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Questions tagged [baking]

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

59
votes
11answers
30k 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 chill ...
53
votes
2answers
114k 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 ...
52
votes
14answers
14k views

How do I get something sticky like honey or Golden Syrup off measuring spoons or measuring cups? Is there a better way?

When I put honey in a spoon or measuring cup, the residue stays and it’s hard to get all of it out. How do I make it all come out? Is there a way to measure honey without leaving honey on a spoon?
48
votes
10answers
209k 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
166k 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 ...
37
votes
15answers
354k 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. ...
37
votes
3answers
18k 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 ...
35
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are baking measurements such nice round numbers?

I've heard over and over that when it comes to baking, measurements cannot be ignored, and you need to be very precise. This question covers how precise a measurement of flour should be, for example. ...
34
votes
2answers
91k views

What are the impacts of common pizza dough errors?

I'm diving into the world of making pizzas from scratch, and I'd like to take a systematic approach to the possible mistakes I could make with regards to the dough. What impact do each of the ...
33
votes
7answers
13k views

Can one bake a cake with a cooked egg instead of a raw one?

This recent question about a person who wanted to bake a cake but only had a cooked egg left suggested me an even stupider one: is it possible to bake a cake with a cooked egg instead of a raw one? ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

Theoretical: why there's no gradient of doneness in bread?

I was always wondering, why there's no gradient of doneness visible on the cuts of bigger breads. For example: This one was made in the baking form, it has a thin visible crust, but after that the ...
32
votes
4answers
183k 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?
31
votes
7answers
15k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
19k views

Why would you place potatoes on salt when baking in the oven?

Several of my recipe books call for baking potatoes on a layer of (rock) salt, e.g. I'm currently following one for gnocchi that has this very instruction. Searching yields many recipes, but I can't ...
30
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does my glaze soak into my doughnuts?

I fried up some yummy doughnuts and let them cool. Shortly after glazing them, I noticed that the glaze has soaked into the doughnuts. How can I prevent this from happening?
29
votes
10answers
94k views

How warm must dough be in order to rise?

While making some focaccia this afternoon, my wife said, "sure the house is 'warm'; it'll be fine." One hour later, no rising. It may be worth noting that our house is 66F. So we stuck it in a warm ...
26
votes
3answers
7k views

Is there any way to bring an egg to its natural state (not boiled) after you cook it?

This is probably a stupid question, but I'm curious now after I opened the refrigerator looking for eggs to make a cake and there was only one and it was cooked. Is there any way to undo that, whether ...
26
votes
4answers
8k views

Does resting the dough for a long time reduce the need to knead the bread?

In this article by Chef Michael Smith, he mentions a recipe where leaving the dough to rest for 18 hours removes the need to knead the bread. Is this a viable alternative? I've tried the recipe and ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

How to prepare butter for baking when time is limited?

From my experience, the best way to use butter when baking is to let it soften to room temperature. However, sometimes one is short on time and must use the microwave to soften the butter. I always ...
24
votes
8answers
86k 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 ...
24
votes
9answers
103k views

When baking, is it better to use a gas or electric oven?

I'm looking for an oven and wanted to know if there is any difference between a gas or electric oven when it comes to baking things like cakes, biscuits and scones?
24
votes
3answers
96k 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 ...
24
votes
1answer
23k views

Egg yolks vs Whole eggs

I'm about to make cinnamon rolls & one recipe calls for 2 whole eggs. The other recipe calls for 3 egg yolks. Which one will give me a moist, soft, cinnamon roll?
23
votes
24answers
96k 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
17k views

What is the criss-cross pattern on top of peanut butter cookies used for?

I've been making peanut butter cookies, but skipping the step of pressing the top of the cookie down with a fork. What does this step do for the cookies?
23
votes
4answers
9k views

How do I ensure that pita forms a nice big, even pocket when baking?

I have the opposite problem as Amir's question about thick, fluffy pitas. Whenever I make pita, it's nice and thick and fluffy, but the pocket is small or nonexistent. I would like to use my pita for ...
22
votes
3answers
820 views

Pizza baking order

First few times I thought it was coincidence but now I'm puzzled. I'm baking two pizzas, one after another, made from the same dough and with the same ingredients. Every time, the second pizza base is ...
22
votes
2answers
32k views

Can you re-use parchment paper when baking batches of cookies?

I just finished making cookies. The dough was enough to make multiple batches. I only have one baking sheet. Every time a batch was ready, I used new parchment paper on the baking sheet. Is this ...
22
votes
5answers
112k views

When to use convection/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?
21
votes
4answers
205k 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."
21
votes
14answers
202k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
5k views

How was the usage of yeast for bread discovered?

From where did people get the yeast for their bread??
21
votes
6answers
292k 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? ...
21
votes
9answers
69k 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?
20
votes
12answers
11k 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?
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it okay to measure flour by weight by converting from volume?

I don't have a big jar to put my flour in so it's hard to measure by volume (you have to fluff the flour, pour it into a cup and then remove the excess - which cant be done outside of the original bag)...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

Mystery ingredient in cookies with cream tartar

The attached picture is of a cookie recipe from my grandmother who passed a year ago. I would like to make the cookies, especially since they share my daughter's name, but there is one ingredient that ...
20
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the point of a baking rack?

I notice when I bake cookies (usually chocolate chip or peanut butter) the recipe often says "place on baking rack to cool". Because I don't have one, I just place them on a plate after removing them ...
20
votes
3answers
37k views

What role do eggs play in baking?

Why do we use eggs in cake baking?
20
votes
1answer
5k views

How much salt can I safely add to bread dough?

I recently made ciabatta, which turned out very well, with a good crust and nice open crumb. However, I felt it could use more salt to give extra flavour. I'm aware that salt and yeast do not make ...
19
votes
17answers
103k 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.
19
votes
12answers
188k views

How to stop my cupcakes from sticking to their cupcake wrappers?

I have found that every time I make cupcakes (or muffins, cornbread & hot dog muffins, etc) that the paper liner sticks to the finished cupcake. I know its not me because the Tim Hortons 'muffins' ...
19
votes
5answers
36k views

How can I identify dutch process cocoa?

I have a hard time finding "dutch process cocoa" in the store sometimes. What other names might dutch process cocoa be known as? Is there something else in the ingredients that might identify ...
19
votes
2answers
39k views

When baking a cake that calls for butter, should you use salted or unsalted?

I'm baking a cake using a cake mix and extra ingredients. It calls for 5 tbsp of butter, but I'm not sure which to use, salted or unsalted. What difference would it make??
19
votes
4answers
39k views

Why do my brownies inconsistently end up hard and thin?

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 ...
19
votes
10answers
410k views

Is granulated sugar (American) the same as caster sugar (UK)?

I have an american cake recipe which includes 'granulated sugar', would this be uk caster sugar? It is for the stage when you beat in with the butter?
19
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
141k 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?
18
votes
5answers
73k 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?
18
votes
5answers
134k 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 ...