Archive for the 'Baking Tips' Category

Recipe: Now we’re talkin’………………

|June 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –

don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"

A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"

A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"

A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"

A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"

A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.

I hope this helps – and don't be afraid to ask if you want to know something!

Recipe: COCOA: Dutch Process VS Regular

|March 27, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Substitution for 3 tablespoons (18 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa:

3 tablespoons (18 grams) natural cocoa powder plus pinch (1/8 teaspoon) baking sodaSubstitution for 3 tablespoons (18 grams)

 

natural cocoa: 3 tablespoons (18 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

 

Note: Due to the differences between natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, do not substitute one for the other in recipes.

 


Note: Do not confuse unsweetened natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powder with sweetened cocoa drink mixes. They are not the same thing.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids. Its delicate flavor makes it ideal in baked goods like European cakes and pastries where its subtle flavor complements other ingredients.

 

Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder tastes very bitter and gives a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods. Its intense flavor makes it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes. When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven. When used alone in cakes, cocoa powder imparts a full rich chocolate flavor and dark color.

 

Cocoa powder can also be used in recipes with other chocolates (unsweetened or dark) and this combination produces a cake with a more intense chocolate flavor than if the cocoa wasn't present.

 

Most recipes call for sifting the cocoa powder with the flour but to bring out its full flavor it can be combined with a small amount of boiling water. (If you want to try this in a recipe, substitute some of the liquid in the recipe for boiling water.)

Often times, you may notice that more butter and leavening agent are used in recipes containing cocoa powder. This is to offset cocoa powder's drying and strengthening affect in cakes.

 

There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-

processed and it is best to use the type specified in the recipe as the leavening agent used is dependent on the type of cocoa powder.

Some prefer using Dutch-processed cocoa as a slight bitterness may be tasted in cakes using natural cocoa and baking soda.

 


To convert a cake recipe that uses bittersweet or semisweet chocolate to one using cocoa:


Substitute 1 tablespoon plus 1 3/4 teaspoons (9.5 grams) of cocoa, 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (14.5 grams) granulated white sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) unsalted butter for every ounce (28 grams) of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Also, dissolve the cocoa in at least 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot liquid to bring out the cocoa's full flavor.

 

To convert a cake recipes that uses unsweetened chocolate to one using cocoa:


Substitute 3 tablespoons (18 grams) cocoa plus 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter for every 1 ounce (28 grams) of unsweetened chocolate. Dissolve the cocoa in at least 2 tablespoons of liquid in the recipe to bring out the cocoa's full flavor.

Recipe: Successful Cake Baking

|March 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

HELPFUL TIPS AND INFORMATION

 


There is a lot that you can do to ensure that your cake-making experiences can be more fun and more enriching. Beyond the basic ingredients, the following tips and information will help to you to make and enjoy better cakes than ever!

 

 


INGREDIENTS


· Whenever possible, try to invest in the best chocolate, fruit fillings, nuts etc., that you can afford at the time. You'll be sure to taste – and enjoy – the difference if you start with the best ingredients. The little extra that you spend on better ingredients will always pay off.


· You'll be sure to taste – and enjoy – the difference if you start with the best ingredients. The little extra that you spend on better ingredients will always pay off.


· Butter always gives cakes the best flavor. Remember that for whatever the occasion, a good cake is a treat!

 

 


PREPARATION and MIXING


· Prepare all the necessary ingredients beforehand.


· Before mixing the batter, prepare the pans, heat the oven to the proper cooking temperature, and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.


· Have all ingredients ready and at room temperature for best results.


· Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, or for as long as the recipe directs.


· Always sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices to avoid lumps.


· To speed up the softening of cold butter, slice it thinly and let stand for about 10 minutes.


· Toss nuts, raisins and fruits into the batter last to avoid color bleeding.


· Scrape sides and bottom of bowl frequently with a rubber spatula during mixing.


· Spread batter evenly in pans.

 

 


BAKING


· Preheat oven 10-15 minutes before you plan to use it to allow time for it to heat to baking temperature.


· Generously grease the inside of your pan with solid vegetable shortening. Use a pastry brush to spread shortening evenly, making sure all inside surfaces are well covered. Then dust the pan with flour, tapping out any excess. If any shiny spots remain, touch them up with more shortening and flour, or use vegetable pan spray.


