Category Archives: The Bakers’ ABC

The Bakers’ ABC: Z is for Zea

An old name for spelt, which is identical with beer barley or beer corn, or German wheat, much grown in Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, &c., and used for malting.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

The Bakers’ ABC: Y is for Yorkshire pudding

A baked, very light, pudding, made from a batter consisting of flour, eggs, and milk, beaten with a whisk. It is served with roast meat. In restaurants of the cheap sort, small puddings of the same nature, baked in the oven, in small pans, well greased, with a few currants sprinkled in the pan before the batter is poured in, are called ‘fritters’ [and sound absolutely delicious. Why don‘t cheap restaurants sell these anymore?].  These have a ready sale. In the oven they swell up, then collapse. They are crisp at the sides, and soft at the bottom part.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

The Bakers’ ABC: W is for Whortleberry

A wild berry which grows on short stems, with egg-shaped short stalk leaves. When ripe the berries are round and black, with a bluish bloom. The plant belongs to the cranberry family. It is common on heaths in most parts of the British Isles, except in the south-east. Has a pleasant flavour, is juicy, and much appreciated in tarts and preserves. In the north of England this fruit is called a ‘bilberry’ and in Scotland ‘blaeberry’.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

The Bakers’ ABC: V is for Vauxhall slice

A slice of ham cut extremely thin, to increase yield to the seller. The name was given because of the association of very thin slices with the catering at the Vauxhall gardens in London. It seems that in the Gardens there was a restaurant which acquired a reputation for its “plate of ham”. The ham had to cover the plate, and was, of course, extremely thin.

There was a tale told of a chef who applied for an advertised situation with one of the Vauxhall caterers, and gave as one of this qualifications that he could carve a ham so that the slices would cover an acre. He was rejected. The requirements were that the slices from a ham must be thin enough to cover two acres, The term Vauxhall slice came to be used for any thin piece of meat.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

The Bakers’ ABC: U is for Unsaturated compound

Compounds the affinities of the consituents of which are not completely satisfied. The process of hardening oils to make them into fats depends on the fact that the oleic acid of the oil is an unsaturated compound, but, in the presence of pure hydrogen and a catalyst – generally a nickel plate – the oleic acid is changed by the absorption of hydrogen into stearic acid, which is a saturated compound.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

The Bakers’ ABC: T is for Twelfth cake

A special rich cake made for the festivities of Twelfth Night, which is the twelfth day after Christmas, or the Epiphany. According to Brewster, this cake is a relic of the Roman saturnalia. At the close of the festival the Roman children drew lots with beans to see who would be king. This cake is now made of richest mixture, dark in colour and close in texture. The recipe varies, but it is proper to mix as much fruit – currants, sultanas, peel and almonds as the mixture will carry. It is spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. As a rule it is made of the same mixture as rich wedding cake.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

The Bakers’ ABC: S is for Savarin

A light cake made of fermented dough, rich in butter and eggs of the same kind as that used for Baba au Rhum. The savarin is made generally in a ring mould, well proved and baked. After cooling it is steeped in hot sugar syrup, strongly flavoured with rhum and maraschino, or other flavouring liqueur, and then masked in clear pulp, and then the bottom covered with fine coco-nut or almonds. A savarin is garnished on top with split blanched almonds, angelica or half cherries.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham