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Baking 101


Chris Amirault
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I am saying that...IF the style of ganache matches your need. You wouldn't want to fill a cake with a pourable ganache, right? But sometimes you want a smoother finish on your cake which a spreadable ganache might not achieve. To be honest, the pourable ganache is mostly a lazy response on my part when I don't want to work hard at the finish. Instead of worrying about sharp edges or perfect sides, I just pour and have a shiny pretty finish. But beyond that distinction, I play with all sorts of ratios to get firmer or thinner. I think about things like temperature and how it will effect the hardness of the ganache. An example there is I made a vegan cake recently that I coated with a water based ganache. I needed to chill it because I had to make a bit earlier than I would have liked (holiday baking schedule backup). I had to make sure it was a bit looser so it didn't become a rock and uncutable. Anyway, lot's of things to think about but really no major disasters are possible. And you always get to eat your mistakes.

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Hahaha, luckily I've got a lot of dessert loving people around me. Though I don't think anyone can beat me, I have to watch what I eat :-(

And what I do now is make the ganache for the filling when the cake's in the oven itself, pop it into the fridge, and make the other one way later. That way they are both perfect consistency. I pour, it's just so easy, and I haven't really perfected my spatula skills. I make this spiderweb thing on top, and it looks so professional. Go me! Yayy for the internet. I've learnt every single baking skill from it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just made these cookies from an old issue of Martha Stewart. For the most part the recipe reads as I would expect a cookie recipe to read, but after creaming the butter and sugars, and whisking together all the dry ingredients (except for the baking soda), the recipe says:

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture.

Why would the baking soda be activated prior to adding it to the recipe? It didn't make sense to me, so I skipped this step and whisked the baking soda in with the rest of the dry ingredients. The cookies turned out fine, as far as I'm concerned. Would they have been better had I followed this step?

Has anyone ever seen similar instruction before? Is there a reason for it?

Edited by emmalish (log)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Bread question:

If I shape my loaf for the 2nd rising and accidentially let it over-rise, can I punch the dough back down, re-shape and let it rise again with no loss of quality?? Will the 2nd second rsing happen faster?

Thanks!

Although I see your question was posted on December 1st and I'm sure you've fixed the problem by now, I guess I'll just answer for posterity's sake.

Yes, if your bread overproofs, punch it down, re-shape, and re-proof. As far as the time it takes to re-proof, it will most likely be about the same time as the failed proof. Once you do your first bulk fermentation (in the big bowl/container, etc.) and punch it down to let the gas out, it also serves to redistribute the live yeast through the dough. Additional risings/proofings won't get you a significant increase in proofing time.

In other words, if I do first fermentation / second fermentation / shape & proof, it would probably go something like: 60 minutes / 35-40 minutes / 25-30 minutes. Of course, it also depends on how hot and how humid your kitchen is.

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Hi Emmalish, The only other time I'd seen the instruction to stir the leavening in at the end is for red velvet cake (Jaymes's version to be exact). I actually still don't really know the explanation but I did it as indicated anyway. However, for this cookie dough in particular, the possible explanation I'm thinking of is that it prevents bitterness/soapiness from uneven distribution of soda into a thick batter (such as gingerbread). However, I make my gingerbread the usual way and it turns out fine. I'd probably even go so far as to cream my butter with it (thanks, eGullet!) since it doesn't matter at what point you add it (as it is a resting dough).

I just made these cookies from an old issue of Martha Stewart. For the most part the recipe reads as I would expect a cookie recipe to read, but after creaming the butter and sugars, and whisking together all the dry ingredients (except for the baking soda), the recipe says:
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture.

Why would the baking soda be activated prior to adding it to the recipe? It didn't make sense to me, so I skipped this step and whisked the baking soda in with the rest of the dry ingredients. The cookies turned out fine, as far as I'm concerned. Would they have been better had I followed this step?

Has anyone ever seen similar instruction before? Is there a reason for it?

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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i've seen this type of instruction in several gingerbread recipes. it could be because the baking soda is being used for browning rather than leavening (to get that dark gingerbread coloring). so, it is activated ahead of time rather than being allowed to react with any acid in the recipe (molasses, brown sugar, etc.)

Hi Emmalish, The only other time I'd seen the instruction to stir the leavening in at the end is for red velvet cake (Jaymes's version to be exact). I actually still don't really know the explanation but I did it as indicated anyway. However, for this cookie dough in particular, the possible explanation I'm thinking of is that it prevents bitterness/soapiness from uneven distribution of soda into a thick batter (such as gingerbread). However, I make my gingerbread the usual way and it turns out fine. I'd probably even go so far as to cream my butter with it (thanks, eGullet!) since it doesn't matter at what point you add it (as it is a resting dough).
I just made these cookies from an old issue of Martha Stewart. For the most part the recipe reads as I would expect a cookie recipe to read, but after creaming the butter and sugars, and whisking together all the dry ingredients (except for the baking soda), the recipe says:
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture.

