Questions tagged [baking]

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

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59 votes
11 answers
52k 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 ...
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  • 4,583
57 votes
2 answers
135k 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 ...
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  • 1,189
54 votes
15 answers
17k 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?
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52 votes
10 answers
283k 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 ...
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  • 13.2k
43 votes
15 answers
665k 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. ...
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43 votes
4 answers
195k 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 ...
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  • 1,273
38 votes
2 answers
130k 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 ...
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  • 769
37 votes
3 answers
7k views

How did replacing flour in muffins go so wrong?

I had a whole bag of Cocoa Puffs that had gone stale, and thought it would be fun to mess around and see if I could bake something with them. So I aimed for muffins. I more or less based it on a ...
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37 votes
3 answers
24k 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 ...
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  • 7,052
35 votes
4 answers
4k 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. ...
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  • 1,770
34 votes
7 answers
18k 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 ...
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  • 1,693
34 votes
4 answers
205k 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?
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  • 2,302
34 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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33 votes
10 answers
138k 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 ...
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  • 18.9k
33 votes
5 answers
27k 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 ...
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  • 2,961
32 votes
7 answers
15k 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? ...
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30 votes
7 answers
25k views

How can I tell the difference between unmarked sugar and stevia?

My wife just started back on her doctor-recommended ketogenic diet (due to a medical history of high blood pressure and Crohn's disease in her family). She's to have reduced carbohydrates and sugars, ...
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  • 1,185
30 votes
1 answer
7k 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?
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  • 601
29 votes
6 answers
378k 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? ...
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  • 2,460
29 votes
6 answers
208k 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?
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  • 393
27 votes
4 answers
105k 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 ...
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  • 503
27 votes
4 answers
15k 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 ...
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  • 1,794
26 votes
7 answers
23k views

What to use instead of cling film to wrap pastry

I'm trying to stay away from single use plastics for the environment. The only kitchen thing I have not yet managed to find a substitute for is wrapping pastry in cling film to let it rest in the ...
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  • 10.5k
26 votes
8 answers
145k 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 ...
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  • 271
26 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 697
26 votes
15 answers
382k 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 ...
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  • 1,546
26 votes
4 answers
13k 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 ...
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  • 5,249
26 votes
6 answers
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 ...
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25 votes
9 answers
122k 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?
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  • 5,518
24 votes
6 answers
23k 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?
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  • 7,879
24 votes
2 answers
53k 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 ...
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  • 13.2k
24 votes
1 answer
30k 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?
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  • 297
23 votes
5 answers
3k views

Which measuring scale should I buy?

I am trying to buy a measuring scale so that I can stop using cups and start measuring by weight. I’m personally not sure which to buy. Here are two options: Can some experienced bakers out there ...
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  • 231
23 votes
25 answers
153k 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 ...
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  • 2,379
23 votes
1 answer
10k 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 ...
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22 votes
18 answers
148k 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.
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22 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
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22 votes
3 answers
88k views

What ensures big holes in my bread?

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

Do modern ovens bake the same as the old ones? Is the new oven the reason popovers don't rise?

My popovers always popped over perfectly tall and golden using an old recipe handed down from the 40's, which called for baking at 400 °F and using old-fashioned glass custard cups. Now with my new ...
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  • 321
21 votes
13 answers
13k 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?
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  • 416
21 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why not make sourdough bread from young starter?

I made my own starter 3-4 days ago, and it has been growing well; I have fed it twice so far. As far as I know, it is recommended that you feed starter for about 7-0 days before you use it to make ...
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  • 591
21 votes
4 answers
222k 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."
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  • 425
21 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
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  • 1,081
21 votes
2 answers
9k views

How was the usage of yeast for bread discovered?

From where did people get the yeast for their bread??
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  • 313
21 votes
9 answers
120k 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?
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  • 13.1k
21 votes
2 answers
698k views

Is it okay to use aluminium foil instead of parchment paper while baking cookies?

I don't have access to parchment paper or even butter paper for that matter. I just read on a website that it'd be okay to use aluminium foil as long as I apply a coating of grease on it. And also ...
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  • 1,053
21 votes
10 answers
470k 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?
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  • 211
20 votes
3 answers
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)...
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  • 5,795
20 votes
6 answers
9k views

I want my potatoes to be baked within an hour, but I forgot to preheat the oven. Should I put them in while preheating or not?

I forgot to preheat the oven while prepping my potatoes to be baked. Dinnertime is one hour away. I put them in anyway and turned on the oven. My spouse says I should not put them in yet because ...
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  • 201
20 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
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