted again to mix the other materials with it.
There is such variation in flours that it is impossible to give exact recipes for doughs, but it is easy to learn certain general proportions and experience must teach the rest. A simple formula will be helpful in interpreting old recipes in which the exact quantities of flour or liquid are not stated, or in analyzing recipes to decide whether they are doughs or batters.
One measure of flour to one of liquid makes a batter.
Two measures of flour to one of liquid gives the usual muffin mixture.
Order of Mixing Ingredients
General Proportions in Doughs
Three measures of flour to one of liquid makes a soft dough, but one that may be kneaded.
Four measures of flour to one of liquid is the usual proportion for doughs to be rolled thin like pastry or cookies.
Batters and muffins can be stirred with a spoon. Doughs are mixed more thoroughly and easily with a knife.
Doughs are made light because thus they are more palatable and digestible.
The almost endless variety of breads, cake, and pastry may be classified according, to the means used to make them light. Yeast has been known to the human race from a .very early period, the others are much later inventions.
The principal means are these:
The mechanical introduction of air, as by beating or by the addition of eggs or by the folding of pastry, or in the aerated or Daughlish bread.
The use of yeast, the growth of a plant filling the dough with gas.
The chemical combination of a bi-carbonate of soda, with some acid substance.
For practical use in every-day life it is essential to remember that yeast must be treated like other forms of plant life and if we want it to grow, we must provide the right kind of soil, sufficient moisture, and suitable temperature. After its work is done, the vitality of the yeast must be destroyed by beat.
It may be desirable to know how to manufacture yeast at home and how to utilize the dried yeast cakes in emergencies, though compressed yeast cakes are now so generally used that it is hardly necesary. A compressed yeast cake should be firm and solid, not soft, and pasty; it should look something like fresh cheese, not dark colored and moldy. When only part of a yeast cake is to be used, it should be cut off squarely and the remainder wrapped smoothly in tin foil again, when it may be kept a few days longer.