I’m looking at a couple of recipes from the early twentieth century. One calls for a quick oven. The temperature for that (375 - 400°F) was easy enough to work out, several places online have it, including a 2010 Q&A from this site. The other one, quiet oven, is proving a little more challenging. (If this is a mistake, it was a typo/typesetting mistake in the original article: it is a newspaper article and is pretty clearly 'quiet'.) I am leaning toward ‘slow oven’, 300-325°F, because it is difficult to imagine anything being cooked at lower temperatures. (It is a sweet potato biscuit if that makes a difference to anyone’s logic process.)

So, any ideas what a ‘quiet oven’ might be?

  • Got a reference for "quiet oven"? Where did you see that? That's a term I've never heard before. If you don't get an answer here, btw, you could try asking Jas Townsend & Sons.
    – FuzzyChef
    Nov 23, 2017 at 22:07
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    “Sweet Potatoes Make Good Bread,” Detroit Free Press, December 24, 1917, Page 7. During the First World War there was an effort to conserve wheat so alternatives, such as sweet potatoes were attempted for items like biscuits and muffins. Lots of papers at the time carried recipes like these.
    – Pearl H
    Nov 23, 2017 at 22:23
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    Could this be poor OCR from a scanned book reading quick? When you say biscuit what sort do you mean? It would seem reasonable to assume the American sort but it's as well to check. The first hit for "bake in a quick oven" biscuit suggests I might be right
    – Chris H
    Nov 24, 2017 at 16:40
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    It is a newspaper article and is pretty clearly 'quiet' though from the number of editorial mistakes I routinely see in newspapers it is entirely possible that the person laying the little tiles down could easily have laid out the wrong ones. Proofreading was no better in 1917 then than it is 2017. Given the reaction I am getting here, I am starting to think that there was no such term and it is entirely probable it was a typo.
    – Pearl H
    Nov 24, 2017 at 22:15
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    I was searching hard, trying to find any reference to a 'quiet oven'. Can't find one anywhere. So, I proceeded to look at early 1900's sweet potato biscuit recipes. I found one from Jan 2018 that says to bake in a 'quick oven'. So, at this point, I'm with you on the typo.
    – Cindy
    Nov 25, 2017 at 18:55

4 Answers 4


Well, quiet and quick look similar to an OCR, especially one with a spell-checking dictionary looking at faded and/or poorly forged letterset.

If you have ever reacted buttermilk and baking soda, you know that it is a violent reaction, and one that is not endless. If you want your batter to rise and keep its form, you would use a hot preheated oven to capture the bubbles, a quick oven.

So I am pretty sure that a quiet oven is actually quick.

The only thing that it could possibly be if quiet is really what was meant and an accurate description of the oven, in my opinion, is a stage in the wood-firing of a bakers oven where there are only coals glowing and the oven isn’t making any sound. But that is an assumption that I have no reference for. (And this would probably be a very hot environment, ergo quiet = quick).

Thinking about this some more, linguistically speaking, a ‘quick oven’ might be a shortened form for ‘quick ovening’. This could come from a German baker who anglicized the German: e.g. schnellbacken which is implicitly only possible in a very hot environment, regardless of the oven type. It would also mean that you don’t have time to do errands or chores while the biscuit is in the oven.

  • This seems to be based on a tenuous assumption. There are many other ways to reason about the source of the term. For example, a wood fired oven is much louder at some temperatures than at others. So, I wouldn't be too quick to accept this one as the correct.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 25, 2017 at 16:56
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    based on 2 assumptions, 1 maybe "tenuous", but the other very solid, [how you would cook biscuits = hot, "quick" oven].
    – Lorel C.
    Nov 25, 2017 at 17:18
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    You may wish to update (and shorten) your answer based on the clarification from the question and its comments: the newspaper article definitely said "quiet". The OP does acknowledge the possibility that the article itself was wrong, but there's no need to worry about OCR and so on.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 27, 2017 at 1:11

Google Books has a number of results calling for a "quiet oven" in older recipes, but it seems to have been such a ubiquitous concept that they didn't feel the need to explain what it meant. The only source I could find that gave any indication at all was this book by Robert Carlton Brown, published in 1955, which indicates that it was an English term for a "moderate" oven. He doesn't say what that specifically means, or when it fell out of favor as a term (I would assume with the advent of electric ovens), but I would posit that it's somewhere around 350-75 degrees, based on modern usage.


I have an old (early 20th century) book with a recipe that also calls for a 'quiet oven' so I'm pretty sure it's not a typo. I'm inclined to agree that it's a moderate temperature (around 350-375F) as I found it in a cake recipe.

  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice SE. :) I'm surprised that you found it in an old book, so cool! Can you tell us which one, what recipe/page #, etc.? Or a reference to it online?
    – elbrant
    Jan 27, 2019 at 4:47

Must be a quick oven. Only thing I can think of as a quit oven. Would be a oven, stove banked down for the night. With the 10 gallon water tank on the side. So you would have hot or warm water in the morning when you got up in that tank. That would be under 200f By morning if cold out 120f. In the kitchen. Ready to stir the coals shake them out & add more wood for heat. Shake the ash out leave the coals to start the new wood burning. A warm place to stand as the kitchen warmed up was near the stove oven. We called it a banked down oven in the cold months. May be wrong her.

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