33. TESTING THE BAKED MIXTURE.--Recipes for baked dishes usually state the length of time required to bake them, but such directions cannot always be depended on, because the temperature of the oven varies at different times. The best way in which to judge whether the food has baked the necessary length of time is to apply to it one of the reliable tests that have been devised for this purpose.
Probably the most satisfactory test is to insert a toothpick as deep as possible into the center of the loaf. The center, rather than some other part of the loaf, is the place where the testing should be done, because the heat penetrates a mixture from the outside and the center is therefore the last part to bake. If the toothpick comes out without particles of dough adhering, the mixture is sufficiently baked in that place and consequently throughout the loaf. In case the dough sticks to the toothpick, the baking is not completed and will have to be continued. Since this is a test that is frequently used, a supply of toothpicks, preferably round ones, should be kept in a handy place near the stove.
Another fairly accurate means of testing baked mixtures that do not form a very hard crust consists in making a dent in the center with the finger. If the dent remains, the baking must be continued, but if it springs back into place, the baking is completed.