· Position pans as near to the center of the oven as possible. Pans should not touch the sides of the oven or each other.


· Test your cakes for doneness while they're still in the oven. Due to differences in individual oven controls, be sure to test your cake for doneness according to package or recipe directions. A cake is done when the sides shrink slightly away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, with nothing sticking to it.


· Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before loosening the edge and turning it out onto a wired rack to cool.


· To remove a cake easily from a pan, place double thickness paper towel over wire rack. The towel prevents the wire bars from breaking the crust or leaving imprints on top of cake. A clean oven rack or refrigerator shelf can be used for larger layers. Place covered rack over the top of the cake and then invert the cake and rack at least one hour before decorating. Then brush loose crumbs off cake.

 

 


FROSTING


· Chill the cake between the filling and the frosting. The cake will be much easier to work with.


· Apply a thin layer of frosting to the cake then refrigerate until it is set before applying the final, heavier layer of frosting. This will seal in the crumbs, ensuring a clean final appearance.

 

 


GENERAL HELPS


If the cake rose unevenly in the oven:


· The flour was not blended sufficiently into the main mixture.


· The temperature inside the oven was uneven.


· The oven temperature was too high.

 


If the batter overflowed the pans:


· Make sure you used the right size pan. The uncooked mixture should fill the pan by no more than two-thirds.

 

 


FOR CAKES THAT USE SEPARATELY-BEATEN EGG WHITES AND YOLKS


If the cake is dense and heavy:


· The eggs were too small. Always use large eggs when baking.


· Insufficient air was whisked into the egg and sugar mixture.


· The flour was not folded in gently. Always mix in the flour at the lowest speed.


· The melted butter was too hot when added, causing it to sink down through the whisked foam.


· The oven temperature was too low.

 


If the top of the cake dropped:


· The oven temperature was too hot.


· The cake was not cooked long enough.


· The oven door was opened too soon, which created a draft.

 

 


FOR CAKES THAT USE CREAMED BUTTER AND SUGAR MIXTURES


If the batter curdles and separates:


· The ingredients were not at room temperature.


· The butter and sugar were not creamed together well enough before adding the eggs.


· The eggs were added too quickly.

 


If the cake's texture is too heavy:


· The butter, sugar and eggs were not beaten together long enough.


· The flour was beaten at too high a speed.


· Too much flour was added to the creamed mixture.


· The oven temperature was not hot enough.

 

 


If the top of the cake peaks and cracks:


· The oven temperature was too hot, causing the outside of the cake to bake and form a crust too quickly. As the mixture in the center of the cake continued to cook and rise, it burst up through the top of the cake.


· The cake wasn't baked on the center rack of the oven.

 


If raisins, dried fruit and nuts sunk to the bottom:


· The pieces of fruit were too large and too heavy.


· The sugary syrup on the outside of the fruit was not washed off- this caused the pieces of fruit to slide through the mixture as it heated.


· The washed and dried fruit was not dusted with flour before being added to the mixture.


· The cake mixture was over beaten or was too wet so it could not hold the fruit in place.


· The oven temperature was too low, causing the mixture to melt before it set to hold the fruit in place.

Recipe: Baking Pan Sizes

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Would you like a bit of help with baking pan sizes?

BAKING-PAN SIZES

Rectangular Cake Pans

8 x 8 x 2-inches deep 6 cups

9 x 9 x 1-1/2-inches deep 8 cups

9 x 9 x 2-inches deep 10 cups

13 x 9 x 2-inches deep 14 cups


Round Cake Pans

8 x 1-1/2-inches deep 4 cups

9 x 1-1/2-inches deep 6 cups


Pie Plates

8x 1-1/4-inches deep 3 cups, level with top; 4 to 4-1/2 cups, mounded

9 x 1-1/2-inches deep 4 cups level with top; 5 to 6 cups, mounded


Loaf Pans

8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2-inches deep 6 cups

9 x 5 x 3-inches deep 8 cups

Recipe: Q & A

|February 21, 2011|read comments (1)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –


don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

 


Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"


A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

 


Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"


A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

 


Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"


A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

 


Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"


A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

 


Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"


A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.


