Mankind seem to have an universal appetite for bread, which may be accounted for on the simple principle, that the preparation of our food depends on the mixture of the animal fluids in every stage. As, among others, the saliva is necessary, it requires dry food as a stimulus to draw it forth ; for which reason we use bread withi meat, which otherwise would be too quickly swallowed. Bread serves as a medium to blend the oil and water of food in the stomach, which it stimulates ; and it is peculiarly proper for that purpose, being bulky without too much solidity, and firm without difficulty of solution.
Before the invention of mills for grinding corn, bread was prepared by boiling the grain, and forming it into viscous cakes, not very agreeable to the palate, and difficult of digestion. In process of time, machines were constructed"for grinding corn, as well as for separating the pure flour; and a method was discovered to raise the dough by fermentation. Dough may be fermented either by leaven or by yeast; but as the latter raises the kneaded mass more uniformly, and produces the sweetest and lightest bread, it is generally preferred. Bread well raised and baked is not only more agreeable to the taste than unfer-mented bread, but more readily mixes with water, without forming a viscous mass, or puff, and is at the same time more easily digested in the stomach.
Bread in this country is divided into three kinds, namely, white, wheaten, and household. Fine white bread is made only of flour ; the wheaten contains a mixture of the finer part of the bran ; and the household of the whole substance of the grain.
An act for regulating the assize of bread was passed in the year 1773 ; by which it was enafted, that all bread made of the flour of wheat, and which shall be the whole produce of the grain, the hull thereof only excepted, and which shall weigh three-fourth parts of the weight of the wheat, shall be allowed to be made, baked and Fold, and shall be understood to be a standard wheaten bread ; also, that every standard wheaten peck loaf shall always weigh 17 lb. 6oz. avoirdupois ; every half peck loaf 8 lb. ll oz. ; and every quartern loaf 4lb. 51/2 oz. ; and be marked with the letters S. W. ; and that every peck loaf, half peck loaf, and quatern loaf, shall always be sold, as to price, in proportion to each other respec-tively.
Although we have, in the article Baking, given general directions for successfully conducting this complicated process, yet we think it will be useful, in this place, to add, by way of supplement, a few particulars relative to this subject, and more especially applicable to domestic purposes. Mr. DOSSIE, who appears to have paid great attention to the art of baking, gives the following simple and much approved method of making good white bread: Take of fine flour, six pounds; of water, moderately warm, but not hot, two pints and a half ; of liquid yeast, eight spoon-fuls ; and of salt, two ounces. Put about a pint of the warm water to the yeast, and mix them well, by beating them together with a whisk. Let the salt be put to the remaining part of the water, and stirred till completely dissolved. Then put both quantities of the fluid gradually to the flour, and knead the mass well till the whole is properly mixed. The dough tints made must stand four or five hours, that is, till the exact moment of its being fully risen, and before it is sensibly perceived to fall. It is then to be formed into loaves, and immediately placed in the oven. To bake it properly, is attended with some difficulty to those who are not skilled in the art. The first care is to see that the oven be sufficiently heated, yet not to such a degree as to burn the crust. If a green vegetable turns black when put in, the oven will scorch the bread ; in which case it must stand open till the heat has somewhat abated. The next circumstance to be attended to that the mouth of the oven be well closed, till the bread has risen to its full height, which will not take place in less than two or three hours. After this, but not before, the oven may be opened for the purpose of viewing the bread, and seeing that it is baked without being either burnt or too crusty ; for if the mouth of the oven be not kept closely stopped till the bread is fully risen, it will flatten and become heavy. When properly managed, the above-mentioned ingredients will have lost about one pound two ounces in weight, so that a well-baked loaf of this kind should amount to seven pounds twelve ounces.
Bread may be made without yeast, as is practised in Hungary, by the following process : Boil two good handfuls of hops in four quarts of water ; pour the decoction upon as much wheat bran as the liquor will moisten. Then add four or five pounds of leaven ; mix the whole together, till perfectly united. Put this mass into a warm place for twenty-four hours ; then divide it into pieces about the size of a hen's egg; let these be dried in the air, but not in the sun, and they will keep good for six months. Or, make the above into six large loaves, take six good handfuls of dough, broken small, and dissolved in eight quarts of warm water, and poured through a sieve into one end of the bread-trough ; then pour three quarts more of warm water through the sieve after it, and what remains in the sieve must be well expressed.
