Baking facts

July 14, 2009 RENU

  1. Eggs play an imp role in transforming liquid batters to cake, etc. Protein in eggs coagulates during baking as the temp increases & becomes firm, which is what gives shape to baked goods.
  2. Egg proteins are very sensitive to heat. Yolks begin to coagulate at 149ºF/65ºC & whites @ 140ºF/60ºC. If cooked long @ high temp, become tough & rubbery. To keep crustless quiches tender/get custards set but still remain silky, cook in “brain-marie” i.e bake in h20 surrounded bath to insulate from direct heat.
  3. Separate yolks from whites & stir yolks into the batter along with their liquid. Beat whites till light & fluffy, fold into batter at the last minute to lift the batter, though how much depends on what other ingredients are in your recipe. Heavier ingredients, such as oatmeal, will lessen the egg whites’ leavening effect. So more egg white need to be incorporated for extra lift.
  4. When eggs only are used as leaveners, try lightening the batter itself by using APF+cake & pastry flours so less gluten developed & batter rises more easily.
  5. Baking soda & powder release CO2, which gives fluffiness. For recipes that tend to be dense, chewy, these are not used.
  6. Creaming butter & sugar rather than melting it, adds air pockets to batter, which inflate as you cook & create light texture. For denser ones, just melt.
  7. Bain marie- French term for a dish that’s surrounded by a water bath & baked in the oven.
  8. If allergic to milk, substitute carbonated beverage such as ginger ale which cause air bubbles.
  9. Shortening- makes breads moist & tender.
  10. A high oven temp quickly converts any moisture present to steam, a very powerful natural leaven.
  11. When baking soda added to moist, acidic banana/pumpkin breads, CO2 released quickly & would escape by the time batter is mixed together. So better avoid baking soda.
  12. Angel food cake- Unique b’cos contain beaten egg whites for leavening & no fat used. Without the fat, there’s no tenderizing effect on the batter & the gluten develops more easily, which can rslt in a gummy mixture. So imp to use low gluten flours like cake flour/cake+pastry flours. Also sugar has strong effect on volume of finished product as it rises the temp @ which batter sets, giving cake extra rising time before its structure firms. Since stretches batter extensively, sugar contributes to cake’s very tender texture.

Entry Filed under: Kitchen science

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