1 December 2011

Baking Tech-nics

Cake on Technic turntable
Photography by Lucienne Sencier
What's on:
♬'The Ultimate Pink Panther' By Henri Mancini

Until my new flashlight arrives blogging evening meals are on standby. I am gutted. Asparagus and prawn risotto was on my plate tonight but the outside night light would have made it look like fishy green rice pudding. Come on, you know what I am talking about! Some of the dishes on this blog have shadows and lighting is not perfect. Unfortunately I don't have £1200 to buy the latest Canon camera, only £40 for a fancy attachment.

I'm going to take this time to blog about something that has been sitting in the drafts folder for a long time...baking techniques. I've always wanted to do a post about this because I think it's important to know what your doing and why you are doing it.

Let's just get straight in with a few references to music...of course!

"Just BEAT it"

Stirring really quickly in a circular motion using wooden spoon, whisk or any other mixing utensil. This way you incorporate a lot of air into the mixture.

♬  'Beat It' By Michael Jackson

"CREAM Don't You Stop"

Known as the 'sugar shortening' method because the fat and sugar should be added first. When creaming, small air pockets are formed making the mixture larger in volume and softer in consistency. To get this right the fat should not be too hot or too cold, nightmare yes! Who has time to check the temperature of the butter! Seriously: maybe take butter out the fridge 1 hour before baking. 
Curdling means eggs were added early and there is more liquid for the fat cells to hold on to. Patience will make the right sponge.

♬ 'Cream' By Prince and the New Power Generation

"Want some DRIZZLE"

Let the sauce fall in small particles or spontaneously over the cake. With icing this creates a light covering on a cake for people who don't want too much on top, or a method used for a thin sauce to sink in a cake to make the sponge moist.

♬ 'Springtime' By Spinal Tap


By using a spatula cut through the mixture vertically then sweep the spatula up to the side of the bowl, scooping up the batter from the bottom to bring it to the top - rotate the bowl a quarter while doing this. Slowly does it, so the new ingredient or batter doesn't deflate. When a light mixture is on top of a heavy mixture folding gets loads more air in the batter.

"GREASE is the word"

To prevent food from sticking coat the baking dish with fat or oil.

'Grease Soundtrack Version' By Frankie Valli

"KNEAD me too"

Ever felt uptight you can't contain it all? Start kneading; let the dough take the pressure off! By using your hands or a dough attachment, the gluten in the mixture has time to develop and elasticise. Push into the dough with one fist and then bring the top back to the bottom. You should find that the dough tries to spring back, you are essentially grabbing and locking in air.

♬ 'Paper Doll' By Lisa Germano

"It's a fine LINE"

Lining a tin with greaseproof paper is a bit fussy for me but needs to be done so the sides of the cake do not stick. Unless the cake tin is a decent quality then you might not need to line it. When cut and lined properly a cake can turn out evenly shaped at the bottom and round the sides.

♬  'Split Decision' By Eric Clapton

"WHISK Whisk Here"

A kitchen tool with looped wires and this utensil combines two or more ingredients. Another method to incorporate air and maintain greater volume. Did you know by whisking eggs that are left at room temperature you are more likely to achieve an aerated cake texture? Well now you do! The lecithin in the egg yolk surrounds the bubbles in the foam of the cake batter. 

 'A Woman's Touch' By Doris Day

More to come soon! I have an early yoga session and today's lack of water means it's going to be a tough class.