Like all other farinaceous sub-stances, bread is very nourishing, on account of the copious mucilage it contains ; but, if eaten too freely, it is productive of viscidity which obstructs the intestines, and lays the foundation of habitual cos-tiveuess. Leavened bread, or such as has acquired an acidulated taste by a slow fermentation of the dough, is cooling and antiseptic. By this process, all the viscous are combined with the drier parts of the flour, and the fixed air is expelled in baking. New baked bread contains a large proportion of indigestible paste, which maybe rendered less unwholesome by allowing it to dry for two or three days, or by toasting it. This mode ought to be adopted, both on account of health and economy, especially in times of scarcity. Stale bread, in every respect, deserves the preference to that which is newly baked; and persons troubled with flatulency, cramp of the stomach, or indigestion, should abstain from new bread, and particularly from hot rolls.
Various substances have been used for bread, instead of wheat. In the years 1629 and 1630, when there was a dearth in this country, bread was made in London of turnips, on the recommendation of Dr. Beale. In l6g'3 also, when corn was very dear, a great quan-tity of turnip-bread was made in several parts of the kingdom, but particularly in Essex, by a receipt registered in the Philosophical Transactions. The process is, to put the turnips into a kettle over a sow fire, till they become soft ; they are then taken out, squeezed, and drained as dry as possible, and afterwards mashed and mixed with an equal weight of flour, and kneaded with yeast, salt, and a little warm water.
The following is another method of making bread of turnips, which deserves to be recommended for its cheapness; Wash clean, pare, and and afterwards boil a number of turnips, till they become soft enough to mash ; press the greatest, part of the water out of them, then mix them with an equal weight pf wheat-meal, make the dough in the usual manner with yeast, etc.; it will rise well in the trough, and, after being well kneaded, may be formed into loaves and put into the oven. Bread prepared in this manner has a peculiar sweetish taste, which is by no means disagreeable; it is as light and white as the wheaten, and should be kept about twelve hours before it is cut, when the smell and taste of the turnip scarcely be perceptible.
Potatoes have also been made into bread, by different processes. The simplest is to choose the large mealy sort, boil them as for eating, then peel and mash them very fine. without adding any water. Two puts of wheat flour are added to one of potatoes, and a little more yeast than usual. The whole mass is to be kneaded into dough, and allowed to stand a proper time to rise and ferment, before it is put into the oven. Bread thus prepared is good and wholesome ; and if bakers were to make use of no worse ingredients than this nutritive root, they might be justified in times of scarcity, provided they sold it at a moderate price, and under proper limitations.
M. Parmentier found, from a variety of experiments, that good bread might be made of equal quantities of flour and potatoe meal. He also obtained well-fermented bread of a good colour and taste, from a mixture of raw potatoe-pulp and wheaten meal, with the addition yeast and salt.
Dr. Darwin asserts, that if it pounds of good raw potatoes be grated into cold water, and af--.tirring the mixture the starch be left to subside, and when collected, it be mixed with eight pounds of boiled potatoes, the mass will make as good bread as that from the best wheaten flour. He likewise observes, that hay, which has been kept in stacks, so as to undergo the saccharine process, may be so managed, by grinding and fermentation with yeast, like bread, as to serve in part for the sustenance of mankind in times of great scarcity. As an instance of the very nutritive quality of hay, it is mentioned, that a cow, after drinking a strong infusion of it, for some time, produced above double the usual quantity of milk. Hence, if bread cannot be made from ground hay, there is reason to believe, that a nutritive beverage may be prepared from it, either in its saccharine state, or by ferment-ins: it into a kind of beer.
There are other vegetables, says Dr. Darwin, which would probably afford wholesome nutriment, either by boiling, or drying and grinding them, or by both these processes. Among these may be reckoned perhaps the tops and bark of gooseberry-trees, holly gorse, and haw thorn. The inner bark of the elm may be converted into a kind of gruel, and the roots cf fern, and probably those of many other plants, such as grass or clover, might yield nourishment either by boiling, baking and separating the fibres from the pulp, or by extracting the starch from those which possess an acrid mucilage, such as the white bryony.
The adulteration of flour and bread has often been the subject of animadversion. Mealmen and millers have been accused of adding chalk, lime, and whiting to the flour, and bakers of mixing alum with the dough. There is much reason to suspect that these practices are but too prevalent.
It has been asserted, that the adulteration of bread is owing to the legal distinctions in the quality of it, and to our making colour the standard of goodness. Dr. Darwin observes, that where much alum is mixed with bread, it may be easily distinguished by the eye : when two loaves so adulterated have stuck together in the oven, they break from each other with a much smoother surface, where they had adhered, than those loaves do which contain no alum.
