Author Topic: Secrets from a Baker  (Read 27914 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Dindrane

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15328
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2012, 03:52:46 PM »
Another baking secret I have learned is that, if you are like me and can't make decent-tasting pie crust from scratch to save your life, use a food processor. :)

I have a 7-cup Cuisinart, and it's big enough to make a recipe for 2 pie crusts.  You add the flour and chillled butter/vegetable shortening and pulse the mixture until it looks a bit like cornmeal.  Then you add the ice-cold water and pulse until the dough just forms.  At that point, you scrape it out onto a floured surface, roll out the crust, and you're good to go.

I've never been very good at cutting butter into flour with a fork or with two knives (and I don't have a special implement for it because I don't make pie crust often).  I've also been told you can use your fingers, but I'm not nearly fast enough about it to get all the butter worked in before it gets warm.  So the food processor makes a recipe that I've always struggled with darned near fool-proof.

I've never tried it with making biscuits, but I kind of suspect it would help keep them from getting all rubbery on me.  That, and using cake flour instead of my usual all-purpose.


LadyJaneinMD

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2504
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2012, 11:04:47 AM »
Thread created to transfer knowledge of baking practices, tips, and tricks. Please feel free to post your questions

Please tell me more about pouring sugar syrup onto  cake layers to make it moist?  How much sugar syrup?  I'm talking about your standard 8-inch cake layers, not something industrial-sized.

When I worked at the bakery, it was 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water.  Boil until dissolved.
When cool, flavor with extracts, alcohol, etc.
Using a food-safe paint brush, dip brush in syrup and brush on the top of each layer.

We usually used used rum, Patron Citronge, vanilla, or nothing at all to flavor the syrup.

There is a huge difference in taste when you do this. I tried it once when I was in college and now I only don't do this when I make a cake for someone I really don't care for.

Thank you, everyone!  It sounds marvelous!  I'll have to try it someday.

CakeBeret

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4242
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2012, 11:34:08 AM »
Another baking secret I have learned is that, if you are like me and can't make decent-tasting pie crust from scratch to save your life, use a food processor. :)

I have a 7-cup Cuisinart, and it's big enough to make a recipe for 2 pie crusts.  You add the flour and chillled butter/vegetable shortening and pulse the mixture until it looks a bit like cornmeal.  Then you add the ice-cold water and pulse until the dough just forms.  At that point, you scrape it out onto a floured surface, roll out the crust, and you're good to go.

I've never been very good at cutting butter into flour with a fork or with two knives (and I don't have a special implement for it because I don't make pie crust often).  I've also been told you can use your fingers, but I'm not nearly fast enough about it to get all the butter worked in before it gets warm.  So the food processor makes a recipe that I've always struggled with darned near fool-proof.

I've never tried it with making biscuits, but I kind of suspect it would help keep them from getting all rubbery on me.  That, and using cake flour instead of my usual all-purpose.

I agree with this! One of the first things I did when I got my food processor was make pie crust.

I cube the butter first and put it in the freezer for a few minutes. When it is very cold and almost frozen, I add to the food processor and process very briefly, until the butter is cut down into pea size chunks, and then add ice water. Process very briefly until the dough just forms.

Once you have the dough, refrigerate for an hour before rolling it. Roll it between two sheets of parchment paper. Freeze it for 10 minutes before transferring it to a pie plate.

Keeping it very cold preserves the integrity of the butter so that it melts into flaky deliciousness in the oven. It also makes the dough infinitely easier to work with, both with the rolling and with transferring it to the pie plate.


My question:

Is there a way to get softer, fluffier biscuits or rolls out of whole wheat flour, without adding white flour? I've tried using vital wheat gluten and it helps a bit, but I just cannot get that perfectly soft fluffiness without using 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

Namárië

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1997
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2012, 11:43:54 AM »
Another fun piecrust tip is to add some vodka to it in addition to the water. The crust is easier to handle (and therefore less tough) but the booze cooks off, which doesn't leave the crust soggy like water would. Also: vodka! :D
Competence is a trap!
I mostly don't make stuff, but sometimes I do: http://initiationcreation.blogspot.com

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4508
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #49 on: April 17, 2012, 12:52:30 PM »
Another baking secret I have learned is that, if you are like me and can't make decent-tasting pie crust from scratch to save your life, use a food processor. :)

I have a 7-cup Cuisinart, and it's big enough to make a recipe for 2 pie crusts.  You add the flour and chillled butter/vegetable shortening and pulse the mixture until it looks a bit like cornmeal.  Then you add the ice-cold water and pulse until the dough just forms.  At that point, you scrape it out onto a floured surface, roll out the crust, and you're good to go.

I've never been very good at cutting butter into flour with a fork or with two knives (and I don't have a special implement for it because I don't make pie crust often).  I've also been told you can use your fingers, but I'm not nearly fast enough about it to get all the butter worked in before it gets warm.  So the food processor makes a recipe that I've always struggled with darned near fool-proof.

I've never tried it with making biscuits, but I kind of suspect it would help keep them from getting all rubbery on me.  That, and using cake flour instead of my usual all-purpose.

I agree with this! One of the first things I did when I got my food processor was make pie crust.


I cube the butter first and put it in the freezer for a few minutes. When it is very cold and almost frozen, I add to the food processor and process very briefly, until the butter is cut down into pea size chunks, and then add ice water. Process very briefly until the dough just forms.

Once you have the dough, refrigerate for an hour before rolling it. Roll it between two sheets of parchment paper. Freeze it for 10 minutes before transferring it to a pie plate.

Keeping it very cold preserves the integrity of the butter so that it melts into flaky deliciousness in the oven. It also makes the dough infinitely easier to work with, both with the rolling and with transferring it to the pie plate.


My question:

Is there a way to get softer, fluffier biscuits or rolls out of whole wheat flour, without adding white flour? I've tried using vital wheat gluten and it helps a bit, but I just cannot get that perfectly soft fluffiness without using 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour.

Softer no, because there is more gluten than in white flour and you can't get around that.  You may want to go with all shortening since it will help it to come out a little fluffier

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13507
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #50 on: April 17, 2012, 03:38:10 PM »
Up the amount of baking powder a little, too.  If your recipe calls for 1 tbsp, I'd add an extra tsp. for a total of 4 tsp.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

buvezdevin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1458
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #51 on: April 17, 2012, 04:16:10 PM »
I have long yearned for a *really* "lemony" lemon cake.  While I have tried some recipes which I very much enjoyed (one was a Barefoot Countessa recipe, good but still not lemon nirvana) none have produced the lemon-isousness which I crave.

Some have included a simple syrup cooked with lemon (juice or peel, I cannot remember just now), and per some prior tips in this thread, I would now try that whether the recipe called for it or not.

If PastryGoddess or anyone has a tip, trick, or approach/recipe to up the lemon flavor in any baked good, I would much appreciate it.
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

CakeBeret

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4242
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2012, 04:19:29 PM »
I've found that using both lemon juice and lemon zest make for a really good lemony cake.

A month or so I made a lemon cake and frosted it with cream cheese icing. It was goooooood. Sadly I don't remember the recipe.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4105
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #53 on: April 17, 2012, 04:20:45 PM »
I once used limes to make a thick syrup - really intense flavor - and then soaked the cake with it.  It was quite tart & really yummy.  My cake was coconut/lime, but you could probably do the same thing with the actual lemon cake.  Maybe layer some lemon curd on top as well?

wheeitsme

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3960
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #54 on: April 17, 2012, 07:34:11 PM »
I have long yearned for a *really* "lemony" lemon cake.  While I have tried some recipes which I very much enjoyed (one was a Barefoot Countessa recipe, good but still not lemon nirvana) none have produced the lemon-isousness which I crave.

Some have included a simple syrup cooked with lemon (juice or peel, I cannot remember just now), and per some prior tips in this thread, I would now try that whether the recipe called for it or not.

If PastryGoddess or anyone has a tip, trick, or approach/recipe to up the lemon flavor in any baked good, I would much appreciate it.

When I get home, I will send you my mother's recipe for Lemon Jello Cake.  It is awesome. Nothing I made in the fancy bakery topped the lemony goodness of that cake.

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #55 on: April 17, 2012, 07:57:06 PM »
I too love using zest in the batter, in the syrup and the frosting.  If you want intense lemony flavor, but not wanting to use too much juice as the water content can "upset" the balance the dry/wet ratio.  If you can find lemon juice powder.  It's awesome.


Google Lemon Juice Powder.

Isometric

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 717
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #56 on: April 17, 2012, 08:07:47 PM »
Hi Pastry Goddess,

Thanks for making me hungry!

Some allergy related baking questions...

Any tips on working with gluten free flour? It seems to crumble and fall apart. This is following any normal recipe but substituting normal flour for GF.

What can I use instead of egg in a cake recipe? I use eggs as little as possible because they kind of freak me out! (weird, I know)

Thanks  :D

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13507
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #57 on: April 17, 2012, 08:10:23 PM »
You need to use 1 tsp of Xantham gum plus a tsp of liquid for each cup of substituted GF flour.  I also find that cake recipes with a lot of natural moisture, like carrot cake, fare better than dryer cakes.

I've made my chocolate chip cookies with GF flour.  You couldn't tell they were GF.

I can't help with the eggs, though.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

buvezdevin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1458
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #58 on: April 17, 2012, 08:13:35 PM »
I am so appreciative of these suggestions, and am looking forward to trying them *all*!

wheeitsme, I will much appreciate that recipe.

Zilla, I love you.  I had not heard of lemon juice powder.  I googled.  King Arthur makes some, and I use and love many of their products.

NyaChan, as much as I lurv lemon curd, I thank you for suggesting I use it to good effect beyond occasional toast.  And the idea of a thicker flavored syrup, too.

Cakeberet, ooh, cream cheese icing in combo with a cake which has lemon juice and peel.  Sighing with happiness at the thought.

Thank you!

Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

CuriousParty

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1224
Re: Secrets from a Baker
« Reply #59 on: April 17, 2012, 08:35:48 PM »

When I get home, I will send you post my mother's recipe for Lemon Jello Cake.  It is awesome. Nothing I made in the fancy bakery topped the lemony goodness of that cake.

Fixed that for you (pretty please?) :)