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

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15
votes
3answers
99k 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? ...
13
votes
6answers
16k 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
10answers
76k 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
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"?
11
votes
1answer
6k 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, ...
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 - ...
9
votes
1answer
36k views

Fan bake vs bake

Are there any general rules to follow when choosing between bake and fan bake to cook something in the oven? What effect does each have and what are the advantages and disadvantages of both?
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What differences, practical and aesthetic, are there between egg washes?

An egg wash can be done in six major variations: [with | out egg white] mixed with [water | milk | cream]. My first hit when searching 'egg wash ratio' My Persian Kitchen where the use was for ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Why and what kind of breads should be scored?

Inspired by this question How can I score wet bread dough more easily?, I am quite keen to know why and what kind of breads should be scored? What will happen if we don't score the breads?
8
votes
1answer
614 views

What is the best technique to put icing on plastic?

I'm going to attempt to do is bake a cake for my daughter's first birthday. The cake is going to be based on this recipe, but I want it to look more like this one. Now if you look at the 2nd link, it ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do some pie crust recipes include vinegar?

I experiment some with pie crusts and have seen recipes that include vinegar as well as eggs. What does the vinegar do and what does the egg do. I have heard the vinegar promotes tenderness but have ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What is blind baking?

I am making a quiche. The recipe tells me to "blind bake" the crust at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. What is "blind baking"? Is it anything more complicated than baking something partially? To avoid ...
8
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the purpose of baking soda in chocolate-chip cookies?

I thought baked goods which include baking soda should be put into oven immediately, otherwise they won't rise. But some cookie recipes call for cooling the dough in the fridge or even freezing it, ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I avoid windswept muffins in a convection oven?

I have a very small multi-function oven (about the size of a microwave) and for baking, the recommended setting is the "convection" one. Things bake fine in terms of taste, but muffins and cupcakes ...
8
votes
4answers
10k views

converting pure chocolate to “bittersweet” chocolate

A chocolate cookie recipe I'm looking at calls for melting down a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips. However, I happen to have a brick of completely unsweetened cooking chocolate in the fridge. Can I ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Baking naan without an oven?

Is it possible to make eggless naan without an oven?
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Cooking Chemistry: lemon juice/soymilk buttermilk substitute turning bitter and 'rising'

I made a soup recipe the other night (mainly potato, spinach, and veggie broth) that called for buttermilk. I substituted soymilk and lemon juice, reading online that that was a good substitution for ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I clean this silicone tray?

I use this silicone muffin pan to cook things in the oven. It's supposed to be non-stick, but actually food sticks to it quite a lot. Often I can just scrape dried food off with my fingers, but it's ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

Ingredients or techniques to a more solid lasagna

What are the crucial ingredients or cooking techniques to a more solid, or "brick" like lasagna? Most lasagna I've seen tends to get a bit sloppy in the pan as it's being dished out but I have seen ...
7
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

How does the order of mixing ingredients affect the resulting cake?

I wanted to bake a Devil's cake yesterday. I got my recipe from a trusted book and I was surprised to see that the order of mixing was as follows: sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, ...
6
votes
1answer
397 views

Will double-action baking powder lose potency if not baked immediately?

I use double-action baking powder to make waffles. If I bake the waffles immediately, they rise nicely. However, if I bake the waffles more than 3 hours after making the batter, they don't rise as ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How accurate is the window pane test? (breadmaking)

I recently bought Michael Ruhlman's Ratio and started trying out baking. I knead my bread for about 10 to 15 minutes, but the window pane test (pulling a chunk of dough so that it's translucent ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

How to make softer scones?

I used the scone recipe from here, but the scones turned out really hard and dry. What should I have done differently? More butter, more milk. Less cooking time? ...
6
votes
3answers
14k views

What purpose does coffee serve in a chocolate cake recipe?

I have a recipe for a chocolate buttermilk cake. It's not constructed like most cakes, but it's always turned out OK. I've always wondered what does the coffee in the recipe do? Is the coffee ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Do I need hard or soft brown sugar for brownies?

I found a recipe for brownies I want to try. It calls for 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar How can I recognize if they mean hard or soft brown sugar? And how much of a difference does it ...
6
votes
9answers
7k views

What can I use instead of corn syrup?

I saw the question about UK, but I don't think I can find treacle of any kind in Germany. I am looking for a substitute which will keep the physical qualities of the pie filling reasonably close to ...
5
votes
3answers
436 views

Bread doesn't split at the score

I've got to the point where my bread springs beautifully (I can see it grow). Unfortunately, no matter how I score it, the score always spreads open gently, then hardens along with the rest of the ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

What flavor (besides chocolate) goes well with hazelnut?