An excellent method of making bread of rice is, by boiling three-fourths of wheaten flour and one-fourth of rice separately. The rice should be well boiled, the water squeezed out (which may be afterwards used as starch for linen, for there can be no better), and the mass should then be mixed with the flour. It is made in the same manner as common bread, and is very nutritive. One pound and a half of flour mixed with half a pound of rice, will produce a loaf weighing from three pounds to three pounds two ounces, which is greater than that obtained by baking bread of wheat flour only. Rice has also been tried in the same proportion with barley, and makes good bread for labouring people ; but the gain in baking is by no means equal to that obtained by mixing it with wheat. - See Kick.
Another mode of preparing bread with all the bran, the result of which we have stated under the head of Bran, is as follows : " Take seven pounds seven ounces of bran and pollard, and fourteen quarts of water, and boil the whole very gently over a slow fire. When the mixture begins to swell and thicken, let it be frequently stirred, to prevent its boiling over, or burning either at the bottom or sides of the vessel. After having boiled two hours, it will acquire the consistence of a thin pudding. Now put it into a clean cloth, and squeeze out the liquor : take a quart of this, mix it with three pints of yeast, and set the sponge for twenty-eight pounds of flour. The mass, bran, and pollard, even after the liquor has been separated, will be found to be above four times its original weight; it is then to be placed near the fire. In about two hours, the sponge will have sufficiently risen. The bran and pollard, then lukewarm, should be mixed with the flou; and, after adding half a pound of salt, the whole must be well kneaded, with one quart of the bran liquor. Thus prepared, the dough is formed into loaves, and baked for two hours and a quarter in a common oven. The bread, when cold, will weigh one half mere than the same quantity of flour would, without the addition of the bran.
If the bran-water only is used, and the bran itself (which, by the boiling, increases considerably in weight) is not added to the dough, the increase of bread will Still be considerable 5 but not more than one-third of the increase obtained, when all the bran is used.
The great advantage of eating pure and genuine bread must be obvious. Every part of the wheat, which may be called flour, was not only intended to be eaten by man, but it. really makes the best bread, since that may be called the best which is of most general use, and so fine as to contain no parr of the husks of the grain. But the delusion, by which so many persons are misled, to think that even the whole four is not good enough for them, obliges them to pay a seventh or eighth part more t'um they need, to gratify a fane fill appetite. Had it not been for the custom of eating whiter bread than the whole of the flour will make, the miller and baker would not have employed all their art to render the bread as white as possible, and make the consumer pay for this artificial whiteness.
New Substitutes for Flour or Bread. We have, in the preceding analysis, as well as on former occasions, mentioned various substances which might advantageously be employed in the manufacture of this indispensable article of human sustenance ; independently of the different kinds of grain and roots that are already made subservient to this beneficial purpose. In order to exhibit a distinct view of the most promising substitutes, whether indigenous or exotic, and especially such as have actually been used, on the authority of creditable evidence, we shall here divide them into three classes, and, in the course of the work, give a more particular account of each article, in its alphabetical order.
I. Farinaceous Seeds :—"Wheat-grass, or Triticum Spelta ; Millet, or Panicum mii'wceum ; Common Buck-wheat, or Polygonum fagopy-rum ; Siberian Buck-wheat, or Polygonum tafuricum ; Wild Buck-wheat, or Polygonum convolvulus; Wild Fescue-grass, or Festuca flui-tans ; Maize, or Indian Corn, the Mays Zea ; Rice, or Oryxa sativa; Guinea Corn, or White Round-seeded Indian Millet; the Holcus Sorghum.L; Canary-grass, or Pha-laris canariensis', Rough Dog's-tail Crass, or Cynosurus echinatus; Water Zizany, or Zizania aqua-iica ; Upright Sea Lime-grass, or Elymus arenarius Sea-reed, Marram, Helme, or Sea Mat-weed, the Calamagrostis, or Arundo arenaria. The following mealy fruits, however, deserve a decided preference over many of the preceding : viz. Water Caltrops, or the fruit of the Trapa nutans, L.; Pulse of various kinds, such as Peas, Lentils, Beans, and the seeds of the Common Vetch, Fetch, or Tare-acorns, and especially those of the Quenus cerris and escu/us ; the seeds of the White Goose-foot, Common Wild Orage, or the Chenopodium album ; the seeds and flowers of the Rocket, or Brassica erura; the seeds of the Sorrel, or Rumex acelosa; of the different species of Dock, or La-pathum ; of the Yellow and White Water-lily, or the Nymphcca lutea and alba ; of the Corn-spurrey, or Spergula arvensis; of the Spinage, or Spinacia oleracea, L. ; of the Common Gromwell, or Graymill, the Lithospennum officinale; of the Knot-grass, or Paniculum avicu-lare ; the Beech-nut (see p. 233); the husks of the Lint-seed, etc.
