Overbaked, undermixed: The challenges of baking

Over-baked, under-mixed: The challenges of baking

Baking is a tricky little art. Reading a recipe seems straightforward enough. Measure ingredients, mix together, and bake. These simple instructions should create the perfect cookie, batter or dough. Mix those ingredients too much (over creaming them) and you are left with lacy, crunchy cookies or an overly, aerated batter. Under-mix the ingredients and you have cake-y cookies and batter with bits of butter and sugar about it. Butter too cold: that dough won’t cream the same. Water not warm: no elasticity in your dough. Misread a recipe, skip over a step, forget an ingredient, and the whole thing may go down; way down into the garbage, a causality of pastry battles. Every element’s handling is vital and a change in each can garner a different result. Of course this means the same recipe could turn out different numerous times, and getting it right often may just be luck. With so many elements and so much to concentrate on, pastry certainly is a tricky art.

Getting over these adversities means being meticulous. Reading a recipe thoroughly before beginning it. Measuring and measuring again every ingredient. Studying text on how ingredients work together and how each should be handled in order to produce the desired result. Working at it, practicing over and over again in order to master the minute skills of art. Trying to understand failures and working to improve recipes in the future. Those without the lucky touch of a pastry chef who seems to always get it right must work at it. The perfect cookies, beautiful bread, and smooth custards will be all the reward needed for the hard work pastry can be.

Of course, even if the elements are right and all the ingredients are accounted for, even then a recipe may fail. A poorly written recipe may be the cause, which means back to the testing board to try again. Was the oven too hot? Were the eggs too cold? Was there enough flour? Should the tart shell be par baked? Should the butter be room temperature? All these details can be vital in perfecting a recipe, and this becomes the focus of those dedicated to pastry and to their recipes. Frustrating as it may be to turn out cakes or candies that are not quite right time and time again, it is these tests that create tried and true recipes and teach the intricacies of the pastry arts. So although it may be difficult, trying at it over and over again is the way to win the pastry battle and create the perfect cookie, cake or dough.

Look forward to more thoroughly tested recipes and pastry battle wins coming soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: