The baking of many articles is a more important matter than the mixing. There are no definite tests for ovens, therefore one has to learn by experience and careful watching the capabilities or faults of the ovens used. A common trouble is from not having them thoroughly cleaned of the ashes which settle under the ovens and prevent the heat reaching the bottom part. It is usual to have them hotter on the fire side. In this case it is necessary to turn frequently the articles being baked, or, where this cannot be done, to interpose a screen to protect them from burning. Asbestos paper, which is now sold at very low cost at house-furnishing stores, is a convenient thing to place against the side of the oven, or on the shelf of the oven if the excessive heat is on top. A tin, or a piece of brown paper, will, however, ordinarily serve the purpose. Directions for baking bread and cake are given at the heads of those chapters.
To lower the heat of an oven, if closing the damper is not sufficient, open the lid of the range over the oven a little way. Sometimes a pan of cold water put on the shelf of the oven will effect the purpose. When baking meats, the oven should be very hot at first, and after the meat is seared the heat should be lowered, so the cooking will be done slowly.