2. Hot breads are quickly and easily made, but in this part of cookery, as in every other phase of it, certain principles must be understood and applied if the most satisfactory results are desired. These principles pertain chiefly to the ingredients used, the way in which they are measured and handled, the proportions in which they are combined, the necessary utensils, and the proper baking of the mixtures that are formed.
In the first place, the quality of the ingredients should be carefully considered, because on this depends the quality of the finished product. No one who prepares foods can expect good food to result from the use of inferior materials. Next, the proportion of the ingredients demands attention, for much importance is attached to this point. For instance, in making a certain kind of hot bread, the quantity of flour to be used is regulated by the quantity of bread that is desired, and the quantity of flour governs, in turn, the quantities of liquid, leavening, and other ingredients that are to be put into the mixture. When the proportions of ingredients required for a hot bread are known, it is necessary that the ingredients be measured very accurately. Leavening material, for example, will serve to make clear the need for accuracy in measuring. A definite quantity of leavening will do only a definite amount of work. Therefore, if too little or too much is used, unsatisfactory results may be expected; and, as with this ingredient, so it is with all the materials used for hot breads.
The handling of the ingredients and the mixture has also much influence on the success with which hot breads are produced. A heavy touch and excessive handling, both of which are usually characteristic of the beginner, are more likely to result in a tough product than is the light, careful handling of the expert. However, as skill in this matter comes with practice, no discouragement need result if successful results are not forthcoming at the very start in this work. A good rule to follow in this particular, and one that has few exceptions, is to handle and stir the ingredients only enough to blend them properly.
In addition to the matters just mentioned, the utensils in which to combine the hot-bread materials and bake the batters or doughs are of importance. While none of these is complicated, each must be of the right kind if the best results are expected. The final point to which attention must be given is the baking of this food. Proper baking requires on the part of the housewife familiarity with the oven that is to be used, accuracy in judging temperature, and a knowledge of the principles underlying the process of baking.