Methods of Baking
Everything gets dumped in together- BUT:
- If you’re using active dry yeast or fresh yeast, proof it first in a bit of water and some sugar to make sure it is strong and healthy, and to dissolve it.
- If you’re making a richer dough like a foccacia or brioche, add the fat after the gluten has had a chance to develop. You can tell that it is ready by taking a small piece of the dough and stretching it between your fingers. If you can see stringy bits in the dough and it stretches thin, then you’ve got your gluten developed. If you add the fat too soon, it’ll “shorten” the gluten and you’ll end up with a mealy bread which isn’t very tasty.
Muffin, or Blending
- Mix all wet ingredients together, including liquid fat (oil or melted butter/shortening).
- Sift/whisk all dry ingredients together.
- Mix dry and wet ingredients together by hand to prevent over mixing or lowest speed on a mixer.
There may even be lumps of flour still visible.
- If you over mix using the muffin method, your treats will be rubbery because the gluten has had the chance to strengthen.
- Tunnels form in muffins that have been over mixed. The gluten is stronger, so as the gas bubbles get bigger they are forced to the top.
- The basis of the creaming method are the use of a solid fat and sugar(s.) The sugar pushes air into the fat. The butter will be lighter in color but the granules of sugar can still be felt if you rub the butter/sugar mixture between your fingers.
- Over-creaming can take place and the butter/sugar mixture will start to look greasy and separated. When rubbed between your fingers, the mixture will feel smooth because the sugar has been dissolved. Over-creaming causes excess spread in baked products.
- At higher altitudes, the creaming must be carefully controlled because we do not need as much air for leavening purposes as lower altitudes do. Incorporating too much air, even though the butter/sugar mixture has not been over-creamed will yield results as though it has or that there is excess leavening.
- After the fat and sugar is creamed together, the eggs are added which will help the emulsification of the liquid ingredients into the sugar/fat base.
- Mixing the eggs together before adding to the sugar/fat base allows the emulsifiers in the yolks to speed up the mixing process.
- The liquid and dry ingredients are then added alternately.
Biscuit, or Rubbing
- Cut solid fat into sifted dry ingredients.
- Fat size affects flake size
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and add liquid ingredients. The dough should be sticky.