When a soapstone griddle is used, it needs no greasing. To grease other griddles, cut a piece of very fat salt pork about an inch and a half square, and leave the rind on it. Fix this firmly on a fork, provide yourself with a limber knife, and place a pie tin where these can be conveniently placed on it. Have a holder suitable for moving the griddle about on the range, and a clean cloth for wiping the griddle. The griddle must be freed from all bits each time it is used, and wiped to remove crumbs. Do not use the dish cloth for this. When greasing the griddle, be careful to grease only the portion on which the cake will lie because more space than this cannot be used, and the fat will burn on the griddle, filling the room with unnecessary smoke. When cakes are mixed with water, add a little sugar, as this will aid in making a nice brown. When cakes are ready to turn on the griddle, the upper surface will be full of small bubbles, and the under surface a beautiful brown. Large bubbles should not rise at once to the surface of the griddle cake, as this indicates too hot a griddle, and the cakes will be inferior in flavor and appearance.
Most quick breads are made light with either baking powder or sour milk and soda, but eggs are sometimes used for this purpose. Both soda and baking powder effervesce when a liquid is added. It is wise, therefore, to mix either soda or baking powder well with a small amount of the flour to be used. By so doing one may save as much as possible of the power which the soda or baking powder has to make the dough light, because, being mixed with the flour when the liquid comes in contact with it, the bubbles formed are imprisoned in the dough, instead of escaping into the air. The heat of the griddle or oven has much to do with the lightness of the finished product. If the heat is too great, the air or gas bubbles expand rapidly, and the walls break, making large holes, instead of a fine-grained bread or cake. Too hot an oven will cause great and rapid expansion, but the crust formed over the top is too heavy for the weak cell walls below to hold up, and the article falls, as is often seen in sponge cakes and omelets. If the oven is just the right heat, the cell walls and crust over the top will harden just when the cells are expanded to their limit, and the result is a light feathery mass, which remains so when cold. Too cool an oven will give disastrous results, because the cell walls do not harden soon enough to prevent breaking, but too much heat is more frequently used than too little. The greatest heat should be at the bottom until the article is fully risen, but sides and top should be thoroughly browned when done.
In using soda, use one-half a level teaspoonful to one cup of pleasantly acid milk.
In using baking powder, use one level teaspoonful to one level cupful of flour, for most doughs; but for biscuits, dumplings and griddle cakes, use one and one-fourth teaspoonfuls to one cup of flour.