Questions about cooking by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven.

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15
votes
2answers
16k views

Shiny side or not for foil?

Does it make any difference when you wrap food with aluminum foil for grilling or baking or making a steam pouch whether you put the shiny side in or the shiny side out? I've seen at least one answer ...
15
votes
2answers
82k views

Can I always use butter instead of margarine when baking?

Some recipes says use butter or margarine, some say use butter and some say use margarine. My question is, can I always use butter or does margarine have some property that butter doesn't when baking? ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I get my homemade english muffins to taste like english muffins?

I've finally mastered my technique for creating english muffins. They come out light with lots of air bubbles. Unfortunately, they don't taste like english muffins. They taste like regular bread. ...
14
votes
7answers
6k views

Do I have to peel red potatoes before baking them?

I recently made some potato wedges in the oven. I shared this recipe with my relative, who admonished me for not properly peeling the red potatoes before baking them. She claims that there are ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What determines the shape-holding ability of cookies?

What things can you vary to make cookies hold their shape better during cooking, and not spread out like a pancake? From my experimenting, the initial temperature of the dough before cooking seems to ...
14
votes
5answers
44k views

Why don't my cookies flatten?

I have baked Betty Crocker's Giant Honey and Oat Cookies three or four times now, and every time, my cookies do not spread out, I just get thick cookies. Is there something I am doing wrong? As far as ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there a non-penetrative method for checking cake doneness?

Is there some way to check a cake is done without using a toothpick or other penetrative device? I like the thermometer idea, but no one seems to know how the heck to use them.
14
votes
3answers
8k views

How do I make my chocolate brownies 'fudgy'?

What are the key requirements, in terms of both ingredients and techniques, for baking chocolate brownies with a fudgy centre?
13
votes
6answers
788 views

Cup measurements: shake or scrape?

When you are measuring out your flour, sugar, etc with the measuring cups, is it better to scoop and then shake the cup to get a leveled cup, or scoop and then use a knife to scrape off the excess. ...
13
votes
8answers
4k views

Baking bread … without crust?

My fiancee doesn't like to eat the crust of bread. I like to bake bread. But she ends up cutting off like half of each piece in the process of de-crust-ifying it. What are some suggestions to make ...
13
votes
13answers
543k views

Butter substitute for 1 cup of butter for baking

What can I substitute for 1 cup of butter in baking recipes (e.g. cookies, muffins, cakes, etc.)? I'm looking for something that has less saturated fat (and also doesn't have trans fat). Update: ...
13
votes
3answers
231k views

Is it okay to use aluminium foil instead of parchment paper while baking cookies?

I don't have access to parchment paper or even butter paper for that matter. I just read on a website that it'd be okay to use aluminium foil as long as I apply a coating of grease on it. And also ...
13
votes
5answers
89k views

baking bread with all-purpose flour

I'm a bread-baking novice and have acquired a vast quantity of all-purpose flour. If I follow a typical bread recipe, for example one of these, but use all-purpose flour instead of the recommended ...
13
votes
7answers
16k views

In baking, can yoghurt replace butter?

By baking, I mean cakes / muffins / biscuits. This is mainly to cut down on fat. I've tried replacing butter with yoghurt in all of these and the results were OK. Are there any cases where it's not ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

What is seeping out of my key lime pie?

For Valentine's Day this year I attempted to make my wife a Key Lime Pie. I followed Emeril's recipe, with one small modification: I replaced the granulated sugar in the crust with a 1:1 ratio of ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I grow my own yeast (sourdough starter)?

I would like to always have my own culture of yeast (sourdough starter) in my fridge at home. Does anyone know how to grow yeast and keep it alive?
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Storing bread dough before baking

I'm looking to make a start in the world of baking bread, and have a quick question: Once my dough is kneaded, proved and ready to go in the oven (i.e. in the tin) - does it need to be baked ...
12
votes
12answers
36k views

How do you make Yorkshire Puddings rise reliably?

Has anyone got a foolproof method for Yorkshire Puddings? With the recipe I have they never seem to rise properly.
12
votes
3answers
23k views

Why should I boil pretzels in baking soda water before baking?

This weekend I made pretzels from Alton Brown's recipe. This recipe, and others I've seen, call for dipping the pretzels one by one in boiling water with baking soda for 30 to 60 seconds. I assume ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is baking by weight really more accurate?

It's gospel among serious bakers that measuring by weight is far more accurate than measuring by volume. However, I'm not sure that measuring by weight helps at all when you have varying humidity ...
12
votes
3answers
645 views

Do bakeries generally knead dough for bread by hand or use a machine?

Question is in the title - if anyone has experience working in a bakery that would be great. Thanks!
12
votes
6answers
14k views

Why is there vinegar in the bread recipe?

Yesterday I made bread based on a recipe I found on the flour bag. It contained both rye and wheat flour but also three tablespoons of vinegar. I've never seen it used in bread before, why is it ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

Over-stirring muffin mixtures

In muffin recipes, the instructions often say to stir the mixture till "just combined". Why does over-stirring the muffin mixture result in tough muffins? And how do you know if you did too much ...
12
votes
5answers
47k views

Order of combining wet and dry ingredients when baking

I've always learnt that you add the wet ingredients to the dry ones. Looking at some recipes: "Combine the dry ingredients, the flour ... Add the other wet ingredients, melted butter ..." "Pour wet ...
12
votes
4answers
8k views

why is my bread too tough?

trying to get the hang of making good artisan bread, and my last loaf tasted great. But it stayed flatter than previous efforts, and was very tough. I am doing my best to understand the science as ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I make a “baking powder” substitute in a pinch

Every once in while we run out of "Baking powder". What would be a good receipt for a substitute that you have used that works well?
12
votes
3answers
11k views

What does “spooned and leveled” mean?

