In making the dough for hard biscuits it should be kept in a loose crumbly state until the whole is of an equal consistency, then work, rub, or press it together with your hands until the whole is collected or formed into a mass. If the old-fashioned biscuit brake is replaced by a biscuit machine so much the better for the baker and the goods he turns out. If so, then all that is necessary will be to properly adjust the rollers whether, for braking (that is making the dough) or rolling out for the cutter. If an amateur tries to make biscuits he will always experience some difficulty in moulding them if they are hand-made. When this is so it would be better to cut them out with a cutter.
These were evidently the first biscuits, from which have sprung all the varieties of hard biscuits which we at present possess. They are of the same character as those which were first made by man in his progress towards civilisation, and were baked or roasted on hot embers. Before this, men knew of no other use for their meal than to make it into a kind of porridge. Biscuits prepared in a simple fashion were for centuries the food of the Roman soldiers. The name is derived from the Latin bis, twice, and the French cuit = coctus, meaning twice baked or cooked.
Ship biscuits are composed of flour and water only; but some think a small proportion of yeast makes a great improvement in them. The method adopted is to make a small weak sponge as for bread previous to making the dough; the necessary quantity of water is then added. The flour used for the commoner sort of these biscuits is known as middlings or fine sharps; and those made from the finer or best are called captains or cabin biscuits. A sack of flour loses, by drying and baking, 28 lbs.
7 lbs. of fine flour, 6 ozs. of butter, 1 quart of water or milk. Rub the butter in with the flour until it is crumbled into very small pieces, make a bay in the centre of the flour, pour in the water or milk, make it into a dough, and break it when made into dough, chaff or mould up the required size, 4 or 5 ozs. each, pin out with a rolling pin about 5 inches in diameter, dock them and lay them with their faces together. When they are ready bake them in a moderately quick oven, of a nice brown colour. These are seldom made with hand, as the machinery in use outstrips hand-made biscuits of this class in speed and gives a better appearance and quality.
7 1/2 lbs. of flour, 1/2 lb. of butter, 1 quart of water or milk. Mix as directed. When ready weigh out at 2 ozs. each, mould or chaff, roll out, dock quite through and bake in a hot oven. Ail biscuits of this class require thorough drying in the drying room.
1 quart of milk, 6 eggs, 8 ozs. of sugar, 1/2 oz. of caraway seeds, with flour sufficient to make the whole of the required consistency. They are generally weighed off at 2 ozs. each, moulded up, pinned and docked, and baked in a moderate oven.
Note. -- The heat of an oven is not required so strong for biscuits containing sugar, as it causes them to take more colour in less time.
7 lbs. of flour, 8 ozs. of sugar, 8 ozs. of butter, 4 eggs, 1 1/2 pint of milk, 2 tablespoonfuls of orange-flower water, 1/2 oz. of caraway seeds.
Take 8 lbs. of flour, 1 1/2 lb. of butter and lard, 12 ozs. of sugar, 1/2 oz. of caraway seeds; some use about 1/2 oz. of powdered volatile salts. Proceed to make into dough as before. Well break the dough and finish with either hand or machine.
Take 8 lbs. of flour, rub in 2 lbs. of good butter. Make a bay, add about 1 quart of water, take in your flour and butter and well shake up, and note the more your mixture is shaken up and worked the better biscuits you will have. Also note in shaking up these biscuits, when they are mixed let your two thumbs meet, giving the mixture a shake up in the air till you have all the dry flour worked in and the mixture is nice and moist. Bake in a smart oven on wires.
14 lbs. of flour, 1 1/4 lb. of butter, 1/2 oz. of carbonate of soda, 3 drachms of muriatic acid, 2 quarts of water. Mix as the last, adding the acid mixed with half-a-pint of the water after the dough is shaken up, then finish with the machine.
26 lbs. of flour, 2 1/4 lbs. of butter, 5 lbs. of sugar, 2 ozs. of ammonia, 1/2 oz. of essence of lemon, 3 quarts of water. This should be made into small round biscuits rather larger than pic-nics. Bake them in a sound oven.
30 lbs. of flour, 4 lbs. of butter, 4 lbs. of castor sugar, 3 ozs. of carbonate of soda, 2 ozs. of muriatic acid, 4 quarts of milk.
28 lbs. Of flour, 2 lbs. of lard, 2 lbs. of sugar, 2 ozs. of carbonate of soda, 2 ozs. of hydrochloric acid. Mix as above and finish the dough in the usual way. Bake in a moderately brisk oven.
56 lbs. of flour, 3 1/2 lbs. of lard, 3 1/2 lbs. of butter, 1 1/4 lb. of castor sugar, 4 quarts of milk, 4 quarts of water, 2 ozs. of carbonate of soda, 1 1/2 oz. of hydrochloric acid. Mix as before described. Let the dough be of a good stiffness and broken very clear. The cutters may be either round or oval. They require about 20 minutes' baking. As soon as they are drawing put them in the stove for about two hours.
