Yes, You Really Can Make Your Own Brown Sugar at Home Skills
Brown sugar is the sticky, fragrant sweetener that adds moisture and flavor to so many of our favorite baked goods, from chocolate chip cookies to banana bread. But if you find yourself staring into an empty box, don’t fret — you’ve likely got everything you need to make brown sugar from scratch. So whether you need a cup or a pound, or light or dark, you’re just two ingredients away from it. Here’s how to make brown sugar at home.
The Best Cornstarch Substitutes: Here’s What to Use If You’ve Run OutSkills
Its texture can be hard to replicate, but it isn't entirely irreplaceable either.
What Is Masa and Masa Harina? Here’s What You Should Know.Skills
The key to delicious homemade tortillas, tamales, and much more is quality masa and masa harina. Here's what you should know about these foundational ingredients.
What’s the Difference Between Bleached and Unbleached Flour?Skills
The flour you choose affects your ultimate outcome. Learn how bleached versus unbleached flour makes a difference in baked goods like cookies, cakes, breads, and more.
All About Piloncillo — What You Should Know About the Latin American Staple IngredientSkills
It’s a rich yet crucial ingredient in a number of different Latin American dishes.
What Is 00 Flour — Pizza and Pasta FlourSkills
Obviously, pizza.
What’s the Correct Order for Breading Chicken?Skills
Q: When dredging chicken cutlets, do you the use flour, buttermilk, and eggs before coating in breadcrumbs? Sent by Phyllis Editor: Each element in the breading process has a purpose. When you know what each does, it’s easy to remember what order to use when breading chicken (or whatever protein you’re using). This will also help you out with substitutions when you need them. Here’s the basic method to remember: wet → dry → wet → dry.
What’s the Difference Between Whole-Wheat and White Whole-Wheat Flour?Skills
While both flours are 100 percent whole wheat, the difference is in the variety of whole wheat.
Sep 13, 2022
Cornmeal vs. Cornstarch: What's the Difference?Skills
They sound similar but are quite different.
Sep 2, 2022
16 Gluten-Free Flours (and the Best Times to Use Them)Skills
Even though the gluten-free market has come a long way, there’s still a lot to learn, if you’re trying to make the switch.
Aug 24, 2022
The Difference Between Almond Flour and Almond MealSkills
It's a subtle difference, but an important one.
Aug 24, 2022
How Are Demerara, Muscovado, and Turbinado Sugars Different?Skills
If you think sugar is just sweet, think again. Sugars like muscovado, demerara, and turbinado have flavor depths and aromatic heights that blow plain ol’ granulated sugar out of the water. Find out the differences of each kind of sugar and know their color, tastes, texture, and uses.
Aug 22, 2022
What Is the Difference Between Rice Flour and Sweet Rice Flour?Skills
Here's why you should keep both on hand.
Aug 19, 2022
How To Test If Baking Soda or Baking Powder Is ExpiredSkills
Baking soda and baking powder are both essential pantry staples for bakers. They have long shelf lives, but can they go bad? The answer is yes. Both baking soda and baking powder will eventually expire. You’ll know when they won’t give your baked goods the lift that they deserve. You might ask yourself, “How can I tell if it’s still active before I ruin my next batch of muffins?” To find out if your baking soda or powder is still effective, follow the steps below.
Jul 8, 2022
What Exactly Is Caster Sugar? Plus, How You Can Make It at Home.Skills
Here's what you should know about this special variety of sugar.
May 18, 2022
Good Question: What Can I Do With Almond Meal?Skills
Here’s a good question from Joan, who is busy cleaning out her freezer: What do I do with Trader Joe’s almond meal that I bought on impulse and stored in the freezer? I am thinking baking projects … but don’t know where to start. Almond meal, like the very well-priced stuff from Trader Joe’s, or the more spendy Bob’s Red Mill brand pictured above, is a flour-like meal made from crushed almonds.
May 12, 2022
The Best Powdered Sugar Substitutes, According to a Baking ExpertSkills
Not only is it easy to make at home, but it's also easy to substitute.
Apr 30, 2022
What Exactly Is Matzo Meal?Skills
Here's everything you need to know about this Passover staple and star of recipes like matzo ball soup.
Apr 8, 2022
How to Substitute Whole-Wheat Flours for All-Purpose FlourSkills
Our local grocery stores carry a wide variety of flours that are great for all sorts of baking projects. Among the many types of flours available are white all-purpose, white whole-wheat, and regular whole-wheat flour. Regular whole-wheat flour is made from whole wheat grains, also known as kernels, and has a recognizable tan or beige color. White all-purpose flour (aka the kind you’re probably most used to baking with) is made from only part of the wheat grain known as the endosperm.