I hope this helps – and don't be afraid to ask if you want to know something!

Recipe: Butter or margarine – which is better for baking?

|February 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Butter or margarine??? Which is better for baking?


I have a lot of people asking me questions about baking with butter and margarine and shortening and oils. Today I will tackle the butter versus margarine questions.


“Family recipes that had been made for generations are not turning out“…… which is what most are saying.
Of course they aren’t.


How about if we take a step back in time.
Most likely your grandmother or great-grandmother used lard in her baking.

During the war, oleo was popular. You got a little packet of a yellow colored powdered substance that you had to knead into the oleo to make it yellow.


Then margarine came around.
Butter is an edible emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt – made from the churning of cream; used as a spread as well as in baking and cooking. Basically made from dairy and salt.


Margarine was the inexpensive alternative to butter – made from oil or a combination of oils through a process called hydrogenation which helps the animal fats/vegetable oils emulsify (corn oils, sunflower oils, soybean oils, etc.) Years ago – it was primarily made from beef fat – known as oleo fat or “oleo“ especially during WWII when butter was scarce as well as expensive and oleo was the best substitute. At first oleo was made from beef fat, and then it was supplemented by pork and other animal fats as well as vegetables oils – coconut oil, olive oil, and cottonseed oil.


Margarine is to be at least 80% fat, derived from animal fats or vegetable oils, or the blend of the two. Approximately 17% is liquid – either pasteurized skim milk, water or soybean protein fluid. The remaining percentage is salt which is added for flavor. During World War I coconut oil was favored; in the 1930’s, cottonseed oil was used; in the 1950’s, soy was used.


In the 1960’s tub margarine and vegetable oil spreads were starting to hit the markets – and it’s been down hill since. The animal fats have been eliminated in most cases and now margarine is no longer the margarine we know from years ago. The processes they have come up with for making margarine have changed dramatically – it’s more of a chemical process than a food process – number one reason we stick to butter.

 

 

I’ve got an interesting article for you to read:


Pass the butter ~ ~ ~ ~ This is interesting.


DO YOU KNOW…the difference between margarine and butter?


Read on to the end…gets very interesting!


Both have the same amount of calories.


Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.


Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of! butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.


Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.


Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!
Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.


Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

 


! And now, for Margarine….


Very high in trans fatty acids.


Triple risk of coronary heart disease.


Increases! total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)


Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.


Lowers quality of breast milk.


Decreases immune response.


Decreases insulin response.


And here's the most disturbing fact…. HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!


Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..


This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).


You can try this yourself:
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

 


Years ago we were able to buy "real" margarine that you could easily substitute for butter in any recipe. Times have changed, everything is different, now the government has their nose in everything that has trans-fats or fats in it. Oils are used – making up well over 65% of the margarines made today.


That is the reason we are butter people in my house.


That plus the fact that margarine is one step away from becoming plastic.
You cannot bake with today's so-called margarines and have anything turn out the way you want.


Depending on the recipe – if baking – you can use applesauce in place of fats – or you can just use butter in place of margarine.


Whatever our opinion is on the above article – it’s your opinion. I really didn’t need that article to say that I prefer butter – and that I prefer it even more now because of the change in margarines.


I used to be able to find a decent margarine up till about 8 to 10 years ago. It held up well in cooking and baking – but as all things – it changed and is no longer as good as it was.


I don’t do spreads or soft margarines – I don’t need more over-processed foods in my system.


Yes, I realize that butter is more expensive, but it does give the results you want.


And, I still enjoy making my own butter – it’s so simple and it is so good. Sometimes I make it lightly salted; sometimes I make it unsalted. If making salted, I add the salt at the very end – I want that buttermilk for baking! I look for heavy cream on sale and then I make my butter.


A few years ago I lucked out – if you want to call it that. I went grocery shopping and of course, I needed heavy cream. To my disappointment, all the cream (and there was a lot of it!) was going to expire in 2 days. Here I am standing in front of the dairy cooler looking at dozens of pints of heavy cream – all with the same date. Sure, they say you can still use a dairy product 7 days after the expiration date but why should I chance it? I don’t believe it and I am not about to find out if it’s true.


