Baking and cooking are similar as far as they use heat, and the end result is edible(you hope). The biggest secret to baking is you should follow the directions exactly. I like that about baking. Following directions to the letter is the type of person I am. Don’t get me wrong baking can have a creative side to it. You just have to be careful how you create. You can take a basic cookie recipe and add or subtract ingredients like nuts, raisins, and chocolate but don’t mess with a substituting baking powder for baking soda. There is a science to it and I don’t really know what it is but I have learned not to mess with it.
You also have to know the definitions of the directions for baking. How to fold, whip, cream, beat, cut in, knead. If you don’t know how to do these things your baking will not turn out like the recipe has described. Below are some of the most popular definitions of baking terms you should know even if you are just making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Along with these baking terms can be specialized equipment.
Cream – Means to mix together sugar and butter(sometimes shortening). This is usually done with an electric mixer. You are adding air to them, it helps the final product rise in the oven. When the creaming is finished it should be a light and fluffy. The sugar should be somewhat dissolved. Sometimes creaming involves eggs. Remember another tip to get what you want in the end is to start with room temperature ingredients.
Beat – Beating is also adding air to your ingredients. You can achieve this by hand or with a mixer. A good recipe will tell you how and how long to beat.
Whipping– Again this is to put air into the ingredient. This is usually meant for eggs or cream. It can be done with a whisk (whisking) or with an electric mixer. The recipe will usually tell you how “stiff” to whip. Meaning soft peaks or stiff peaks. Soft peaks are when you take the whisk out of the cream(or egg whites) the point will fall over lightly. A stiff peak is when you take the whisk out the peak will stand up to a point.
Mix, stir or combined – Incorporate the ingredients until smooth. Like a batter or dough.
Fold –You are gently mixing two ingredients so to not deflate. Use a spatula, fold the bottom of the bowl up and over the top, turn the bowl a quarter of a turn, fold again, and repeat the process until combined.
Knead – Combine dough by hand on a hard surface. This involves folding the dough over, pressing down with the heel of your hand, turning 90 degrees and then repeating the process. Kneading mixes dough .
Cut In – You are mixing a fat (butter or shortening) into flour, just enough so the fat is in small, granular pieces resembling coarse sand. You can achieve this with a pastry cutter, A fork, 2 knives, or with a food processor.
Now that you know some of the definitions of baking. You can follow the directions better and (hopefully) create a some delicious baked goods.
Next time I am going to show you some very helpful tools for baking.
Do you want to try and bake something now? I would love to hear about what you have in mind.
Thanks for stopping by.