Feb 28, 2022
Cornstarch Is the Unsung Hero of the Pantry — Here Are 5 Smart Ways to Use ItSkills
It's for way more than just pudding.
Jun 10, 2021
This Old School Tip Makes Better Looking Blueberry Muffins Skills
You'll get berries in every bite.
May 11, 2021
We Tried 5 Methods for Softening Brown Sugar and the Winner was Shockingly Simple
Skills Showdown
The winner comes from a professional pastry chef, so you know it works!
Dec 22, 2020
A Quick Guide to Ingredient SubstitutionsSkills
We’ve all faced ingredient conundrums and last-minute shortages in the kitchen. Oh no! Out of eggs! No heavy cream! Need a buttermilk substitute! Thankfully, there are a few tried-and-true substitutions you can turn to in a pinch. These can also be helpful if you’re trying to modify a recipe out of dietary necessity (shifting it to be dairy or gluten-free, for example). This guide will help get you started.
Dec 10, 2020
Why I Can’t Stop Reaching For Chickpea Flour
Taste Makers
Trust me — you'll use it way more than you might think.
Nov 17, 2020
The $13 Splurge That Makes So Many Foods Taste BetterSkills
No, literally everything — you can even use it in spaghetti sauce, Buddy.
Sep 21, 2020
What’s the Difference Between All-Purpose Flour and Bread Flour?Skills
Professional bakeries are packed full of flour varieties — whole-wheat, rye, spelt, and more — but most grocers sell a smaller variety of all-purpose, self-rising, and bread flours. If all-purpose flour, as its name suggests, is good enough for most baking projects, then why do many bread, pizza dough, and even some cookie recipes call for bread flour?
Sep 9, 2020
A Simple Way to Soften Hard Brown Sugar in a HurrySkills
What do you do when you pull out the container of brown sugar and it’s a perfectly formed, rock-hard brick? This happened to me the other day, which sent me on the hunt for some effective solutions. Here’s one that worked in a matter of minutes. If you have time to spare, putting a slice of bread or some apple slices on top of the sugar, sealing it up, and letting it sit for a day are a couple hands-off ways to soften brown sugar.
May 1, 2020
Out of Granulated Sugar? Here’s What to Use Instead.Skills
No sugar? No problem! These smart substitutions are already in your kitchen.
Apr 28, 2020
Out of All-Purpose Flour? Here's What to Use Instead.Skills
Yes, you can still bake if you're out of all-purpose flour.
Apr 28, 2020
The $2 Pantry Staple That Keeps Powdered Sugar from Melting
Your baked goods will look prettier, longer.
Apr 9, 2020
What’s the Best Substitute for Baking Soda?Skills
Answer: The solution is already in your pantry.
Mar 19, 2020
The Secret to Better Pancakes? Rest the Batter.
Tips from The Kitchn
You don't even have to do any extra work.
Jan 2, 2020
Your Flour Has a Shelf Life and It May Be Shorter than You ThinkSkills
When it comes to baking bread, you’ve got a few different flour options. In addition to the regular suspects on your grocery store shelves — notably all-purpose and bread flours — the recent renaissance of stone-milled flours has added greater choice and complexity to this essential bread decision. And if you opt for the stone-milled stuff, or any whole-wheat flour, different rules of storage and shelf-life apply.
Dec 17, 2019
When It Comes to Bread, Less (Flour) Is MoreSkills
When people who know about bread talk about bread, they often talk about ratios. A common ratio for bread is five to three, which importantly refers to weight (not cup) measurements — so 500 grams of flour to 300 grams of water, for example. But according to Adam Leonti, baker-in-chief at Brooklyn Bread Lab, less flour is more, or rather more water is more, if your goal is to make bread with big, beautiful holes.
Dec 17, 2019
Good Bread Takes Time (a Whole Lot of Precious Time)Skills
You know that George Harrison song I’ve Got My Mind Set on You? It goes something like, “It’s gonna take time, a whole lot of precious time / It’s gonna take patience and time / To do it, to do it, to do it right.” I may have left out a few “to do its,” but you get the idea. The point is: Harrison may as well have been singing about bread. So how long should bread take?
Dec 17, 2019
The Finishing Touch That Perfects Pies, Muffins, Scones, and Quick Breads
One-Ingredient Upgrade
This is *much* better than regular sugar.
