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Slumping Brownies


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15 replies to this topic

#1 eskimoted

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:19 AM

My wife makes a fabulous brownie but she's not happy with the way they slump in the centre of the pan after she removes them from the oven.

They look great just as they come out of the oven but the centre of the pan falls while cooling. Any ideas very welcome, thanks.

#2 CompassRose

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:21 AM

I thought that's what brownies are supposed to do. That's what makes them so orgasmically dense and fudgy, as opposed to cake, which when done right does not slump.

Seriously, I've never had a good brownie, even a purchased brownie, that wasn't all collapsed and crackly on top.

#3 browniebaker

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:28 AM

Gosh, I think a pan of brownies is supposed to slump in the middle. Baking until the middle puffs up and sets like the edge would mean overbaked, dry brownies. For aesthetics, I just take a square spatula and press down on the raised edges while the brownies are still warm and uncut in the pan.

To minimize the differential between the edges and the center, try this, which I always do: wrap a soaking-wet Magi-Cake strips (metallic-fabric strips, sold in kitchenware shops) around the outside of your brownie pan before baking. The strip retards the baking of the edges so that they do not set so much quicker than the center.

Edited by browniebaker, 03 May 2005 - 07:31 AM.


#4 racheld

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:42 AM

Chocolate desserts have been labeled "decadent" and "sinful" for such a long time that they've all begun to believe their reputations. Brownies are the first to go, the naughty things, and if a simple slump is all you have to contend with, count yourself lucky. They lie there like languid teenagers in front of MTV, not doing anything to further world peace or order, and respond only when prodded or bodily lifted from their lazy liedowns.

Next will come indolent fudge, torpid tortes, lackadaisical truffles, trifling.....well, you know. When a flavor gets so above itself as to be sought after, enjoyed by millions, complimented to the extreme...anarchy would be around the bend if the languid, slothful confections did not rest on their laurels to such an extent.

It's just a good thing that all those "Death By..." presumptions do not rise up and slay us in our beds; instead, they just idle there on the plate, garnering praise and soft grunts of pleasure, doing NOTHING but just BEING, like all those scions of wealth whose raison d'etre is getting dressed for a party.

Yes, Chocolate is fast joining the Blah-niks of the world, just being its shiftless self, idling there on its bed of Creme Anglaise, existing only to be admired and coveted. And covet it we do, to the extreme of allowing such laziness, such lack of energy.

So go enjoy your slumpy brownies; do not compare them to the active, energetic plate of endive down the block---every family has a THAT CHILD, and chocolate is ours. Enjoy it for what it is, and look over its shortcomings. We made it what it is today, and must reap what we have sown.


:rolleyes:

Edited by racheld, 03 May 2005 - 12:56 PM.

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#5 scott123

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:44 AM

When I remove my brownies from the oven, I take a hot pad and smush the top and the edges down. It ends up level, but dense, very dense. I love em dense!

#6 Alex

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:47 AM

Gosh, I think a pan of brownies is supposed to slump in the middle. Baking until the middle puffs up and sets like the edge would mean overbaked, dry brownies. For aesthetics, I just take a square spatula and press down on the raised edges while the brownies are still warm and uncut in the pan.

To minimize the differential between the edges and the center, try this, which I always do: wrap a soaking-wet Magi-Cake strips (metallic-fabric strips, sold in kitchenware shops) around the outside of your brownie pan before baking. The strip retards the baking of the edges so that they do not set so much quicker than the center.

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I agree re the Magi-Cake strips. But then, how can one disagree about brownies with an eGulleteer named browniebaker? :biggrin:

I also have experienced more of a differential when using a glass baking dish, but that might be just me.
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#7 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 09:36 AM

It depends on your recipe. I, like your wife, try to get them to slump as little as possible. I found that mixing by hand rather than machine made a difference. As well, she might find lowering the temperature a bit and cooking longer helps. Mine have so much butter in them that even if I "overcook" them they are still super moist and fudgy but barely slouched. Another thing I've found is when I make them thinner to use as a base for rocky road that they don't slump at all. I haven't tried magi-strips for brownies but they work a treat for loaves and cakes so I imagine they would be great for brownies as well.
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#8 browniebaker

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 11:06 AM

Gosh, I think a pan of brownies is supposed to slump in the middle. Baking until the middle puffs up and sets like the edge would mean overbaked, dry brownies. For aesthetics, I just take a square spatula and press down on the raised edges while the brownies are still warm and uncut in the pan.

To minimize the differential between the edges and the center, try this, which I always do: wrap a soaking-wet Magi-Cake strips (metallic-fabric strips, sold in kitchenware shops) around the outside of your brownie pan before baking. The strip retards the baking of the edges so that they do not set so much quicker than the center.

View Post

I agree re the Magi-Cake strips. But then, how can one disagree about brownies with an eGulleteer named browniebaker? :biggrin:

I also have experienced more of a differential when using a glass baking dish, but that might be just me.

View Post


Believe me, it's not just you! :smile: I love my Pyrex, but not for brownies. Glass heats up too fast, cooking the edges quickly.

For the least differential, I use light-color, aluminum pans, not dark-color pans, which cook the edges faster. In fact, the best pan is the square cheesecake-pan with perfectly square corners and removable bottom, made by Magic Line/Parrish.

