Baking In Skills
Page 15
Look! Top-Only Pie Crust of Overlapping Shapes
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy) In the past 24 hours, we’ve read two articles about this technique—one from Mark Bittman in yesterday’s Times and one in Bon Appétit. Must be a trend. Both articles insist this method of pie crust is easier, but we’re not sure. Get all the details, below…The appeal is this: Instead of rolling out a pie dough and carefully transferring it to your pie plate, you skip the bottom crust altogether.
Jul 30, 2009
Food Science: Why Bread Crusts Crack
Far from being a bad thing, hairline cracks like those in the photo above are the sign of a fantastic, shatteringly-crisp crust. We’ve heard that this is something to which many bakers actually aspire! Here’s how it happens:From what we’ve gathered from our various bread books, a crunchy crust on your loaf of bread is the result of moisture and high heat during baking.
Jun 16, 2009
Quick Tip: How to Build a Make-Shift Cooling Rack
Remember how we were gathering essential cookware for a month away from our kitchen? Well, we completely forgot about potentially needing a cooling rack and a thorough search of the cupboards in our temporary housing turned up nothing. But look at our make-shift solution!First, we found an extra oven rack in one of the cupboards, but it was too flat to really lift baked goods off the counter. Looking around for something to set it on, our eye fell on our cast-iron skillet. Perfect.
Jun 11, 2009
Stop! Don’t Re-Roll Your Scraps!
Every food guru on the planet tell us that re-rerolling our scraps of dough, be it cookies, pie crusts or biscuits, won’t make for the prettiest goods. Although we all know it’s true, we usually try to weasel out a few more usable pieces. Instead of ending up with those few odd shaped outcasts, try this easy tip that will further another meal down the road…It’s a simple fact that cutting circles from square pieces of dough leaves left over bits and pieces.
Jun 8, 2009
Good Question: How To Get Sticky Things Out of Pan?
Here’s a good question from Neha. She has a dilemma we’ve all dealt with from time to time! I need help. Do you guys have any tips for taking a sticky bar/cake out of the pan? For example I made granola bars today and they are so sticky and they refuse to come out! It was a recipe that didn’t call for lining/greasing, which I sorely regretted not doing! So do you know of any handy tips in such emergency sticky situations.
May 14, 2009
Good Question: How Do I Make Just Three Muffins?
Here’s a slightly unusual question from Kathy in Australia. It might have some practical use, though, for those of you baking for just one. If you’ve ever wanted to really downsize a muffin recipe, you might find some tips here:I’ve recently been given an electric muffin maker. Trouble is that it only makes 3 muffins at a time and most muffin recipes use at least one egg to make about a dozen muffins.
Mar 17, 2009
Food Science: Why Some Batters Need to Rest
Many recipes for batter foods like crêpes and our very own Big Pancakes say to let the mixture rest briefly before proceeding to cooking. This may seem like a strange step, but there’s more going on during that rest than meets the eye…During the resting period, starch molecules in the flour are absorbing the liquid in the batter. This causes them to swell and gives the batter a thicker, more viscous consistency.
Feb 10, 2009
Use Pie Dough Cut-Outs to Top Pies
One of our favorite pies in last month’s great Best Pie Bakeoff was Deb’s Cherry Berry Pie, and this was partly because of her creative use of pie dough cut-outs to create a top crust.We like doing this too; in fact, we look forward to making our fancy shapes at the end of filling our pie crust! It’s the fun part. Deb’s pie, pre-baking.Deb’s pie, after baking.Here are a few tips for making pie cut-outs.• Make sure your dough is well chilled.
Dec 10, 2008
How To Make Whipped Chocolate Ganache
A chocolate ganache is just chocolate melted and beaten into heavy cream. It’s a magic substance; it can be a glaze, a filling, a coating, a solid truffle — it just depends on the ratio of cream to chocolate. I like a ratio of a bit more cream to chocolate for a whipped filling; this ensures that it doesn’t get too hard and difficult to spread.
Dec 9, 2008
Baker’s Techniques: How to do the Windowpane Test when Kneading Bread
The windowpane test is one of the best ways to tell if you’ve sufficiently kneaded your bread dough, though it can sound like a pretty bizarre instruction when you come across it in a recipe! Here’s what you do…First, cut off a small piece of the dough about the size of a golf ball.
Dec 1, 2008
How and When to Dock a Pie Crust
Though you may sometimes be tempted, docking a pie crust has nothing to do with chucking it off the end of a pier! Like using pie weights, this is another method used when pre-baking a pie crust and is no more complicated than pricking the crust with a fork before baking. More details after the jump…Pricking holes in the rolled-out pie dough allows the steam to escape while it’s baking.
Nov 7, 2008
Twist on Tradition: Hand Pies
There are going to be a lot of pies making their debuts on the Kitchn soon, given the holidays and our own pie baking contest that’s coming up. Just to get your creative juices flowing, we thought we’d mention the diminutive hand pie—perfect for crust-lovers…Hand pies (also called turnovers in our family) usually remind us of summer.
Oct 27, 2008
Easy Lifting: Using Aluminum Foil Liners in Cake Pans
Ever have trouble getting cakes, brownies, and bar cookies out of those square cake pans without having it crumble into a horrid mess? Here’s a quick tip we picked up from the folks over at Cook’s Illustrated…Tear off two sheets of aluminum foil long enough to line the sides and bottom of the pan with a little extra to hang over the lip. Fold each sheet so that they’re the same width as the bottom of the pan.
Sep 15, 2008
Baker’s Tricks: How to Avoid Adding Too Much Flour While Kneading
Bread bakers are a calm, serene, zen-like bunch. (Right?!)But nothing gets us more paranoid than the fear of adding too much flour: too little and we have bubble-gum dough sticking to everything, too much and we’ve got a hockey puck.Here’s a quick tip we came across recently to help us find that perfect balance!Have your extra flour in a shallow bowl next to your workspace.As the dough gets too sticky to work with, dip your palms into the flour and continue kneading. Presto!
Jun 9, 2008
Technique: How To Remove the Skins from Nuts
In our post last week on Dried Fig and Nut bars, we mentioned needing to remove the skins from the hazelnuts we were using. If left on, these skins can discolor your baked goods or make them taste bitter.These days you can find most nuts with their skins already removed. If not, it’s simple enough to do yourself. And there are actually two ways to choose from!Method #1: ToastingHeat your oven to 400-degrees.Spread the nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer.
May 19, 2008
Word of Mouth: Preferment
Preferment, noun: A combination of flour, water, and sometimes yeast that is prepared in advance (as in pre-fermentation) and then mixed into the main body of the dough as an additional ingredient.When we first started baking, this was a new technique and a new vocab word all in one. Wrapping your head around the idea of a preferment can be a little tricky at first, but well worth it for the boost in flavor and structure one provides!Making bread with a preferment gives everything a head start.
May 14, 2008
Food Science: Understanding the Maillard Reaction
Q: What do roasted meat, crusty bread, and dark beers all have in common?A: Aside from a mighty fine dinner, all three are made tastier are thanks to a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction!Curious?! Click through for more…Pronounced “my-YARD,” this reaction was first identified by Louis Camille Maillard back in 1910. He found that sugars and amino acids will react at high heats, producing a host of flavors and aromas, many of which make our mouths water.
May 13, 2008
Good Question: Help! Why Do Cupcakes Always Get Stuck In These Silicone Muffin Cups?
I received some silicone muffin cups last year as a gift (the fluted stand-alone kind that look like a muffin tin liner). I’ve tried to make several batches of cupcakes in them and every time, not one of the cupcakes has slid out easily; they all break or stick to the sides. I’ve Googled this and rarely find any reviews or blogs where people have this problem. They all swear by silicone’s non-stickiness, so I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Any thoughts?
Apr 15, 2008
Measuring: Dip and Sweep
Ever wondered why a cake recipe doesn’t come out the same every time? It could be how you’re measuring.Pastry chefs and recipe developers typically weigh ingredients to get an accurate measurement. But since most American cookbooks aren’t written by weight, and not all home cooks own scales, it’s not fair to just tell you to weigh everything. So how do you get it right?
Mar 21, 2008
Supermarket Saver: How Much to Pay for Olive Oil?
Eating consciously and minding our budgets can be a tough balancing act, especially as we all look for ways to trim down our spending as gas and food prices continue to rise. Sometimes thinking strategically can help when cutting corners won’t work.Let’s take a look at olive oils, something that we all probably use daily and that are readily available from local and artisan sources.
Feb 20, 2008
Expert Interview: Master Chocolate Maker Ray Major of Scharffen Berger
Master Chocolate Maker – that’s quite a title! How does one become a Master Chocolate Maker, and what do you do if you work all day in a chocolate factory that turns out high-quality chocolate?Read on to find out more about Ray Major, the Master Chocolate Maker at Scharffen Berger.
Feb 8, 2008
Good Question: Can I Replace Espresso Powder With Espresso?
All of the (wonderful) coffee coverage this week has reminded me of a question that’s been at the back of my mind. I run across a number of baking recipes that call for espresso powder, and I’ve yet to find it in stores. Sure, I could just order it online, but since I have an espresso machine, I was wondering: Does anyone have any tips for adding brewed espresso to recipes?
Jan 31, 2008
How To: Make Chocolate Curls
One of our favorite easy ways to make a simple dessert just a little extra special is chocolate curls. They are very, very easy, and curls and shavings add a pretty touch. Pictures and show-how below…• Grab a bar of good chocolate and a vegetable peeler. This chocolate here is El Rey, 70% cacao. This is a high amount of cacao; it won’t curl quite as well as a softer bar.• Warm the chocolate a little in your hands.
Jan 25, 2008
Lunchtime Survey: What Was Your Worst Baking Disaster?
Baking Week wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of baking disasters. We’ve had fallen cakes, burnt cakes, greasy cookies, burnt cookies, flat bread and burnt bread. (Sense a trend?) But every time we learn something and usually there’s a good story to tell too.What was your worst baking disaster? Are you up for sharing it with the crowd? Anything really spectacular?Ours started with over-ambition (baking disasters usually do).
Jan 18, 2008