This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
In addition to bread an almost innumerable variety of biscuits, cakes, pastry, tarts, pies, etc., are prepared by the addition, in various proportions, of flour, milk, cream, butter, or other fat, sugar, eggs, flavouring extracts, and fruit, such as raisins.
For making pastry, cake, and puddings of different kinds, the finer grades of wheat flour are usually employed, although corn and Indian meal are sometimes used.
The dough is raised in such preparations by the help of yeast, alcohol, fat, baking powders, or whipped white of egg. A hot fire is used in the cooking, and the puddings are either baked, boiled, or steamed, so that the flour is altered by the heat in much the same manner as in the manufacture of bread.
These foods vary so much in richness and digestibility that it is difficult to formulate any definite rules for their use. In general, they must be avoided by all persons having indigestion, dyspepsia, or, in fact, any severe illness; but farinaceous puddings, simply made and thoroughly cooked, with the addition of eggs and milk, play an important part in hospital dietaries, and are very good foods for convalescents.
Boiled or steamed puddings, being unfermented and surrounded with abundant water, are very likely to be sodden or stringy, and therefore wholly indigestible.
Pastry, even when light, is apt to be too rich, and if not well cooked it is sodden or tough and almost certain to disagree, mainly because of the changes which the high grade of heat produces in the butter or other fats used in its preparation.