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

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13
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4answers
15k views

How can I keep a cheesecake from cracking?

I've been making cheesecakes for a while and they always end up cracking on the top. I was told to try putting a pan of water in the oven with it to keep the humidity up, which might help a little, ...
13
votes
7answers
13k 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
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
2answers
17k 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
13k views

What should I do if power goes out while I am baking cake/cookies?

If I am baking cake or cookies in the oven and I lose power, what should I do? Does it make to sense to leave the cake/cookies in the oven until the power comes back on, or should I take them out? ...
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
4answers
48k views

When is it necessary to cover food with aluminum foil during baking/roasting?

Often a recipe calls for covering a dish while it bakes. I understand that this can help to trap steam. How do you know when it's necessary to use aluminum foil when baking a dish without a recipe? ...
12
votes
13answers
391k 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: ...
12
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5answers
4k 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
4answers
25k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
4k 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
3k 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. Thanks!!
12
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
7k 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
4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
4k 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
4k 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
4answers
61k 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
2k 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.
12
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
6answers
16k 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
1answer
6k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
8k 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
6k 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
3answers
93k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
9k 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
3answers
5k 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
11k 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
3k 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
3answers
747 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
1k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
384 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
1answer
471 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
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 ...
10
votes
10answers
18k 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.
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it possible to make cookies without creaming the butter?

I love to make some cookies but have limited kitchen appliances. I don't want to cream the butter and sugar by hand -- I did that before and it was not fun! Is it possible to make good cookies ...
10
votes
5answers
30k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
18k 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".
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Should you add some salt to flour when baking?

I was always taught to add a pinch of salt to flour when baking (mainly cakes / muffins and puddings). I have recipes that specifically mention adding salt and others that don't. Is there a ...
10
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
32k 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") ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why baking powder in rotis?

I just ate a store bought roti (a flat Indian bread, like a tortilla) and baking powder is a listed ingredient. Why does a flat bread need baking powder? There are no bubbles to grow, are there?
10
votes
2answers
973 views

How long and at what temperature do the various parts of a chicken need to be cooked?

I'm interested in baking thighs, legs, breasts and wings. How long do each of these items need to bake and at what temperature?
10
votes
1answer
7k views

Can I fix a box cake recipe where I added oil instead of water?

I screwed up and put 1 1/4 cup veg oil instead of water in my box cake recipe. Is there any way to fix this? Can I add flour or something? Or is it doomed for the trash can?
10
votes
1answer
4k views

When adding vital wheat gluten to a bread recipe, should one reduce the amount of flour equal to it?

I've always thought that the rule of thumb for adding vital wheat gluten to a bread recipe was to add one tablespoon of it per cup of flour called for. A friend is telling me that rather than do that, ...
9
votes
5answers
29k 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 ...