Welcome to How To Cook That I’m Ann
Reardon and today we’re looking at baking hacks from 100 years ago! I was
looking through this really old cookbook that belonged to my great-grandmother and
I asked my mum if I could borrow it. Let’s start by looking at some of the
kitchen maxim’s as they call it … some of these are just common sense like clear as you
go muddle makes more muddle! Good advice not one I always stick to. Others are
well how would you put it a bit strange! wash a saucepan but clean a frypan with
a piece of bread. Really? Let’s have a look when did paper towels become common?
1930s so close we’ve got to wait another eight years to get paper towel in their
grocery store. When the washing up is over wash the tea cloth as it saves the
cloths and cleanses the hands. This book actually has a whole page about laundry
work which is really interesting Check out a hand-cranked washing machine
and if you were rich enough at this stage you might have had an early-model
electric washing machine. We are so blessed now we just chuck everything in
the washing machine no need to wash the teatowel after you’ve done the dishes.
Let’s move from the laundry to cakes. The first tip here says the cake should
be placed in the oven as soon as possible after the eggs and milk have
been added … if allowed to remain too long the cake will become heavy. To test this
advice we’re going to make the plain cake from this book which has
ingredients such as flour and baking powder and good beef dripping! There is a
recipe in this book for how to make beef dripping so we’re going to have to make
that first. Go to your butcher and ask for the beef fat from around the kidneys
and chop that finely. Nothing was wasted back in this time, you have to remember
this is not long after World War one when food was very short. Butter was
still rationed right up until 1920. Because we do now have an abundance of
electrical appliances I’m going to actually use the mincer attachment on my
mixer to chop this really finely for me. The more finely you chop it the
quicker it’s going to break down when you do the next step. Add to the fat two
times the amount of water by weight and heat that up over a low heat until all
the fat has melted which as I said won’t take long if you’ve used the mincer and
made it really fine. Then strain that through a sieve into a
bowl and leave it to cool and the fat will come up to the top and set. You just
get rid of the water that’s in the bowl but take the fat off the top and it says
you want to reheat that to evaporate any water that might be still in that fat
and that takes about 15 minutes just letting it bubble slowly and then you
can let that set again. If you put that beef dripping into the fridge it sets up
really quite hard so I’m gonna have to let that soften a little bit now up to
room temperature so that I can use it. put the flour and the baking powder
together in a basin and stir these together and I’ll put all these recipe
quantities on the howtocookthat.net website for you in case you want to make
some of these hundred-year-old cakes as well and there’s a link to that below.
Then rub in the dripping it’s gonna take me a while because it’s still quite hard
but I’ll get there eventually. there we go that’s all rubbed in, then it
says add the sugar caraway seeds and peel (it’s not a very “plain cake”) and
the milk and beat that all together very thoroughly until the ingredients are all
well mixed. Grease a tin and put the cake mixture in. This is a really really thick
cake mixture so I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to see if it’s going heavy
by leaving it out but we’ll try anyway it says to bake from one-and-a-half to
two hours. I’m putting just the one of them in the oven straightaway and the
other one I’m going to leave on the bench for thirty minutes to see if
waiting makes it heavy. This is the one that went straight into the oven and
this is the one that I left on the bench. there may be a slight difference but
really not a lot and that could be because it started as such a heavy cake
in the first place or it could be because we have double acting baking powder now …
it starts bubbling while it’s sitting on the bench and then bubbles even more
when it’s in the heat of the oven. The flavor doesn’t really taste it beef but
it definitely has a slightly savory flavor to it you can tell there’s
something different – if you had butter or margarine in it. The beef dripping
could actually be quite nice in savory pastries but given the choice I wouldn’t
use it in cakes again. Next if you have unused crusts place them on a baking
tray in the oven and then grate them to make bread crumbs. Next we have two cake
hacks to stop a cake from browning. It says when the oven is very hot and the
tops of the cake are taking on too much color cover them with a sheet of kitchen
paper and to prevent the bottom of a cake subjected to long cooking from
burning the tin should be stood on a baking sheet covered with a layer of
sand! Interesting 🧐Okay for the Victoria cake it says we need to stir the sugar
and the yolks of eggs together until thick and creamy, then add the melted
butter. Pass the flour baking powder and a good pinch of salt through a sieve.
Stir lightly into the rest of the ingredients and add milk by degrees
until the mixture drops readily from the spoon. It actually doesn’t give a
quantity for the milk so I’m just adding it and mixing it in and I think that
drops readily from the spoon do you think that looks right? Now it says to
whisk the whites of eggs stiffly this is going to take a while let me just put
this in fast-forward… There we go gee that’s hard work hand
whisking. Stir them in as lightly as possible and pour the preparation into a
well greased tin. Now we don’t have any sand at our house so I’m just going to
have to use soil and this soil is a little damp for the purpose of
experimenting but just so you know what I had to start with. That looks just
wrong we’re having soil around the cake but I guess it’s not actually touching
so we’re all good for food safety there. and then we’re gonna put a sheet of
baking paper on top and pop that in the oven for 20 minutes. This is the one that
I baked without the baking paper on top and this is the one that had baking
paper on top so the hack actually worked for stopping the top of the cake from
browning. Then if we flip it over this one was the one that was baked normally
and this one had the tray of dirt ta-da! Look at that a genius 100 year old hack
that I’ve never heard of before! That’s actually awesome for layered cakes
because you don’t have a browned base or a browned top when you’re layering them
up. I like it and give me that one thumbs up 👍🏻 The next hack says always close the
oven door gently and open it as little as possible… I remember my mum used to
tell me this too but I’ve never actually tested it before. So we’re going to make
the sponge cake it says separate the yolks from the whites put the former
into a saucepan with the sugar and beat them and let them remain over the fire
until warm … keeping them well stirred. then it says whisk the whites of the
eggs into a very stiff froth. Now I know a hundred years ago they didn’t have
electric mixers yet but I’ve already hand whisked one lot of egg whites today
and that’s gonna do 💪 Then it says stir them into the other ingredients and beat
well for about half of an hour! I am not joking that’s what it says beep well for
half of an hour I’m so glad I’ve got my electric mixer because I reckon it will
be done in about 5 minutes. Then take out the whisk sieve in the flour and mix it
lightly together. put it into a greased mold dusted out
with a little finely sifted sugar and flour and bake the cake in a quick oven.
It’s been in there for about five minutes now and I’m gonna open the oven
and slam it shut a few times and just one more and we’ll see what happens. It
looks like it didn’t really drop at all it seems to be rising fine.
I imagine the modern-day ovens are a lot better at recovering the oven
temperature than it would have been if you had one of the older ovens. This next
one made me laugh when you were done peeling onions wash the knife at once
and put it away to be cleaned. Do not use it for anything else unless it has been
cleaned. Nothing is nastier or more indicative of
a slovenly and untidy cook than to use an oniony knife in the preparation of
any dishware the flavor of an onion is a disagreeable surprise. Thrusting the
knife once or twice into the earth will take away the smell. I’m worried the
rocks in the earth are going to blunt my knife and now it smells of soil!
If a loaf is rather stale it can be freshened by being enclosed in a large
biscuit tin and warmed through in a gentle oven. That seemed to work I like
warm bread I’d like to warm up any bread it makes it a bit more yummy. Next it
says a spoonful of vinegar will set a poached egg.
Let’s test plain boiling water first give that a stir to make a whirlpool
then add the egg into the center and you can see the white is getting quite
feathery and thin and there are little bits of white floating around in the
water if I pop that on some toast you can see it hasn’t really encased the
yolk. Now let’s get some fresh water bring that to the boil and add some
vinegar in give that a quick swirl and then add in the egg and look at that
it’s setting up really fast. The acid in the vinegar actually helps the egg white
to coagulate quickly so it not as feathery. It’s surrounding the yoke
it looks beautiful that hack works a treat and I know chefs
today still use that one 🥚 Subscribe to HowToCookThat, turn on the
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great week and I’ll see you next Friday!