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

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10
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5answers
6k 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the purpose of creaming butter with sugar in cookie recipes?

I got distracted while assembling the dry ingredients for a cookie recipe and added the sugars, which were supposed to be creamed with the butter first. Fortunately, the sugar was added last and I was ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Standard weight conversions for converting cups of flour to grams of flour?

I hate the idea of measuring flour using something as imprecise as measuring scoop. What numbers do you treat as definitive/authoritative/canonical for doing weight conversions for different types of ...
5
votes
3answers
21k views

How can I get my puff pastry to rise?

When I made chicken pot pie, the filling was fine but the puff pastry on top didn't puff up though it did cook through. How can I remedy this? The pastry was the store-bought frozen variety. The ...
10
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
13k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
43k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

How to brownies from a box/mix with a flaky top?

I buy and make box brownies all the time, but the top crust always ends up looking more like the topping of a cake, rather than the flaky top shown in the picture on the box. It's pretty easy to ...
12
votes
12answers
32k 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.
33
votes
15answers
138k views

Does active dry yeast really expire?

I was cleaning out my spice cabinet and deep in the back I found two packages (e.g., six envelopes) of active dry Red Star yeast that expired in March 2009, 15 months ago as of writing this question. ...
8
votes
2answers
159 views

When multiplying in baking, should I follow directions all-at-once or batches?

If I am making pie dough, for instance, is there a reason to prefer doing things in batches, besides it being more manageable for my tools/hands? This would help answer this question (two good answers ...
28
votes
4answers
57k views

Does it matter what kind of sugar is used in baking?

The baking recipes I use specify many kinds of sugar e.g. caster, raw, white, soft etc. Generally, I always just use raw sugar, mainly for convenience. Does it really make a difference?
11
votes
4answers
27k 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
6answers
751 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. ...
16
votes
13answers
30k views

How do you raise your dough in cold seasons?

It is winter down here in Australia and I find it challenging to find a warm spot to raise my bread dough. What I have been doing is placing the dough in the oven (not switched on) with a pot of hot ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Proper proportion of cream of tartar to baking soda for snickerdoodles

When I make snickerdoodles, they taste too "tangy" to me which I believe is due to the acidity of the tartaric acid. The recipe I have calls for a 2:1 ratio of cream of tartar to baking soda which is ...
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

How to halve a cake recipe?

An entire cake is too much food (and temptation!) for me and my husband. Generally speaking, how do I halve a cake recipe? I have heard you can't just cut everything in half due to the way baking ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Adjusting cookie recipes for high altitude

When baking cakes, I often find that there are instructions for high altitude, which usually is just a matter of adding some extra flour. I understand the concept of high altitudes having less ...
14
votes
10answers
43k views

How can I get my bread to be more fluffy and less dense?

I've been making bread for a while now, but I can never get it to rise enough. The bread comes out really dense, so it's not very useful for sandwiches. I give it ten minutes after kneading, bash it ...
12
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Using skim or low-fat milk in recipes

When a recipe calls for milk, does using skim or low-fat milk over whole milk matter? Even though the difference between whole and skim milk is about 2 percent fat, will it affect the result? Is ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What are good techniques for getting gluten free bread to rise?

I make gluten free bread in a bread maker, however I can never get it to rise as much as 'regular' bread and is usually a little heavy. What techniques/recipes/substitutions can I try to get my gluten ...
3
votes
3answers
392 views

Adding fresh herbs in no-knead Bread

I am experimenting with the no Knead bread recipe and want to add herbs to the recipe. I have added fresh rosemary (great) and fresh oregano (not so) to the recipe. What other herbs would you ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Can couverture chocolate be substituted with other ingredients?

I have a brownie recipe that calls for couverture chocolate to be used. Unfortunately it is getting difficult (and expensive) to obtain this chocolate. Is there a way to get the same effect using ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Flaky pie crust for sweet fruit pie: butter, shortening, lard, or combination?

I specify sweet fruit here because I think there would different good answers for a savory or a custard based pie.
9
votes
5answers
5k 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 - ...
19
votes
9answers
24k views

Techniques to get a nice golden-brown crust on bread

How do I make sure the crust of a baguette, etc. turns out a nice golden-brown when baking?
11
votes
7answers
9k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
16k views

Why do my brownies end up so hard?

When I make brownies, I sometimes end up with really hard thin brownies instead of thick fudgy soft brownies. I bake them the same amount of time, use the same ingredients, and use the same equipment ...
8
votes
3answers
12k views

How do I prevent cream puff shells from deflating?

Every time I try to bake cream puffs the shells deflate before I can fill them with the cream. I have tried poking a hole in the shell with a toothpick in the last few minutes of baking. I have ...
8
votes
2answers
675 views

Proper Technique for Rolling Sugar Cookies

I have an old recipe of my grandmother's for sugar cookies and I'd love for them to turn out just like hers. However, whenever I try to roll out the dough, I find I either can't get it thin enough, it ...
9
votes
2answers
312 views

What is the proper usage of a pie bird?

I have one of those ceramic pie birds that vent steam from a pie while it bakes. What benefit does using this provide to the end result? Also, in what types of pies should it be used?
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I bake bread using a mother culture?

If I want to make bread using a 'mother' culture what do I need to do? How do I go about starting the 'mother'? How should I keep the 'mother' going? and how do I use the mother in my bread? What ...
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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
608 views

Do I really need pastry flour in my molasses cookie recipe?

I have a recipe for molasses cookies that calls for 3 parts regular flour to 1 part pastry flour for the flour component. It mentions that you can use whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour if ...
3
votes
3answers
967 views

How to melt glucose?

I recent backed a pie that included glucose and the recipe pretty much only said melt glucose...nothing about how to use it which lead me to much agony :) So the question is ... is there a common ...
15
votes
5answers
76k 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? ...
6
votes
3answers
988 views

How can I check if a blind baked dough is done?

Often, when I'm blind baking things, I'm always unsure whether or not the dough is finished. I always put a piece of foil between the crust and the rice. Is there an easy way to check the middle of ...
17
votes
3answers
6k views

How do you decide what temperature to bake at?

What is the logic behind the choice of temperature for baking? Obviously if you're following a recipe it will say what temperature to use, but I'd like to understand the reasoning behind it. Is it a ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is sugar a wet ingredient?

The last time I checked, most sugar is really dry (unless it's something like brown sugar). So why is it categorized as "wet"?
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. Thanks!!
10
votes
5answers
730 views

What are good references for Gluten free baking

I have several members of my family who are GF. Baking for them has become a real challenge. I'm looking for good references to learn to understand how to work with this limitation in my baking. What ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

What are the best potatoes for baking?

What are the best varieties of potatoes to use for baking with a roast that will give a nice golden brown finish on the outside? [Edit: to clarify, I'm from Australia and we don't really distinguish ...
11
votes
8answers
15k 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
7k views

What is the difference between various types of flour?

Is there a difference between the various types of flour that you see in the stores (i.e. Cake, Bread, and All-Purpose? Is it really necessary to stock 3 types of flour in my pantry or is this just a ...
10
votes
4answers
48k views

Can cheesecake be cooked without a spring-form pan?

I don't have a spring form pan but I watched a show where they seemed to cook their cheesecakes in regular pans. Is this possible or did I just not notice that they were in fact spring form pans? I ...