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

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15
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5answers
18k views

How can I bake normally fried foods?

A lot of frozen, convenience foods are foods that are traditionally fried can be prepared by baking. I'm thinking of, fish sticks, french fries, tator tots, jalapeño poppers, etc. I'm lousy at deep ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How to get threads in a yeast dough?

I think I may make some traditional food for Easter this year. What I love most is a type of rich sweet bread called kozunak. The perfect kozunak is defined by many qualities, but what I find hardest ...
15
votes
4answers
17k views

Why does my bread collapse in my bread machine?

I have a bread machine and when I follow the recipes in the included booklet that came with the machine, the bread rises for about an hour, but the collapses back on itself and comes out rock hard ...
15
votes
10answers
245k views

Is granulated sugar (American) the same as caster sugar (UK)?

I have an american cake recipe which includes 'granulated sugar', would this be uk caster sugar? It is for the stage when you beat in with the butter?
15
votes
1answer
26k views

Why is there a difference between softened and melted butter when baking?

I once tried to make some cookies and assumed that melted butter would be the same as softened butter. It didn't work out... Why does it make a difference if you use softened or melted butter? ...
15
votes
3answers
103k 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
2k 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
5answers
53k 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?
14
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15answers
56k 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.
14
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5answers
3k views

How many kilos of bread can I produce with one kilo of flour?

I wish to calculate how economic a breadmaker is compared to store bought bread. Does anyone know how many kilos of bread can be made from one kilogram of flour? To make it simple, let's say generic ...
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
3answers
350k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
63k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
112k 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
4k 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
930 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
2answers
2k views

“Place pan in a large pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan.” — Why?

I have found a cheesecake recipe which says, for the cooking phase: Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 325 °F (160 °C) for 60--65 minutes ...
13
votes
8answers
5k 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
5answers
63k 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 ...
13
votes
13answers
647k 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
1answer
2k views

Why boil and cool jam before using it in a cake?

When putting marzipan on a fruit cake recipes sometimes state that we should first boil and cool the apricot jam used to coat the cake and make the marzipan stick. I have now found the same advice for ...
13
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
19k 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
10answers
29k views

Is there an alternative to cornstarch when used to thicken a pie filling

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 ...
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?
12
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
32k 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
739 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
5answers
15k 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
2answers
12k views

What makes a chewy brownie?

I've tried many different brownie recipes and most of mine bake to a cake-like consistency. The brownie holy grail for me is crusty top chewy brownies. What can I add/remove/do that will make my ...
12
votes
4answers
11k 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
13k 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
10answers
79k 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") ...
12
votes
5answers
9k 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
7k 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
1answer
332 views

Which side of the baking paper should face up?

My baking paper has two sides: one waxy looking silky-feeling side, and one clean looking side with more friction when you run your finger over it. Which side should face up against the food? I've ...
12
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
4k 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
752 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
7answers
11k 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
5answers
9k 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
14k 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
5answers
8k 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
30k 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
4answers
18k views

Can/should I use baking soda when cooking beans?

My recipe for hummus says to cook the garbanzo beans with a little baking soda to soften them. Does this work with other legumes? I've often seen the advice against salting the cooking water for ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

How to make pizza crust thin and elastic at the same time?

For the title: I'm not sure if "elastic" is the perfect word here, so is anyone knows better one - put it in the comment. I like thin pizza crust, but when I've made it myself it was hard and stiff - ...