Take equal parts of fine flour and wheat-meal flour and mix them together to 5 quarts of milk and water. Use 2 1/2 lbs. of butter and 2 ozs. of German yeast. Rub the butter in the flour, make a bay, pour in your liquor and yeast. Mix the whole into a dough, break it a little, and put it in a warm place to prove. After it is light enough, break it quite smooth and clear, roll it out in a sheet one-eighth of an inch in thickness and cut out your biscuits. As soon as the biscuits are cut out bake in a hot oven.
71. Another way. -- 5 lbs. of granulated wheat meal, 1 lb. of butter, 1/4 lb. of sugar, 1/4 lb. of ground arrowroot, 4 eggs, 1 quart of milk, 1/4 oz. of carbonate of soda. These are mixed up in the usual way, pinned out and cut with a small round cutter, docked and baked in a moderate oven.
5 1/2 lbs. of flour, 8 ozs. of butter, 6 ozs. of sugar, 6 ozs. of arrowroot, 3 eggs, 1 pint of liquor. Prepare as the last. Make 16 biscuits from 1 lb. of dough. Mould and pin into round cakes 3 inches in diameter, dock them with an arrowroot docker, and bake them in a sound oven.
4 lbs. of flour, 4 ozs. of butter, 4 ozs. of castor sugar 5 large eggs, with enough water to fill a pint. Make a bay; after the butter is rubbed in with the flour, add the sugar and beat up the eggs and water together; pour into your bay, make the whole into a dough, break it clear and make it quite thin. When you finish it roll it out the tenth of an inch in thickness, cut with your coffee biscuit cutter and bake them in a brisk oven. If the oven should not be hot enough to raise them round the edges twist up a handful of shavings rather hard and place them round the edges of the biscuits when baking.
3 1/2 lbs. of flour, 2 ozs. butter, 2 ozs. of sugar, 1 pint of eggs. Make a bay, rub the butter in the flour before you make a bay, add the sugar, pour in the eggs, beat them well up with your hands, make the whole into a dough, break well that it may be clear, roll into thin sheets, cut with an oval cutter the same as used for Brightons, put them on clean tins, and bake in a hot oven the same as Coffee Biscuits.
5 lbs. of flour, 12 ozs. of castor sugar, 12 ozs. of butter, 1 pint of milk. Make all into a good dough, roll into sheets half-an-inch thick, cut with an oval-pointed cutter in shape thus - 0, place them on a crimp board and with a knife or scraper curl them up, put on clean dry tins. Bake in moderate heat.
5 1/4 lbs. of flour, 12 ozs. of butter, 2 lbs. of sugar, 1 pint of milk. Mix as before into a dough, roll out the dough 1/4 of an inch thick, cut them into long strips, and cut them diamond shape or square, dock them either on the table or crimping-board as your fancy dictates. Bake them in a rather warm oven.
10 lbs. of flour, 2 1/4 lbs. of butter, 10 ozs. of castor sugar, 1 quart of water. Mix up the same as the others, roll out a sheet 1/2 inch in thickness, cut them out in various forms, dock them, and bake on clean dry tins in a moderate oven.
1 quart of milk, 1 lb. of butter, 2 ozs. of German yeast, 6 1/2 lbs. of flour. Make the milk warm, add the sugar, yeast and a handful of flour to form a ferment, let it ferment for an hour and a half. Rub the butter into the remaining flour and make all into a nice smooth dough; let it stand about two hours, then roll it out thin; cut the biscuits out with a cutter about three inches in diameter, dock them well, place on clean tins sprinkled with water, wash over with milk when you have them all off, put them in a steam press or drawers for half an hour, and bake in a cool oven.
4 lbs. of flour, 12 ozs. of butter, 6 ozs of sugar, 1 pint of milk. Mix up in the usual way, break smooth, and make 12 biscuits out of a pound of dough; roll thin, dock them, and bake in a brisk oven. Sold at a halfpenny each.
Take 1 quart of milk, 5 ozs. sugar, 3 ozs. yeast, 1/4 lb. of flour. Mix all together into a ferment and let it drop, add 1/4 lb. arrowroot, 5 ozs. butter, and as much flour as will make a good dough. Put it away till you think it is ripe enough to work off, which you will know by its appearing light and spongy. When it has reached this stage take 4 lbs. of the dough and roll it out 1/2 inch thick, cut out with a plain round cutter an inch and a half in diameter, put them on tins a quarter of an inch apart, prove them in steam press, and when ready bake in a sound oven. Put them in a drying stove or some warm place to thoroughly dry them, to make them light and easily digestible.
12 1/2 lbs. of flour, I oz. of salt, 6 ozs. of lard, 1 oz. of acid, 1 1/2 oz. of soda, 2 quarts of water. Mix as for Machine Biscuits, break the dough smooth and clear, let it lay for about half an hour, then roll out in large sheets nearly the thickness of three penny pieces, cut out with an oval spring cutter five inches in length and three inches in breadth. The dough must be well made and of a good stiffness. When cut out lay them on top of each other in sixes on carrying boards. Have the oven of a good sound heat and well cleaned out, have a running peel that will hold six biscuits, and run them on the sole of the oven.
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