Lucky for me – the manager was having a walk-through with the big heads from the main office. No better time to approach him in front of his bosses and ask if they have any heavy cream in stock that is not going to expire the next day. It did not go over too well – and the whole entourage waltzed into the cooler to check it out. There was absolutely NONE and I needed 4 pints to make my butter for a dinner I was having.
One of the heads asked what I needed it for – and I told him. He asked me if I make butter often (which I do) and he asked if I ever freeze it. Which I do. So he made me an offer I could not refuse! Each pint I bought (took off their hands) they would give to me for TEN CENTS EACH! They were kind enough to stack them neatly in a crate and carry them to the register for me and inform the cashier that I was to pay a dime for each because of the date.


The cashier had no idea what I was doing with it – but she did say – I hope you use it all before tomorrow is over with! I sure did. I made butter for my dinner and I froze the rest. I used the buttermilk for biscuits for my dinner and I also baked other goodies with it. All that for $3.50 – that’s right – 35 pints of heavy cream at ten cents each.


The store was glad to get rid of it – I was glad to have it. What can I say? I still check out the dates on the heavy cream when shopping – hoping for another break.

 


The Tollhouse Chocolate Chip recipe has been popular for decades! Many make the cookies and they just “schmooz” all over the tins. It’s the margarine. Use butter – you’ll get better results.

 

 


Some butter notes:


Butter Measurements:
1/4 stick = 1/16 lb = 1/8 cup=2 tbsp = 6 tsp = 28 grams
1/2 stick = 1/8 lb = 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp = 12 tsp =57 grams
1 stick = 1/4 lb = 1/2 cup = 8 tbsp = 24 tsp = 113 grams
2 sticks = 1/2 lb = 1 cup = 16 tbsp = 48 tsp = 227 grams
3 sticks = 3/4 lb = 1-1/2 cups = 24 tbsp = 72 tsp = 340 grams
4 sticks = 1 lb = 2 cups = 32 tbsp = 96 tsp = 454 grams

 

 


How to clarify butter:


It's the milk solids in butter that cause it to brown and burn. Remove them and you've got clear, golden oil.


To clarify butter, melt it in a small saucepan over very low heat. Let stand, off the heat, until the white milk solids sink to the bottom of the melted butter.
Carefully pour off the liquid butter and strain through damp cheesecloth.
Store in refrigerator in a covered jar.

 

 


Making ghee (used in Indian cooking):
Usli Ghee


In a large frying pan, melt 1 pound unsalted butter over very low heat; this should take about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium. White foam will begin to form on the surface and the butter will start to crackle.
This indicates that the moisture is beginning to leave the milk solids. Cook for 10 minutes without stirring.
When the moisture is completely gone, the crackling will stop and the foam will subside.
Using a wooden spatula, stir the liquid constantly until the butter solids begin to brown. Immediately turn off the heat and let the brown residue settle to the bottom.
When the melted butter is cool, pour the clear liquid into a jar through a double layer of cheesecloth.
One pound of unsalted butter will yield 1 1/2 cups of usli ghee. Ghee will keep in a well-sealed jar for about 2 months at room temperature and 5 months in the refrigerator.

 


And do I still use lard? Yes I do. But throughout the years – even that has changed!

Recipe: Baking Perfect Biscuits

|February 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Make perfect biscuits every time!

I’ve put this together to help you make the best biscuits ever:

When measuring flour, I always “loosen” it before measuring by lifting it using a large-pronged fork. Always lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off using the straight-edge of a knife. Be sure to use the “nested” type measuring cups which are designed for dry measure.

When cutting in your shortening (fat – which can be butter or lard), use a pastry blender or two knives in a crisscross motion until your mixture looks like coarse crumbs. By cutting in your shortening, you are distributing the shortening throughout the flour mixture before your liquid is added. During the baking process, these little bits of shortening melt into the pockets producing the tender, flaky layers you want your biscuits to have. If you want extra-flaky biscuits, leave the shortening in larger, pea-size chunks.

I always make a “well” in the center of the dry ingredients and add my liquid all at once. Using a fork, I incorporate the dry ingredients until I have a soft ball of dough and the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. You dough should be soft; if your dough seems too dry, add an additional tablespoon or two or milk. And of course, buttermilk will give your biscuit’s a moister texture and a bit of flavor.

