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

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41
votes
10answers
93k 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 ...
54
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
43
votes
2answers
56k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
8answers
25k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
59k views

What Kind of Frosting Doesn't Need To Be Refrigerated?

I'm looking for a frosting that I can leave on the counter (under a cover of some kind) for a few days. What kind of frosting (for a cake or cupcakes) would stand up to this? Update: Ideally, I ...
8
votes
3answers
40k 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 ...
13
votes
13answers
527k 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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
772 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. ...
7
votes
6answers
10k 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?
1
vote
3answers
3k 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?
16
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
746 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 ...
33
votes
15answers
145k 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. ...
6
votes
7answers
73k views

Are there any substitutes for Shortening?

I was specifically thinking about the Crisco shortening that is used in baking.
16
votes
4answers
100k 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."
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?
10
votes
5answers
5k 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
5answers
12k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
27k views

How to convert a muffin/cupcake recipe to a large muffin recipe

I'm looking at the side of my "breakfast - O - meal" box at a recipe for 12 muffins. The kind you would use with a standard muffin tin. What kind of variation should can I use to make the recipe work ...
3
votes
5answers
44k views

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

What is the best way to making a great pavlova base?
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Can vegetable juices stop bread from rising?

I used vegetables juice for the additional liquid ingredients in milk bread, and it didn't rise. I think there is something in vegetables juice that killed the fermentation of dough. This is a study, ...
20
votes
9answers
25k 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?
6
votes
3answers
1k 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?
11
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
25k 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? ...
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?
8
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
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"?
11
votes
1answer
4k 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
2answers
11k 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
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
8k 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...
7
votes
4answers
20k 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
45k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

How to make a sandwich bread with a very soft crust? And what is the ideal temperature to bake sandwich bread?

I have to ask this question as I really tried hard to achieve a soft crust for sandwich bread but couldn't succeed. I have tried lots of techniques and different recipes but I really couldn't make a ...
26
votes
3answers
74k 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 ...
18
votes
12answers
5k 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?
12
votes
12answers
34k 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.
8
votes
2answers
10k views

What ensures big holes in my bread?

Is it a high hydration rate? Minimal kneading? High-protein flour to hold hydration?
11
votes
5answers
40k 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
16k 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 ...