I have a family recipe for a to-die-for hazelnut torte with chocolate frosting. I want to bake it for an occasion coming up, but there will be at least two, possibly three people there who are ...
5
votes
1answer
390 views

What causes popovers to rise so much?

I recently made popovers and I knew they would 'pop over'. Yet, I was surprised they came that high. I'm curious how this is possible, since there is no yeast, baking powder, self-rising flour, beaten ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Can I partially bake a pie?

I am planning on making a pie for my dad for father's day. I know when you buy most pies at the grocery store, you have to pop it in the oven for a few minutes to heat it up. Is it possible to do a ...
4
votes
2answers
216 views

How can I keep the shape of my free-form bread dough when it is rising?

I have been trying to bake my own Italian bread, French bread and Rolls. I have found many tasty recipes but I keep having the same problem so I'm guessing it's my technique somewhere. Please advise ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I use yogurt cheese in cheesecake by substituting the cream cheese?

It is very hard to find cream cheese or mascarpone where I live in India, so I just wanted to know whether I can make a cheesecake with yogurt cheese or not?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Substituting hazelnuts for almonds, baking

I simply prefer hazelnuts to almonds, especially in sweet applications. I've been recently gifted with a pound of very nice bittersweet chocolate so I've decided to do America's Test Kitchen's Sacher ...
4
votes
2answers
321 views

Is it true that putting spices in something then baking it destroys the spices?

I heard that putting spices in something and putting it in the oven will eliminate the taste of the spices. Is this true? For example if I were to put spice in lasagna before putting it in the oven ...
4
votes
3answers
401 views

Getting the bowl out of the mold

This is the "Cook's Choice, Better Baker Edible Bowl Maker" which I received as a gift. Now the idea appears clever enough, but everything I try to do with it either comes out too hard to be ...
4
votes
3answers
19k views

How should I alter a chocolate cake recipe to make plain/flavoured cake?

I have a really good chocolate cake recipe. It's so good that I want to use it as a base for all my cakes. How do I alter this recipe to make different cakes like vanilla, lemon, coconut, etc.? I ...
4
votes
2answers
83k views

What can I substitute for vegetable oil in a recipe?

Is there something that I can use as a substitute for vegetable oil in a recipe? I'm actually making cornbread (I think it matters), and normally the recipe calls for 1/3 cup vegetable oil. ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Cooking cakes on asbestos mats

My mother tells me when she was young her mother would bake cakes on an asbestos mat inside a lidded electric frypan. I'd assume the practice is gone now because of the reputation of asbestos, but ...
4
votes
1answer
424 views

Optimal egg size?

Yesterday while making some pancakes I came to the realization that I may have been sabotaging recipes that call for eggs. For years I've always purchased the largest sized eggs I can get in the ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is my quiche soggy?

I have tried making the same quiche recipe twice, but both times it has turned out soggy. I whisked together 3 eggs, milk, half and half, and seasonings and poured it over the crust with ham and ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I stop my brownies from rising?

I have been trying out brownie recipes baked in a muffin tin. I am using the muffin tin so that I can get all edges. (And I have been decorating the tops!) My brownies tend to rise, in my opinion, ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Greasing a pan with butter vs. with shortening

Is there any reason one should prefer one over the other? I've always used shortening (probably because that's what my mom always did), but my fiancee has always used butter. There's no significant ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

Possible to over-knead dough?

It will be my first attempt to bake with yeast this weekend and I'm interested to know how you know when you have kneaded dough enough. Is it possible to over-knead dough? If it makes a difference ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How does replacing some butter with shortening affect rising / leavening in cookies (biscuits)?

I have been replacing half (half a cup) of the butter called for by some cookie recipes with half a cup of shortening and have noticed that some of these cookies rise less than I expect. Is there ...
4
votes
3answers
50k views

What is substitute for rum in baking?

Some cake recipes calls for rum, and there is none available. How to substitute? If possible, it should be non-alcoholic. Also, what is its role in baking or cooking?
3
votes
4answers
3k views

What causes the crown of the bread to crack during baking?

What causes the crown of a bread loaf to crack as it bakes? I would like to prevent it.
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I substitute a stainless steel pot for the traditional iron dutch oven?

I have very limited options in my kitchen, and while the dutch oven is the preferred method for getting an 'oven spring' while baking sourdough, I do not have a cast iron pot to do it. IF stainless ...
3
votes
3answers
800 views

Potatoes in bread? How to estimate potatoes needed?

Just found out that adding potato to a bread recipe can make it softer and more moist. I'd like to experiment with this. If I were following a recipe that didn't include potatoes, how could I modify ...