Initially, I was going to do this as part of another post, but then I decided that looking at baking in the past deserved a post on its own. I hope you agree.
I’m sure there are many of us who remember the old wood stoves and trying to cook on them. There always seemed to be a kettle on top full of hot water ready to make tea. In the summer you cooked alongside everything cooking on the stove, but in winter the kitchen was a great place to be.
Going right back to around the age of 5 I have memories of my grandmother every morning standing over the stove making porridge for everyone. She would stir it around with a wooden spoon that had been worn down through the years. I also wanted to do that to a wooden spoon but I don’t cook enough with them.
I can’t help thinking back to the times I lived in houses where the only way you could get hot water was to light the stove. Get the heat going so it would warm up the water. Love hot water systems now.
Baking in the past with the old stoves
This is not something I remember a lot. While I did bake growing up, I didn’t do it if it was too hard. While some of the homes we lived in had the old slow combustion stoves, many also had normal or modern ones as well.
Still, you have to wonder how they managed to bake things like cakes when temperature is very important. Especially when the really old ones didn’t have thermometers at all.
I’ve been going through “The Woman’s Book” recently there was a piece on how they check the temperature in the ovens. It was interesting so I thought I would share it with you.
This is straight from the book which was published in 1911.
The Baking of Cakes
This is one of the most difficult parts of cake-making. No matter how carefully the mixture has been prepared, the success or failure of the cake will very much depend upon the proper regulation of the heat if the oven. This requires very close observance, and it is only by experience and careful watching that the capabilities and faults of individual ovens can be learned.
There are sone or two popular tests which be applied by novices, such as the following:-
Sprinkle a little flour on a tin and place it in the oven. If there is sufficient heat to bake a cake, this will be brown in about five minutes. Or, place a piece of white paper in the oven, and if at the end of five minutes it is a good yellow colour, the heat is moderate and suitable for most cakes. Small thermometers can also be bought to tell the heat of the oven, but as these are somewhat fragile articles they are not always satisfactory. Still, if used with care, they act as a guide.
How do you think you would go if you had to do that?
Do you have fond memories of kitchens with old wood stoves? Is yes, please share them.
Baking in the past