When kneading my biscuit dough on a lightly floured surface, I knead just enough to thoroughly combine the ingredients – 10 to 12 times. You don’t want tough biscuits.

Your dough can be rolled using a rolling pin (if I roll I use a dowel) or you can pat your dough to a thickness of ½-inch. Patting to ½-inch thickness should give you biscuits that will rise to 1-inch in height during baking.

Now for the cutting. You can use a floured cutter 2 ½ to 3-inches in diameter; pushing the scraps together and gently re-rolling to cut the remaining dough. Once again – don’t handle too much – you don’t want tough biscuits. Many times I just cut mine with a knife. There comes a time when you need to save time or you’re too tired for fussing.

As for the oven temperature – I’ve seen so many biscuit recipes saying that you should preheat your oven to 450* Fahrenheit. I never do. I preheat my oven – but to 350* Fahrenheit. So they take a little longer – that is the temperature I prefer to bake them at. It’s your choice. Just remember to place your biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet about an inch apart.

For a golden crust, use a shiny baking sheet.

Dark cookie sheets will cause your biscuit bottoms to over-brown.

For crusty sides – place biscuits 1-inch apart on the baking sheet.

For soft sides – place your biscuits close together.

After removing from the oven, you can brush the tops with melted butter.

Additional information:

I always use all-purpose flour for biscuit making. It has less protein than wheat/bread flour which when hydrated and worked, creates the gluten strands that make breads chewy.

Never overwork the dough – you don’t want to develop the gluten; handle the dough as little as possible.

Remember – those bits of fat imbedded in the dough will melt during baking, creating steam and giving you the flaky layers that you want.

When it comes to choosing fat for your biscuits, butter will add more flavor, but shortening will make your biscuits more tender. Shortening doesn’t contain water or milk solids like butter does.

The fat you choose must be COLD. As it melts during baking, your leavening agent takes its place so that the biscuits will rise. If your fat melts or softens before the biscuits bake they will be hard and flat because your leavening agent has no where to go.

Recipe: Successful Baking Tips

|February 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen


MEASURING FLOUR:

Measure flour into a dry-measure measuring cup (use a cup with a "flat" top – not a cup with a "spout" that is used for measuring liquids) by spooning flour from the flour bag and heaping slightly. Holding heaping cup of flour over bag of flour or canister, run flat side of long knife across top to level off cup.
This technique is also used for sugar, cornstarch, etc.

 


MEASURING LIQUID:

Place a liquid measuring cup (one with a spout) on a flat surface; pour liquid to desired measure printed on side of cup (stoop to be at eye level with the measuring cup).


When measuring syrup, molasses, honey – grease cup with butter or margarine allowing the syrup to pour out easily.


PACKING BROWN SUGAR:

Measure brown sugar by packing into a dry measuring cup, using the back of a tablespoon.

 


MEASURING SHORTENING:

Scoop vegetable shortening with rubber spatula into dry measuring cup; run a flat blade of a long knife over top, then scoop out of cup with rubber spatula into mixing bowl.

 


SOURING MILK:

Measure 1 teaspoon white vinegar for every 1 cup of milk and stir to blend. Let stand 5 minutes, or until milk curdles. Use in place of buttermilk in recipes for pancakes, waffles, muffins, chocolate cakes or baking powder biscuits.

 


PREPARING PAN:

Spray baking pans with vegetable spray, following label directions – OR – grease pans with vegetable shortening and sprinkle with flour, turning and patting pan to coat evenly and tapping our excess.
Use shortening – butter or margarine can make a cake stick.

 


SEPARATING EGGS:

Crack refrigerator-cold egg against side of bowl to separate shell into 2 approximate even pieces. Hold egg yolk-side shell over a small bowl that is clean and free of grease film.
If there are traces of fat in the bowl, egg whites will not whip properly.
Allow as much of the white to run off as possible. Carefully transfer yolk to other half of shell, allowing egg white to fall into bowl. Place yolk in separate bowl.
Do NOT separate a second egg white over first: If the second yolk breaks you will have lost 2 whites.