This is one of the oldest, and certainly the most popular of all methods of cooking, but at the same time it is one of the most expensive.
The management of the fire is an all-important point; it must be quick and clear the whole time of cooking the joint. The heat must be intense enough at first to harden quickly the albumen which lies all over the surface of the meat, otherwise the juices will escape, and the meat become dry and tasteless.
But, at the same time, the heat must not be so great that it hardens the albumen all through the joint, as this would make it tough. So, after the first ten or fifteen minutes, reduce the heat so that the meat may not become tough and charred outside before it is cooked through.
For a large joint the heat should be less after the outside is sealed than for small cuts, poultry, etc., for if these are too slowly cooked they will be dry.
Though, properly speaking, roasting is done before an open fire, yet it can also be performed in a properly ventilated oven. The flavour of joints is, perhaps, superior when cooked before the fire, yet the second way is exceedingly convenient and very generally used. Meat loses slightly less in weight if cooked by this method.
Baking is a process of cooking by means of dry heat in a hot oven. The oven may be heated by coal, gas, or oil. The chief point is to keep the interior scrupulously clean, otherwise the fumes arising from burnt bits, grease, sugar, etc., will spoil the flavour of all food baked in it. Particularly will this be noticeable in the case of milk puddings.