Being an avid reader and also a person who is passionate about science ( namely biology and Chemistry ), I am interested in food science as well. I am sure all of you are also equally amazed by how a concoction of ingredients can work together in the oven and magically convert to a delicious cake.
From today, I will be starting my review of baking books, selecting the most important lessons that I feel are applicable to me and you guys ( as my readers ) and also whether should you go and read the book yourself ( expect a yes most of the time! ) I always try my best to invest my time wisely and pick the best books I can find. You can thank me later 😝.
This book has been especially useful because it provides a lot of troubleshooting solutions that I have encountered before ( and hence now explained ).
It also solved many of my curiosities in baking and as promised, I shall now kick start the list of some important and essential baking tips I have learnt from this book!
Take note that there are many other important tips in the book as well, but they’re more specialized such as in pastry making, so do give this book a chance if you’re interested. It’s definitely worth the time! 😜
1. Granulated vs Caster Sugar ; The Differences
We have known that caster sugar is a finer form of granulated sugar but do we know about the differences they play in baking? Here’s a shocking fact: At times, you can’t just simply substitute one for another!
Granulated sugar dissolves slower since they’re bigger. So when replacing caster with granulated, ensure it completely dissolve by either leaving in a bowl of egg mixture being used or over warm water. Or just simply give it more time!
Also, caster sugar is able to incorporate more air when you’re mixing them in. So when making batters that require a lot of air for texture such as sponge cakes, it will definitely be better to use caster instead of granulated.😲
2. Curdling mixtures / batters
Often we will see curdles especially with mixtures that involve butter! Here in this book are some solutions that can help you solve your problem so don’t fret!
Here’s what that caused the problems first.
1. Some ingredients are too cold causing it to be poorly mixed and cause the butter to be hard again.
Solution: You can rewarm the mixture by providing a source of heat such as by placing it in a warm place.
2. Adding the eggs quickly. The emulsion will break down and the batter will fail to trap air if too much eggs are added at one go.
Solution: Add the room temperature eggs slowly to the mixture.
3. Couverture chocolate
These chocolate are different from chocolate chips in terms of their ingredient content.
Couverture chocolate has 32-39% cocoa butter. The more cocoa butter content, the more liquid and pliable the chocolate will be when melted and the easier it will be to be moulded into thin sheets for covering a dessert or mixing with other ingredients.
For more information about which chocolate to use and for which purpose, I feel this website is good to supplement our knowledge as well.
4. Glacé vs Royal vs Fondant icing
All these icings are made of different proportion and components of ingredients albeit icing sugar being the common ingredient. They also have different uses!
mix 100g of icing sugar with 2.5 teaspoons of water or juice.
This is great to ice cakes and for a quick decoration for biscuits.
these are icing sugar made with egg whites and lemon juice. You can control their thickness and hardness by using glycerine at 0.5 teaspoon of glycerine per 500g icing sugar.
They’re great to cover cakes and for decorating biscuits.
If you’re like me and don’t like to use raw egg whites, an option given here is that you can use royal icing sugar which contains dried egg whites. I am not so sure if Singapore sells them though!
Ah the great fondant icing that we see that decorates so many cakes so majestically.
They’re a mixture of icing sugar, water and glucose solution. They’re then formed into a soft dough. Colourings can also be added!
5. Finally. How do you avoid a soggy bottom?Okay to be honest, I felt that this question is absolutely weird if taken out of context but let’s try to stay professional here! Or maybe it’s just me who find it funny?! 😜
The best way recommended by the book is to blind bake the pantry case using baking beans to weigh down so that it cooks evenly.
It is usually caused because the water hasn’t been driven off as the pastry has not reached a sufficient temperature.
You can place the tart tin on a preheated baking stone or a heavy baking sheet to direct heat to the bottom of the pastry case as quickly as possible.
Alternatives suggested for baked cases made in advanced is to waterproof it using beaten egg or melted chocolate. Or maybe a custard based one so that it would be partially cooked before it enters the oven.
All these are very useful information and there are many more other information such as why do cakes sometimes sink in the middle!
I will definitely recommend this book giving it a 5 out of 5 ( 5/5 ). Frankly though, I haven’t tried any of the recipes included but they do seem great and easy to follow!
I might actually try the recipe for Sally Lunn buns because it does seem like quite a unique recipe and I like how there’s also the origin of things explained. At least personally for me! For example I appreciate the electric oven a lot now when I realized bakers of the past had to use firewood, making it an extremely difficult job to control the fire! 😞😞😞
I am really thankful to be able to find such a valuable resource in these public libraries! Hopefully these tips are useful and applicable to you and your bakes too 😊
May you be able to solve your issue of a soggy bottom! Hehe 😋😋😋
Let’s learn together! 😎
Bakeomaniac, Javier Tan