Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Biscuit (i.e. twice cooked), a small thin form of bread baked so as to render it hard (at least externally), dry, and durable. For the last 30 or 40 years biscuits have ordinarily been made in large factories, the dough being mixed, kneaded, rolled, and cut by machinery, and then passed through a "travelling oven," during their passage through which they are baked. This trade is peculiarly English and Scottish, and the export of "biscuit and bread" from the United Kingdom in 1888 amounted to 194,678 cwts., valued at £535,163, though Germany and the United States also manufacture considerable quantities. The varieties have greatly increased of late years, and upwards of 150 kinds are commonly sold. Meat biscuits contain either extract of meat or dry and pounded meat, or both, mixed with flour and other ingredients; a coarse kind (which also sometimes contains beetroot) is used to feed dogs: Digestive biscuits are so prepared as to contain diastase (q.v.), a nitrogenous substance which assists digestion by transforming starch into soluble sugar; Charcoal biscuits contain wood charcoal, which is alleged to absorb gases present in the stomach (but its moistened condition there probably prevents this result); while Diabetic biscuits contain bran and gluten, but not starchy or saccharine matter. Ship's bread or biscuit, a mixture of simple flour and water, cut or stamped into regular flat cakes, and so thoroughly dried by baking as to be capable of remaining good for many months or even years. Bread for the Royal Navy was formerly made by hand, and was often very defective. It is now made entirely by machinery; and at the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard, Gosport, facilities exist for turning the unground wheat into biscuit by a continuous process which requires no human intervention. Fine flour and middlings, deprived of bran and pollard, are used. Each sheet of dough. of a yard square is stamped hexagon-wise in such manner that it will break up into about 60 biscuits, and each biscuit prepared for the navy bears the Queen's mark and the number of the oven to which it is to be consigned. The baking process occupies ten minutes. Upon being withdrawn, the sheets are broken up, and the biscuits are packed in sacks. The regular service allowance, when fresh bread is not obtainable, is 1 lb. per man per day.