Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slow oven

While perusing Grandma's cookbooks and recipes, I noticed that oven temperatures are often not given. Instead, the recipes instruct the cook to bake in a slow, moderate, or hot oven. Here's how one might have done that with a gas oven. How amazed would my grandmother have been to see a machine that not only regulates temperature while it bakes my bread, but kneads and proofs the dough as well.

Rules for Baking in Gas Oven
(from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1925 edition
originally by Fannie Merritt Farmer, then Cora D. Parker)
1920s Wedgewood

  Hot oven requires 2 burners lighted.
  Moderate oven requires 2 burners, halfway on.
  Slow oven requires 1 burner halfway on.
  For Baking Loaf Bread. Light both burners five minutes. Put loaf on upper shelf. After ten minutes turn off back burner and turn front burner down one-fourth. Gradually reduce heat until it is only one-third on. Turn light entirely off five minutes before bread is done.
  Small loaves bake in forty minutes.
  Large loaves bake in sixty minutes.

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