Why would the baking soda be activated prior to adding it to the recipe? It didn't make sense to me, so I skipped this step and whisked the baking soda in with the rest of the dry ingredients. The cookies turned out fine, as far as I'm concerned. Would they have been better had I followed this step?

Has anyone ever seen similar instruction before? Is there a reason for it?

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i've seen this type of instruction in several gingerbread recipes.  it could be because the baking soda is being used for browning rather than leavening (to get that dark gingerbread coloring).  so, it is activated ahead of time rather than being allowed to react with any acid in the recipe (molasses, brown sugar, etc.)
Hi Emmalish, The only other time I'd seen the instruction to stir the leavening in at the end is for red velvet cake (Jaymes's version to be exact). I actually still don't really know the explanation but I did it as indicated anyway. However, for this cookie dough in particular, the possible explanation I'm thinking of is that it prevents bitterness/soapiness from uneven distribution of soda into a thick batter (such as gingerbread). However, I make my gingerbread the usual way and it turns out fine. I'd probably even go so far as to cream my butter with it (thanks, eGullet!) since it doesn't matter at what point you add it (as it is a resting dough).

Thanks, both of you! I'd never seen this instruction in a recipe before and was completely thrown. Especially since it's the only leavener listed. Like I said, I just whisked it in with my dry ingredients and it turned out fine. I'm not even sure it would be worth trying it the other way to compare. I'm happy with them as-is. (oh, and I'd definitely recommend the recipe – lovely combination of chocolate and spices)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Bread question:

If I shape my loaf for the 2nd rising and accidentially let it over-rise, can I punch the dough back down, re-shape and let it rise again with no loss of quality?? Will the 2nd second rsing happen faster?

Thanks!

Although I see your question was posted on December 1st and I'm sure you've fixed the problem by now, I guess I'll just answer for posterity's sake.

Yes, if your bread overproofs, punch it down, re-shape, and re-proof. As far as the time it takes to re-proof, it will most likely be about the same time as the failed proof. Once you do your first bulk fermentation (in the big bowl/container, etc.) and punch it down to let the gas out, it also serves to redistribute the live yeast through the dough. Additional risings/proofings won't get you a significant increase in proofing time.

In other words, if I do first fermentation / second fermentation / shape & proof, it would probably go something like: 60 minutes / 35-40 minutes / 25-30 minutes. Of course, it also depends on how hot and how humid your kitchen is.

Thanks! I haven't had a chance to make more bread so your answer is still very timely for me. Being able to over proof the dough sometimes, on purpose, actually may help me. My DH works late alot and I could now make the dough earlier in the evening, let it rise willy-nilly, and then punch, re-shape, rise again and bake in the time it takes him to call me he's leaving work and him being ready to eat dinner at home (it's an hour drive). Perfect!

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Bread question:

If I shape my loaf for the 2nd rising and accidentially let it over-rise, can I punch the dough back down, re-shape and let it rise again with no loss of quality?? Will the 2nd second rsing happen faster?

Thanks!

Although I see your question was posted on December 1st and I'm sure you've fixed the problem by now, I guess I'll just answer for posterity's sake.

Yes, if your bread overproofs, punch it down, re-shape, and re-proof. As far as the time it takes to re-proof, it will most likely be about the same time as the failed proof. Once you do your first bulk fermentation (in the big bowl/container, etc.) and punch it down to let the gas out, it also serves to redistribute the live yeast through the dough. Additional risings/proofings won't get you a significant increase in proofing time.

In other words, if I do first fermentation / second fermentation / shape & proof, it would probably go something like: 60 minutes / 35-40 minutes / 25-30 minutes. Of course, it also depends on how hot and how humid your kitchen is.

Thanks! I haven't had a chance to make more bread so your answer is still very timely for me. Being able to over proof the dough sometimes, on purpose, actually may help me. My DH works late alot and I could now make the dough earlier in the evening, let it rise willy-nilly, and then punch, re-shape, rise again and bake in the time it takes him to call me he's leaving work and him being ready to eat dinner at home (it's an hour drive). Perfect!

while i agree, for the most part, with tino's answer, i will add a couple of considerations:

it might depend on what kind of bread you're making, the amount of yeast might affect the number of possible risings. you could easily exhaust your yeast the first time and not get a significant rise the second time, thus ending up with a dense bread.