I'm looking at a recipe that lists the following as an ingredient: 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) What exactly does this mean? Is this literal - i.e. spoon it into the measuring ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

Advice for gingerbread houses?

I'm considering entering a gingerbread house contest with my mom this year. I might've done a few as a kid, but I've only done one before in my adult life, more than 10 years ago, and I remember ...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

Is there a way to prevent my Fruit Pie from getting runny?

Is there a way to firm up the consistency of a fresh fruit pie (like peach or apple) - sometimes it gets too "runny"?
12
votes
6answers
23k views

Is there an alternative to cornstarch

I made a some pies a couple of days ago. The recipe called for cornstarch and it thicken the filling after it came out of the oven. The only thing is I could taste a bit of the cornstarch when I was ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What kind of beer for beer bread?

Beer bread is bread wherein beer is used for liquid and leavening. I tend to use a basic pilsner, but I'm a beer snob, and I've taken to wondering what would happen if I substituted something a little ...
12
votes
1answer
663 views

Why Did This Cheesecake Catch on Fire?

A friend of mine's wife was baking a cheesecake, which she does somewhat regularly. The house filled up with smoke, and when they opened the oven, they observed that it had caught fire. Apparently ...
11
votes
5answers
41k views

Why is lye used in some recipes for cookies?

I have seen some recipes for cookies which include lye (water boiled with ash) among the ingredients. Does anyone know what the purpose is? Is there any other ingredient that can replace lye? Thanks ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

What's the point of roasting a whole chicken?

Recently I tried to butterfly a chicken before roasting it (in the oven) and I totally liked it. It cooks faster, browns more evenly and is easier to carve. It's slightly more difficult to move the ...
11
votes
7answers
10k views

When baking what works well as a sugar substitute?

I'm curious about what I can use for a sugar substitute while baking. I'm not interested in artificial sweetners, really. For instance, I've found that apple juice works well in some muffins. Are ...
11
votes
4answers
34k views

Substituting butter for oil: Does it matter for baked goods?

When a recipe (like for muffins) calls for vegetable oil, does it matter if I substitute the oil for butter because I want that buttery taste in the muffins? Do I need to compensate for the ...
11
votes
5answers
8k views

Crusty french bread

The crust on my french bread never turns out "crusty" like it does in restaurants, what am I doing wrong?
11
votes
2answers
12k views

How do I change cake recipes for cupcakes?

This is a three-part question: Which classes of cake are unsuitable for cupcakes? Can I do angel food cake or pound cake? What changes do I need to make when converting a normal cake recipe for ...
11
votes
10answers
61k views

Best way to cleanly cut brownies?

So, I'm on a brownie kick, and am currently playing around with baking batches of brownies in 9"x13" pans. I want each batch to yield 15 brownies (so I'm aiming for brownies that are around 3"x2.5") ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Trouble with Baked Chicken Wings

I do not have a deep fryer (and do not plan to purchase one), but I have made chicken wings successfully in the oven. (My mom, --from Buffalo, NY-- even approves of this method.) The problem is that ...
11
votes
3answers
26k views

How can you make “All Purpose Flour” using home ground wheat?

We grind our wheat at home. Many recipes call for "All Purpose Flour" and we have been trying to find how to make our own "All Purpose Flour".
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does soda bread call for buttermilk?

I've been looking for a soda bread recipe to try and I notice that most of them contain buttermilk. Buttermilk is not a standard part of my pantry. Part of the appeal of soda bread is that it's ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

How dangerous is it to bake food with plastic?

I just baked a spiral ham for an hour. There was a little piece of plastic that I was supposed to 'remove before cooking', but I didn't notice it. After an hour, the ham was baked and the plastic ...
11
votes
5answers
12k views

Gummy residue from baking spray/oil

I'm sure everyone's seen this - that brownish stuff left behind when you grease an area of a baking dish that gets left exposed to the heat. Soap doesn't bother it too much, and it likes to gum up my ...
11
votes
8answers
17k views

How can I make macarons with “feet” in my oven at home?

I've tried many macaron recipes, and all have tasted very good. The problem is they always end up as a meringue, or looking like cookies. They usually don't have the "feet" that macarons are known ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

How can I keep meringue pie-topping from falling?

Nothin' better on a hot summer afternoon than a slice of cold pie... And nothin' says "summer" like a great big fluffy meringue topping over that slab of rhubarb/lemon/banana custard. Unfortunately, ...
11
votes
6answers
9k views

How can I make my scones rise evenly?

I've been making some scones and they are either falling away to one side or just sort of staying flat. I'm currently just baking them on a tray in the oven at 220C The recipe is: 450g self-raising ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Thick, moist, fluffy, flavorful pitas

Are there tricks for baking thick and fluffy pita bread? The ones I make come out fine, with an even puff and nice pockets, but they are on the thin side. I would really love to be able to make ...
11
votes
1answer
493 views

How to get “burned” effect on cheesecake?

I've eaten hot cheesecake in restaurant. It looked like the cheesecake was properly baked and then only a slice of it, which was going to the plate, was fried or baked or I don't know what so it was ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a formula for converting pancake batter to waffle batter?

I have a wonderful pancake recipe that I would like to convert into a waffle recipe. Is there a generally accepted formula for doing this? Based on other recipes I've seen, it looks like the amount ...