#9 Patrick S

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 11:46 AM

Gosh, I think a pan of brownies is supposed to slump in the middle. Baking until the middle puffs up and sets like the edge would mean overbaked, dry brownies. For aesthetics, I just take a square spatula and press down on the raised edges while the brownies are still warm and uncut in the pan.

To minimize the differential between the edges and the center, try this, which I always do: wrap a soaking-wet Magi-Cake strips (metallic-fabric strips, sold in kitchenware shops) around the outside of your brownie pan before baking. The strip retards the baking of the edges so that they do not set so much quicker than the center.

View Post

I agree re the Magi-Cake strips. But then, how can one disagree about brownies with an eGulleteer named browniebaker? :biggrin:

I also have experienced more of a differential when using a glass baking dish, but that might be just me.

View Post


Believe me, it's not just you! :smile: I love my Pyrex, but not for brownies. Glass heats up too fast, cooking the edges quickly.

View Post


Isn't the problem really not that glass heats up so fast, cooking the edges quickly, but that glass cools down so slowly -- and keeps cooking the edges after you take the dish out of the oven? Glass actually has extremely low thermal conductivity compared to most metals, so it take a long time for the inside of the dish to get hot, but it keeps imparting heat to the brownies for a long time after you take it out of the oven.
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#10 pastrymama

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 03:57 PM

I always spread my brownies to the edge of the pan and then push some of the batter at the sides back towards the center making a hump in the center. When it bakes it spreads out and after it settles they are almost perfectly flat. It works no matter what size pan I use from 8 inch to a full sheet.
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#11 browniebaker

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:59 PM

Gosh, I think a pan of brownies is supposed to slump in the middle. Baking until the middle puffs up and sets like the edge would mean overbaked, dry brownies. For aesthetics, I just take a square spatula and press down on the raised edges while the brownies are still warm and uncut in the pan.

To minimize the differential between the edges and the center, try this, which I always do: wrap a soaking-wet Magi-Cake strips (metallic-fabric strips, sold in kitchenware shops) around the outside of your brownie pan before baking. The strip retards the baking of the edges so that they do not set so much quicker than the center.

View Post

I agree re the Magi-Cake strips. But then, how can one disagree about brownies with an eGulleteer named browniebaker? :biggrin:

I also have experienced more of a differential when using a glass baking dish, but that might be just me.

View Post




Believe me, it's not just you! :smile: I love my Pyrex, but not for brownies. Glass heats up too fast, cooking the edges quickly.

View Post


Isn't the problem really not that glass heats up so fast, cooking the edges quickly, but that glass cools down so slowly -- and keeps cooking the edges after you take the dish out of the oven? Glass actually has extremely low thermal conductivity compared to most metals, so it take a long time for the inside of the dish to get hot, but it keeps imparting heat to the brownies for a long time after you take it out of the oven.

View Post


The radiant heat that glass conducts to the batter at the edges causes the edges to cook more quickly. That's why recipes always say to lower the thermostat by 25 degrees F when baking in glass rather than metal pans.

Pastrymama, I'm going to try your method of heaping the batter high in the center. Sounds like a good idea!

Edited by browniebaker, 03 May 2005 - 07:00 PM.


#12 laurenmilan

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 10:20 AM

I use a brownie recipe that specifies you take it out of the oven when it's baked on the edges, & slumpy in the middle.. and then let it cool to room temp before you cover it in foil & toss it in the fridge overnight to set. Mind you, this may be the longest night of your life... :wacko:

Comes out beautifully... the center ones are a bit fudgier than the outside, but they're all solid, and none are overbaked. Maybe that's a solution here?
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#13 Toliver

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 11:09 AM

...and then let it cool to room temp before you cover it in foil & toss it in the fridge overnight to set.

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I don't have the willpower to do this!
One of the greatest pleasures in life is to cut a piece of hot-from-the-oven brownies while they're still in that not-yet-set-gooey-goodness state and enjoy them with an ice cold glass of milk or perhaps some vanilla ice cream.
A friend visited once when I had just taken a batch of chocolate mint brownies out of the oven. We ate them while still hot and it was sinfully good. She often speaks about it in a wistful yet lustful manner.
Life's too short to refrigerate brownies! :laugh:

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#14 natasha1270

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 11:40 AM

I use Ina Gartens method...about midway through the baking, "rap" the pan against the oven to allow the air to escape. Perfect brownies every time. Her recipe for Outrageous Brownies is awesome!

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#15 laurenmilan

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:15 PM

I use Ina Gartens method...about midway through the baking, "rap" the pan against the oven to allow the air to escape. Perfect brownies every time. Her recipe for Outrageous Brownies is awesome!

N.

View Post


yeah, that's the recipe I use - and it does say to refrigerate the brownies afterwards... and yes, it IS impossible to not sneak in a few hours afterwards and cut away a little rectangle from the corner :wub:
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#16 eskimoted

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 02:48 PM

thanks a lot for all the ideas here. Personally, I agree with everyone who thinks that slumping is a fact of life - they taste so yummy I never have time to look at them anyway. But non-slumping was still Victoria's quest.

The change from pyrex to aluminium seems to have done the trick - also smaller pans seems to have helped a lot. It looks ike most of the fault was that of the pyrex in heating the sides too fast.

At any rate everyone is now happy - me with the taste and Victoria with the appearance!

Thanks for the great help everyone, wish I could send a sample in thanks.