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while i agree, for the most part, with tino's answer, i will add a couple of considerations:

it might depend on what kind of bread you're making, the amount of yeast might affect the number of possible risings.  you could easily exhaust your yeast the first time and not get a significant rise the second time, thus ending up with a dense bread.

While I stupidly didn't say it in my first post/question, that was my base concern... would I exhaust the yeast if I overproofed it and end up with a brick. I've overproofed just twice, by accident and not to a huge extent, and I baked the loaves as they were. They were fine but sloppy looking at best as they somewhat deflated when I took the plastic wrap off and moved the pans into the oven. Hence my question. I guess the next time I overproof I'll just have to try re-shaping and see what happens.

If I go for a deliberate overproof to accommondate a timing issue, then I'll try to remember to add a dash more yeast and sugar..... yes?

I make basic bread. Rye mostly, then white, and then wheat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have an egg white question:

I've got 13 egg whites to use up. I've tossed them all in a ziploc baggy in the freezer. How long are they good for? And do frozen whites significantly affect how meringues turn out?

Also, I'm thinking of baking an angel food cake with some of the whites. Can I use a bundt pan, or do I need to buy an angel food cake pan?

Thanks!

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Also, I'm thinking of baking an angel food cake with some of the whites.  Can I use a bundt pan, or do I need to buy an angel food cake pan?

The cake will bake just fine, but it will be very difficult to remove it in one piece from a bundt pan.

Ideally, you want a plain round tube pan with a removable bottom. Most will have legs or a tube that extend past the outer edge of the pan. This lets you cool the cake upside down and prevent it from collapsing while still warm.

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  • 1 month later...

Ok, I have active dry yeast (Red Star) and instant (Fleischman's) in my freezer. A bunch of it. I've been using the instant more than the active dry, because I'm using my bread machine at least once a week. Well, my little in-current-use jar of instant (actually a recycled bread machine yeast jar) was getting low, so I wanted to replenish it from my frozen stocks. However, I have one container of yeast that I failed to label, so I'm not at all sure whether it's instant or active dry. Is there any sure way to tell the difference, maybe by proofing a small amount of each? I do have labeled active dry and labeled instant to compare.

Thanks!

Tracy

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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Ok, I have active dry yeast (Red Star) and instant (Fleischman's) in my freezer.  A bunch of it.  I've been using the instant more than the active dry, because I'm using my bread machine at least once a week.  Well, my little in-current-use jar of instant (actually a recycled bread machine yeast jar) was getting low, so I wanted to replenish it from my frozen stocks.  However, I have one container of yeast that I failed to label, so I'm not at all sure whether it's instant or active dry.  Is there any sure way to tell the difference, maybe by proofing a small amount of each?  I do have labeled active dry and labeled instant to compare.

Thanks!

Tracy

I might be mistaken, but I always thought that instant had smaller grains than the active dry.

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I might be mistaken, but I always thought that instant had smaller grains than the active dry.

I can't tell a difference, to tell the truth, between the instant and active dry. I was hoping to see a difference, so I could tell what was in the mystery container, but...

Thanks, though!

Tracy

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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  • 8 months later...

Hello friend,

I have learned some good recipes and basic tips of cheese cakes from dianasdesserts.com/..so if you want you can go through it..I have tried it's lemon cheese cake..it was nice and I got some good tips also..

I will suggest you to start from some simple dish..Don't try something typical because typical dishes needs a bit experience,so try some simple cheese cake dishes like basic cream cheesecake which I started cooking..

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/4 c. butter

2 tbsp. sugar

How to cook:

Mix together and put in 9x13 pan.

Cream 3 (8 oz.) packages softened cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until light. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg. Add a speck of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat well. Pour into pan. Bake at 375 degrees 1/2 hour.

Beat: 2 tbsp. sugar 1 pt. sour cream

Spread on cake and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Regards,

Nelson

Cake Favor Boxes

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  • 10 months later...

I make brownies under the following conditions:

Baked in foil 1/2-size catering pans (approx 10 x 11).

Baked at 350 degrees.

Without nuts they go for 31 minutes.

Here's my delimma. I didn't know that I have to add time to the baking if I add nuts. After producing a batch of gooey undercooked brownies I now know. I am sprinkling 1/3 cup of pecan pieces on top of the batter. How much time should I add to compensate for the pecans on top?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Sprinkling some nuts on top shouldn't have taken them from perfect to way undercooked, all else being equal. If your batter, oven temp and bake time are consistent, the results should be consistent within a small margin... nuts or no nuts. If you were adding so many nuts that it was basically a thin network of cake holding nuts together, that would be different, but 1/3 c. of nuts sprinkled over a 10x11 area shouldn't cause any problems.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I've heard of Brownies altering the perception of the passage of time.

But that would be eating them, rather than baking them.

Sure those were nuts?

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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