Ever wondered what it means when recipes call for “cream butter and sugar”, “cut fat into flour mixture”… … Even if you are familiar with what these baking terms mean, it is useful to know the proper techniques. So here’s a guide to common baking terms and useful tips that would come in handy when baking 🙂
Baking in batches
After you have removed the first batch of baked goods off the oven tray, it is wise to let the tray cool down to room temperature before placing the next batch of batter. This is particularly referring to cookies as when you place the uncooked cookie dough onto a hot tray, the cookie spreads and loses its shape even before going into the oven. Also, there would be an increased risk of the cookie having burnt edges and turning out flat.
Beating egg whites
The key in forming stiff, high peaks of meringue from egg whites is to use clean grease-free beaters and bowls. Another tip is to use room temperature egg whites as it allows higher peaks to form.
When you see grainy white clumps, you have over beaten the egg mixture and the beater is breaking apart the network of air. Over beating also results in a pool of clear liquid under the peaks. This liquid cannot form stiff peaks.
Adding eggs one at a time
After creaming butter and sugar, many recipes call for eggs to be added. Eggs should be added one at a time and mixed well before the next egg is added to allow the butter and sugar mixture to effectively retain it’s the trapped air. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl to allow the mixture to be mixed evenly.
The first sign of boiling is the formation of small bubbles at the edge of the pan. If you heat the pan longer, bubbles would form in the middle of the pan which pops at the surface. Bubbles formed are small and this is called simmering. Adjust the temperature if you do not want the liquid to boil constantly. Boiling the liquid means that bubbles form and break continuously on the surface of the liquid.
Chilling is usually required for cookie dough or for making pastry. Place the dough into a plastic bag and flattened it using a rolling pin. This allows the dough to chill faster and allows you to roll the dough out easily. Chilling the dough firms the fat allowing the flour more time to absorb the liquid evenly. Also, it allows the cookie to be shaped and transferred to the baking tray more easily.