It is very important to have good oven wood split fine, and the oven filled with it as soon as the baking is out; by this precaution it is always ready and dry. Early in the morning, take out half of the wood, and spread the remainder over the oven, in such a way as it will take fire easily; light a few sticks in the fire, and put them in; when it burns well, turn the wood about, and occasionally add more till it is all in; when it is burnt to coals, stir them about well with a long-handled shovel made for the purpose.
When it looks bright on the top and sides, it is hot enough; let the coals lay all over the bottom till near the time of putting in the bread, when draw them to the mouth, as it is apt to get cool the quickest. If you have biscuit to bake, put some of the coals on one side near the front, as they require a quick heat, and should be put in immediately after the coals are taken out; they will bake in fifteen or twenty minutes.
When all the coals are taken out, if the bottom of the oven sparkles, it is very hot, and should wait a few minutes; but if not, you may put in the bread first, and then the pies; if you have a plain rice pudding to bake, it should be put in the middle of the front, and have two or three shovels of coals put round it, if the oven is rather cool. Close the oven with a wooden stopper made to fit it; after they have been in a few minutes, see that they do not brown too fast; if so, keep the stopper down a little while. Pies made of green fruit will bake in three-quarters of an hour; but if the fruit has been stewed, half an hour will be long enough.
Rusk, or rolls, take about half an hour to bake in a brick oven; if you should have to open the oven very often before the bread is done, put in a few shovels of coals and shut it up.
When all is taken out, fill the oven with wood ready for the next baking.
There is nothing in any department of cooking that gives more satisfaction to a young housekeeper than to have accomplished what is called a good baking.