Sep 11, 2019
Everything You Need to Know About Toasting SugarSkills
It's the secret to better baked goods.
Jun 26, 2019
What’s the Deal With: Whole Wheat White Flour?Skills
[This tip comes from a reader named Laura.] It’s been a year or two since I first heard of white wheat bread, and I’ll admit I immediately assumed it was just a marketing ploy based on tiny print and asterisks. Not true. White whole wheat flour is making a good run at becoming part of mainstream American baking.
Jun 6, 2019
Good Question: Pastry Flour vs. Cake FlourSkills
Dear Kitchen,I’m confused about the difference between pastry flour and cake flour? Can I use them interchangeably?Thanks,Rita (To All Good Questions)Dear Rita,It all has to do with protein.Pastry flour contains 8.5% – 9.5% protein, which is low relative to all purpose (10% – 12% protein) and bread flour (12% – 13% protein). It is used in delicate cakes and pastries, pie crusts, cookies and muffins. . Absorbs less liquid in recipes.
Jun 6, 2019
A Complete Guide to Storing Your FlourSkills
A lot has changed in the world of flours since I was a child. The shelves that used to hold just all-purpose, bread, and cake flour are now groaning with flours milled from seeds, nuts, and grains. What’s the best way to store all these flours, and how long do they last? We spoke to Susan Reid of King Arthur Flour and Cassidy Stockton of Bob’s Red Mill, and they helped us compile this guide on the different categories of flours, where to store them, and their shelf lives.
Jun 5, 2019
Good Question: Miniature Candied Apples and Sugar SyrupSkills
Inspired by these candied apples, Sarah had a charming idea: miniature candied apple bites. But she ran into a problem, and needs some help. She writes:So all the talk of candied apples had me excited to put my own spin on them. I cater baked goods for businesses here in Kansas City, and I wanted to add something seasonally hip and fun. So I chose to try a mini-candied apple. I used a melon baller and cut balls out of each apple.
Jun 5, 2019
Gluten-Free Baking: How to Make An Easy Flour SubstituteSkills
As holiday baking projects take over my kitchen, I find myself thinking of friends and family with gluten intolerance who might not be looking at this time of year so favorably. I caught up with Geri Peacock of the gluten-free Cherbourg Bakery in Columbus, Ohio to ask for some expert advice. Here’s her recommendation for a flour substitute that’s simple to make and even easier to use.
Jun 4, 2019
Food Science: Why Some Flour Gets Bleached and BromatedSkills
After listening to Evan Kleinman’s talk with Cindy Mushet about flour on the Good Food show this past week, we were left thinking about bleached and unbleached flour. Mushet is insistent that unbleached flour is best, and that made us wonder why it started getting bleached in the first place…Fresh flour straight from the mill isn’t actually quite ready to be used in baking and actually improves with a little aging.
Jun 4, 2019
Food Science: How Sugar “Cooks”Skills
We all know that sugar will melt when heated, losing its granular form and turning into a liquid. This we can see with our own eyes. But how it goes from a simple sugar syrup to dark caramel (to burnt mess!) requires a peek under the microscope…Think of a pan of cooking sugar as made up of hundreds and thousands of molecules. Just like any other food, the molecules that make up sugar begin to break down under high heat or prolonged exposure to heat.
Jun 4, 2019
Cauliflower Flour Is the Latest in Alternative Low-Carb BakingSkills
Cauliflower flour is here to make all your low-carb, gluten-free baked goods an (easier) reality. It’s a fantastic development that will be great for Paleo and keto dieters, people who don’t eat gluten, and anyone who wants to cut down on carbs in their baking. It is, however, driving me absolutely bonkers today, because every time I say the words “cauliflower flour,” the conversation devolves into a Who’s on First-style comedy routine.
May 30, 2019
A Complete Visual Guide to 11 Different Kinds of SugarSkills
How well do you know your sugar varieties? What’s the difference between turbinado and demerara? Is caster sugar the same as powdered sugar? From white sugar to cane sugar to rich brown sugar, here are 11 sugar varieties you need to know, plus our favorite ways to use them. When you think about sugar, the first thing that probably comes to mind is sweetness. And while it does sweeten baked goods, savory dishes, and drinks, the uses for sugar are many.
May 30, 2019
Are Vital Wheat Gluten and Wheat Gluten the Same Thing?Skills
Q: Are vital wheat gluten and wheat gluten the same thing? A bread recipe specifically calls for ‘Vital Wheat Gluten.’ My neighborhood mill only has ‘Wheat Gluten’. They could not tell me if there is a difference. Sent by Dan Editor: Yes, the two names are used interchangeably. Sometimes seitan is also called wheat gluten because it is made from vital wheat gluten, water, and spices, but when talking about bread recipes, vital wheat gluten flour is what is used.
May 30, 2019
How Do I Keep Dry Ingredients from Flying out of the Mixer Bowl?Skills
Q: When adding dry ingredients to wet with the mixer on low speed, the flour sprays over the mixer as well as the counter and floor. I purchased the guard and have it snapped onto the rim of the bowl. Any other suggestions to help prevent the mess? Sent by Sharon Editor: There’s actually an easy fix to keep your dry ingredients from making a mess after you turn the mixer on! Just drape a kitchen towel over the bowl before you turn it on.
May 30, 2019
The Best Microwave Popcorn Is Made from Sprouted Corn KernelsSkills
What: To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. Read the series → Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four Love really good popcorn, but don’t want to take the time to make it the old-fashioned way? Use sprouted corn kernels in place of conventional popping corn, and you can achieve popcorn perfection with the convenience of your microwave. Here’s how to do it. The keys to great popcorn are the multiple mini-explosions created when heat turns the moisture in each kernel into steam.
May 30, 2019
How to Caramelize SugarSkills
here was a good bit of chatter on the weekend open thread about how to caramelize sugar. Readers really came through for one another with some great tips. Of course, the technique depends on what you’re using the caramel for, so care should be taken to note in your recipe what kind of caramel is called for. For example, the caramel needed for caramel candies is much less cooked than what’s needed for spun sugar.
May 3, 2019
The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking PowderSkills
Baking soda, baking powder – what’s the difference? Both are white powders, odorless and nearly indistinguishable. Yet both help your baked goods to rise. Without them (or another leavener like yeast or beaten egg whites) all of our breads and cakes would be very flat and dense. We were curious about why recipes call for one over the other, and we went on a hunt to find out. Baking soda is also known by its chemist term: sodium bicarbonate.
May 3, 2019
What’s the Difference? Blue Corn Meal vs. HarinillaSkills
Thanks for all the excellent blue cornmeal recipe suggestions, everyone! We think we’ll save it for something fun for the Fourth of July–stay tuned…As we were reading over the tortilla recipe on our bag of cornmeal, we noticed that the recipe called the flour “harinilla.”At first, we assumed that this was a Spanish term for blue cornmeal, but when we were looking up recipes, we learned that there’s actually a significant difference!
May 3, 2019
Why You Should Probably Be Storing Your Whole-Grain Flours in the FreezerSkills
Let’s just say you were unable to resist the temptation of the bulk bin aisle, and you’ve arrived home with a half-dozen baggies filled with everything from quinoa flour to einkorn. These things happen, but not to worry, because you have plans — big plans! — for baking all sorts of wondrous things in the coming weeks. Okay, you eager-beaver baker, you — do you know where you should be storing all your lovely bags of whole-grain flour until your schedule clears?
May 3, 2019
What’s the Deal with Blackstrap Molasses?Skills
As the star ingredient in cookies, cakes, and other holiday baking, molasses really gets its heyday this time of year! But not all kinds can be used interchangeably, particularly blackstrap molasses…Molasses is the dark, sticky syrup left behind after the sugar has been boiled out of cane and beet juices. This is done in several stages, which yield light, dark, and eventually blackstrap molasses as all the sugar is gradually extracted and the syrup is cooked down.
May 3, 2019
Blogging Cook’s Illustrated: Quick and Easy Sugar SubstitutesSkills
This time of year, we often come across recipes that call for sugars we don’t normally use or remember to keep stocked, like superfine or confectioner sugars. What to do if you find yourself short? The good folks from Cook’s Illustrated have a few ideas…Here are the suggestions from Cook’s Illustrated for sugar substitutes using regular granulated sugar:For Superfine Sugar – Run one cup plus 2 teaspoons of white sugar in the food processor for 30 seconds.
May 3, 2019
What’s the Difference Between Cake Flour, Pastry Flour, All-Purpose Flour, and Bread FlourSkills
If you make bread every weekend or have an obsession with cakes, it makes sense to keep specific flours for those recipes on hand. But what about the rest of us? Is there such a big difference between these flours or can all-purpose flour really be used for all purposes? First, what’s actually the same about all these flours is that they are made from wheat.
May 3, 2019
Food Science: What is Self-Rising Flour?Skills
We’ve been keeping an eye out for good products to recommend for folks wanting to tackle baking this year. The idea of self-rising flour seemed promising at first, but it didn’t end up being quite what we thought…As it turns out, flour being marketed as “self-rising” (or “self-raising,” as it is called in the UK) is simply regular flour with baking powder added. The ratio of ingredients is usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of flour.
May 3, 2019
What’s the Difference? Flour, Cornstarch, Potato Starch, and ArrowrootSkills
Last week, we talked about how starches are used to thicken sauces, puddings, pie fillings, and soups like the one above. This week, we’ll check out the different kinds of starches that get used in cooking and why you might choose to use one over the other…Starches can vary widely in terms of how quickly they thicken, how much they thicken, the quality of the thickening, and their flavor after thickening.
May 2, 2019
Good Question: Help Me Find a Flour ContainerSkills
Sheri is looking for a good flour canister. Can you help? I am completely hooked on Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (which I originally spotted on your site). I haven’t bought bread at a store in two months now, which is amazing considering I have an 8-month-old and work full time. My newfound love has required that I acquire some new kitchen tools. I’ve found most things I need, but I can’t for the life of me find a flour canister that will work.
May 2, 2019
What Can I Do With White Whole Wheat Flour?Skills
Q: I tried the Hearty and Healthy Apple Muffins (which were delicious) but now I have leftover white whole wheat flour.I normally use all purpose but was hoping for some more recipe ideas for white whole wheat flour? Specifically desserts?Sent by AmandaEditor: Amanda, here’s a great post on substituting white whole wheat flour:• Good Question: Subsituting White Whole Wheat FlourReaders, what recipes do you think would be best for a white whole wheat flour substitution?
May 2, 2019
Here’s How You Can Sift Flour Without a SifterSkills
Sifting is a way to lighten flour that’s gotten packed down in a bag during storage and shipping. It’s also useful for mixing dry ingredients together and making sure there aren’t any stubborn clumps. You don’t need a fancy sifter (though they’re great fun!), but a few basic kitchen tools you probably already have.The simplest way we know to sift flour is to dump it into a strainer over our mixing bowl.
May 2, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: Dark Brown Muscovado Brown SugarSkills
By now we are all aware that most brand name brown sugar is actually white sugar with the molasses added back in. And dark brown sugar is the same thing, just with a little more molasses. But what about those extra dark, artisanal brown sugars? Are they worth the extra cash? And what exactly is muscovado sugar? What is muscovado sugar? Simply put, this is an unrefined cane sugar in which the molasses is not removed.
May 2, 2019
Grain Mills: A Good Investment?Skills
We never even considered milling our own grain until we started doing a lot more multi-grain baking and cooking. Those quinoa and spelt flours get expensive! It sure would be nice to buy the whole-grains or nuts for these flours in bulk and grind them ourselves at home. Do any of you do this?We’ve been using our food processor to do some very basic milling. Pour in the nut or grain, give it a few good pulses, and manage to get a fairly decent flour.
May 2, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: Buckwheat FlourSkills
While we haven’t given up on making our own soba noodles, we do have almost an entire bag of leftover buckwheat flour just begging to be used in creative and interesting ways. We’ve had whole buckwheat groats a few times, but we have less experience with the ground flour. Any suggestions?The challenge with buckwheat flour is two-fold. First, it has a fairly strong, bitter flavor that can easily overwhelm a recipe.
May 2, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: KinakoSkills
A New Year’s tradition in Japan is eating warm, freshly pounded mochi under a thick dusting of a toasted soybean flour called kinako. Pounding mochi probably deserves to be a once-a-year task, but eating kinako shouldn’t be. Toasty and nutritious, it is as good baked into quick breads as it is sprinkled on toast, with a comforting flavor reminiscent of peanut butter.
May 2, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: Turbinado SugarSkills
I just finished a week-long baking class in San Francisco where we focused on how certain ingredients function in any given recipe. Sugar came up often as more and more people are experimenting with natural sugars instead of white, refined sugar. But I left the class wondering: is brown sugar really better for you? Is Turbinado sugar an even better choice? When it comes right down to it, brown sugar and Turbinado sugar are both still sugar.
May 2, 2019
Gluten-Free Flour Substitutes: Which One Is Your Favorite?Skills
Replacing wheat flour with a gluten-free substitute is not nearly so simple or straightforward as we would like. No other flour can singlehandedly duplicate all the characteristics we love in wheat, but blending several different flours together can get mighty close. What’s your favorite gluten-free flour mix?We think buying a pre-blended mix is a good way to go if you’re just starting out or bake infrequently.
May 2, 2019