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

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42
votes
10answers
135k views

How do you make a cake lift equally and minimize doming?

Some time ago, I baked a cake (Sachertorte to be exact). The taste and texture was fine, so my recipe is okay. My biggest issue was the shape. In the middle it was really a lot higher than on the ...
56
votes
9answers
13k views

How can I get chewy chocolate chip cookies?

My chocolate chips cookies are always too crisp. How can I get chewy cookies, like those of Starbucks? Thank you to everyone who has answered. So far the tip that had the biggest impact was to ...
47
votes
2answers
76k views

Why can applesauce be used in place of oil?

In many recipes, mostly desserts, it is suggested that you can substitute oil with applesauce to reduce the fat content. But why applesauce? Is there something special about applesauce or are there ...
20
votes
8answers
43k views

Why are there no recipes combining both yeast and baking powder?

I've never seen anything with both yeast and baking powder. What's the reason for that? Shouldn't e.g. muffins get even more fluffy by adding some yeast? Or bread by adding baking powder? I know there ...
9
votes
3answers
17k views

What does an overnight chill do to cookie dough, that a 4 hour chill doesn't?

I have a high-fat cookie dough (see What ingredient changes will make this cookie dough more workable?) which wants to be chilled in the refrigerator overnight before shaping. I tried to cheat by ...
32
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

Adjusting the baking time for large cakes?

How long should I bake a 13" (330 mm) sponge cake? Which gas mark should I use?
29
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
21k views

What does gluten “do” in baking?

I saw many questions regarding converting baking recipes towards gluten-free, and it seems it's not an easy process. But none of the questions I came across helped me understanding what gluten ...
11
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
21k 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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
6answers
954 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
5answers
68k 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 ...
9
votes
14answers
21k views

Is it possible to bake a cake without an oven?

I don't have an oven; is there any way to simulate what an oven does with any other tools available at my home? In particular I would like to be able to bake cakes.
13
votes
13answers
662k 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: ...
10
votes
5answers
807 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 ...
9
votes
9answers
179k views

Are there any substitutes for Shortening?

I was specifically thinking about the Crisco shortening that is used in baking.
34
votes
15answers
207k 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. ...
12
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
12k views

Why do my pizzas get such hard crusts?

I usually buy ready made pizza base and use it for baking pizzas. All of my pizzas get a very hard and crispy outer crust. Why so? I thought of brushing some oil on the pizza base before I bake it but ...
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?
10
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
59k views

How to convert a recipe calling for active dry yeast into rapid rise yeast?

I have a recipe for rolls where the first stage calls for 2 packages active dry yeast, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water to be mixed until the yeast is proofed, and then 1/4 cup cubed butter is ...
3
votes
5answers
61k views

What is the best way to making a great pavlova base?

What is the best way to making a great pavlova base?
21
votes
9answers
38k 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
2answers
18k views

What ensures big holes in my bread?

Is it a high hydration rate? Minimal kneading? High-protein flour to hold hydration?
8
votes
5answers
6k views

Techniques for making sourdough starter in cold/altitude

I want to try my hand at making sourdough starter but live in high altitude and cold weather. I'm not sure if the altitude is an issue but I don't think my house is warm enough on its own to allow a ...
4
votes
4answers
23k views

Choux pastry (Chocolate eclairs) doesn't cook properly

Last time I tried to make Chocolate eclairs (similar to cream puffs), the choux pastry just sat in the oven and basically fried. It didn't rise/grow and so I couldn't hollow out the shells. Any ...
19
votes
4answers
144k views

What does it mean to “fold in” an ingredient into a mix?

I see this in baking recipes, but I've never been quite clear on the difference between mixing and "folding."
7
votes
7answers
14k views

How do I get my chocolate chip cookies to turn out thick and soft?

How can I get my chocolate chip cookies to come out thick and soft? I always use real butter; is this a problem?
17
votes
4answers
7k 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
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 ...
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
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
13k views

Can I substitute Soy Milk when a recipe for baking calls for regular milk?

If a baking recipe calls for regular milk, can I substitute Soy Milk...
8
votes
5answers
39k views

UK alternative to corn syrup?

I've noticed that often when using recipes from the US that corn syrup is called for, and I was wondering what the best alternative to it would be to get in the UK? I've heard some people saying that ...
4
votes
10answers
66k views

Baking cakes in the Microwave ovens as compared to Electric ovens

Is there a difference in the output or in the procedure when baking cakes in the Microwave ovens as compared to Electric ovens? What are the basic and crucial differences found among cakes baked in ...
31
votes
3answers
115k views

Why use yeast instead of baking powder?

Both yeast and baking powder are used to gas-fill the pastry, make it expand and thus make it soft and fluffy. Using yeast is rather inconvenient - it can be dead already or if the yeast is submerged ...
20
votes
12answers
7k views

For Pizza cooking at home. What is the best alternative to the pizza stone?

For Pizza cooking at home. What is the best alternative to the pizza stone?
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is our oven at work powerful enough to bake pizza?

Do all thick based pizzas require an oven temperature of at least 300°C (575°F) to cook better as per our reference manual?
14
votes
15answers
57k 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.
16
votes
18answers
48k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
34k views

Why doesn't my bread rise in the oven? (Not first rise)

I've been trying to work on nice bread but am having issues with the bread not rising in the oven. The first rise after kneading seems to go well, as does a short rise after shaping but before going ...
9
votes
3answers
81k views

What is the correct ratio to make self-rising flour?

I have a recipe that I've used a couple of times that asks for self-rising flour. Unfortunately, I only have regular AP flour where I am right now. I know self-rising flour is a mixture of AP flour ...
29
votes
4answers
110k 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?
14
votes
5answers
55k 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?
11
votes
9answers
23k 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 ...