1. Boil a pinch of starch with about a tablespoon of water; cool and add a drop of iodine. Recall the test on potato. Repeat, using flour instead of starch.
2. Methods of mixing starch and hot liquids.
a. Stir a teaspoon of cornstarch or flour into half a cup of boiling water and note results. Break a lump and examine the inside.
b. Pour half a cup of boiling water on a tea-spoon of starch or flour. Does it still lump ?
c. Mix a teaspoon of flour or starch with a teaspoon of sugar, then pour on half a cup of boiling water. Result?
d. Mix a teaspoon of starch or flour with a little cold water, making a smooth paste, and pour this into half a cup of boiling water, stirring. Result?
e. Melt a teaspoon of fat, add a teaspoon of flour or starch, stir thoroughly, and then pour in gradually half a cup of boiling water, stirring as you pour.
B. White Sauce.
To find out how much flour is used to thicken a cup of milk to the consistency of a white sauce.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on a fire, add a tablespoon of flour, and then pour in hot milk, stirring and adding it gradually until you obtain the consistency you think proper for a white sauce. Be sure to keep track of the amount of milk used. Calculate how much flour would be needed for a cup of liquid. Ordinarily a fourth teaspoon of salt to a cup of liquid would be added. Why is it unnecessary, considering the use to be made of the white sauce in (C)?
Shred the beef into pieces, cover with hot water and let stand a minute to remove some of the salt. Then drain, and reheat the beef in the sauce made in (B). Add salt, if needed.
In this country wheat is of greater importance as a food for man than is corn or any other of the cereals. Rice is so largely used in eastern countries, China, Japan, and India, that possibly more rice is used as food, taking the world at large. In England, Hutchison estimates, the people consume wheat at the rate of six bushels for each inhabitant; in America, Sherman concludes that the amount used is even greater, as high as six and a half bushels per person. As America has not only the proper conditions of climate, but the necessary acres on which to grow it, wheat is an important agricultural product, the United States exporting it in large quantities. More corn is actually grown, it is true, but more of this is used on the farms for cattle food, so that the wheat crop is first in commercial importance.
Wheat is classified as "hard" or "soft," according as its gluten content is high or low; as "winter" or "spring," according to the season in which it is planted. In localities where the winter is not too severe, wheat is planted in the fall and allowed to winter in the ground, maturing early in the summer. Spring wheat is not planted until the winter is over and, consequently, matures later in the season. The character of the wheat differs with the variety and the locality where it is grown, but, in general, winter wheat contains more starch and is "softer" than spring wheat, which is usually preferred for making bread flour.
The percentage of gluten is not, however, the only thing to be considered, for the quality of the gluten is of even greater importance than the amount. :
Durum wheat, a very "hard" variety, is used for the manufacture of macaroni, spaghetti, or vermicelli. These are manufactured by forcing the flour, mixed with water to form a stiff dough, through holes in the cover of a steam-heated cylinder. In Italy, the shaped paste is hung on rods to dry, sometimes in the air, sometimes in ovens. It is claimed that in America greater care is taken during the drying process to protect the paste from dust. Good macaroni should be cream white, should break without splitting, should not lose its shape and should swell to about three times its bulk when cooked.
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture. Exp. Sta. Bulletin No. 200. "Courses in Cereal Foods."
1. Why do we cook starch?
2. What are the proportions for making an ordinary white sauce? These are used so often they should be learned thoroughly.
3. Review the different ways in which white sauce can be successfully put together. Give instances in which you think it would be advantageous to use each of these methods.
4. If you are making a small amount of white sauce by the melted-butter method, cold liquid may be added. If you are making large amounts it is wiser to use hot liquid. Account for the difference.