26. PRELIMINARY PREPARATION OF INGREDIENTS.--Before the mixing of the ingredients that are to be used in the batters and doughs of hot breads is begun, all that are needed for the recipe selected should be collected and properly measured. Always sift the flour that is to be used for this purpose. This is a rule that never varies with regard to flour to be used for any dough mixture or as a thickening agent. Then, to prevent the flour from packing too solidly, measure it by dipping it into the cup with a spoon. To obtain the proper amount, heap the cup and then level it with the edge of a knife. Measure with a spoon whatever dry leavening agent is called for, and be sure that it does not contain any lumps. If salt, sugar, and spices are to be used, measure them carefully. Mix the leavening agent, the salt, the sugar, and the other dry ingredients with the flour by sifting them together once or twice. Measure the butter or other fat by packing it in the spoon and then leveling it with a knife. Be particular in measuring the liquid, using neither more nor less than is called for. Regarding this ingredient, it should always be remembered that when a cupful is required, a half-pint cup full to the brim is meant and that any fraction of a cupful should be measured with the same exactness.
27. COMBINING THE INGREDIENTS.--The manner in which a batter or a dough is mixed is very important, for much of the success of the finished product depends on the order in which the various steps are accomplished. Two general methods of combining the ingredients for such mixtures have been devised and either of them may be followed, because they produce equally good results.
In one of these methods, the fat is worked into the dry ingredients and the liquid then added. As eggs are usually considered a liquid ingredient, they are beaten and added to the rest of the liquid before it is mixed with the dry ingredients. However, if eggs are to be used for leavening, only the yolks are added with the liquid ingredients, the whites being beaten separately and folded in last.
The other method is used only when the mixtures are to contain a small quantity of fat. In this method, all the liquid ingredients, including the eggs, are first mixed together. Then the dry ingredients are combined and sifted into the liquid. The fat is melted last and beaten into the dough mixture. If the mixture to be handled is a stiff one, the fat should be put in cold, for adding melted fat makes the dough soft and sticky and therefore difficult to handle.