II. Farinaceous Roots : namely, those of the Common and Yellow Bethlem Star, or Ornithogalum lu-leum and umbellatum ; of the Yellow Asphodel (see p. 130); of the Wake Robin, or Arum maculatum (after being properly dried and washed); of the Pilewort, or Lesser Celandine, the RanunculusJicuria; of the Common Dropwort, the Spi-rtea filipendula; of the Meadow-sweet, or Spiroea ulmaria ; of the. White Bryony, or Bryonia alia of the Turnip-rooted Cabbage, or Napobrassica; of the Great Bistort, or Snake-weed (p. 268) ; of the Small, Welch, or Alpine Bistort (p. 269); of the Common Orobus, or Heath-pea; the Tuberous Vetch; the Common Reed; both the Sweet-smelling and Common Solomon's Seal; the Common Corn-flag, or Gladiolus communis; the Salt-marsh Club-rush, or Scirpus maritimus, etc. - Indeed, some authors also include in this list the roots of the Mandragoro, Colchicum, Futmaria bulb., Helleioirus acconitifol. and nigr., Li/rum bulb if., and many others ; but for these last mentioned we have not sufficient authority.
III. Fibrous and less juicy Roots : viz. those of the Couch-grass, or CreepingWheat-grass ; the Clown's, or Marsh Wound-wort (p. 31); the Marsh Mary-gold, or Meadow Bouts; the Silver-weed, or Wild Tansey; the Sea Seg, or Caret arenaritis, etc.
Having thus stated the various substitutes for bread, which have either already been adopted with success in this country, or which might, in times of real scarcity, be easily converted into proper nutriment, we cannot better conclude this article than in the words of Arthur Young, Esq. who, in Iris Observations on the late Royal Proclamation, recommending frugality in the consumption of corn, as one of the surest and most effectual means of alleviating the present pressure of the times, espouses the cause of the unfortunate poor, nearly in the following words livery master or head of a family is in duty bound to second, without compulsion, the humane views of the legislature. Hence, bread made of the whole produce of the wheat, excepting only seven pounds of the bran in each bushel, and adding one-fourth or third part of a substitute, would probably be the most effective saving. If the consumption of the whole kingdom be computed at 8, 000, 000 of quarters in twelve months, this saving on all the wheat consumed in nine months would be 700, 000 quarters, which would feed 875, 000 persons, at the ordinary consumption of one quarter a head per annum; and probably be equal, under the present restrictions, to afford food to 1, 000, 000 of people for the next nine months. - Farther, if the saving of oats to the supposed number of 500, 000 horses of luxury, be calculated only at one bushel per week, this would, in nine months, amount to 18, 000, 000 of bushels ; or sufficient to support 1, 000, 000 of persons for the same period of time, allowing to each not less than twenty-five bushels per annum.—. With due deference to Mr. Young's statistical information, however, we beg leave to doubt whether 500, 000 tat horses, crammed on the food of man, move about the kingdom ; though it must be acknowledged, that pleasure horses "are spectacles of envy to the starving poor - abominable and scandaloug spectacles, which, in times like these, ought to be removed from the view of those whose miserable children might be fed on the corn thus saved."
Bread. - Beside the shameful adulterations practised with this important article, by employing chalk, alum, etc. which have already been stated, there is great reason to apprehend that considerable quantities of the meal of pease and beans are mixed with the flour usually sold to bakers. It is well known, that meal-men purchase various kinds of grain ; and, as many of the former are often indebted to the latter in considerable sums, they are either rendered unable to purchase the best flour; or, frequently, by dire necessity, induced to take such a mixture as the meal-men please to allow them. - Why therefore, should the quality of the bread be less worthy the attention of public officers, or of that respectable body of citizens, called the annoyance-jury, than the mere weight or quantity ?
French Bread is prepared in the following manner : Take half a bushel of the best wheaten flour, and dilute one pint of good yeast with three quarts of warm water; mix the whole properly, and cover it with flannel, till the sponge be formed. After the dough has sufficiently risen, six quarts of lukewarm skimmed-milk, and 1 lb. of salt, are to be worked in, with the fingers, till the sponge be weak and ropy ; when it must again be covered, and kept warm. The oven being now made very hot, and the paste moulded into bricks, or rolls, they are put in expeditiously; the former requiring one hour and a half; but the latter only half an hour. As soon as the bread is baked, it must must be drawn; and, if burnt, the black crust should be rasped. - When the milk is added to the sponge, two ounces of butter are sometimes incorporated ; but this addition being immaterial, it may be omitted.