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What are the similarities and differences of pastry chefs based on their baking techniques?

Source: Woman’s Day

Title: 10 Baking Tips from the Pros

Author: Mandy Major

Published : January 13 2014

When is comes to baking, timing is everything.  For most people, timing is simply looking at the clock. When in fact, it is when you put eggs to a cake batter one at a time.

One should pay attention to the butter’s temperature. A butter’s temperature is very important. Most of the pastries we bake requires a butter to be at room temperature. A butter should not be too hard nor too soft. When making pie crusts or biscuits, it is important to use a cold butter. Using cold butter when making  pie crusts or biscuits so that they will be crispy.

Freezers are also important in baking. It is good for cookie doughs to be put in the freezer first before baking. Shaping the cookie doughs and putting it in the freezer is also allowed.

Knowing the flours that should be used in baking is a must. There are a lot of flours that are used in baking. When baking breads, flours that are high in protein should be used. The higher the protein the stronger gluten it builds. When baking cakes, cake flour is recommended because it is low in protein. Flours that are low in protein are softer. For cookies, all-purpose flour should be used.

Less is more when it comes to dough. A baker’s worst nightmare is when his or her dough is overworked. Overworked is when a baked good is stretchy and sticky. Your workplace should be cool before handling the dough. Always use your fingertips in handling the dough because they are cooler than your palms.

Using these tools makes baking a lot easier. Parchment paper is important for bakers. It is used to line cookies and cake pans. Baked goods are easier to remove when using parchment paper because the baked goods will not stick on the paper. “The best way to cook everything in pastry is with parchment,” (Payard). Other useful tools in baking include disposable plastic pastry bags for piping and decorating ; an off-set spatula for icing cakes or mixing doughs ; and cling wrap for rolling out dough.

Your oven’s temperature changes over time. Ovens should be checked first before baking. This should be done because the inside parts of the baked goods can be uncooked because of the change in temperature. One way to check if your oven’s temperature is right is to place a 1/2 cup of 70°F tap water in an oven-proof measuring cup on the middle rack of a 350°F oven and allow it to bake for 15 minutes. If the oven is accurate, the water will be 150°F after 15 minutes.

Weighing is the most accurate form of measurement. Most people use measuring cups and spoons in measuring wet and dry ingredients. But pastry chefs say measuring is best done with weighing them.

When short on ingredients, make them. Jai Kendall states that when short on cake flour, buttermilk, brown sugar, or olive oil there are a lot of different ingredients in order to make them.

Experiment on baked goods. When you are tired in making the same baked goods, try to experiment with them. Experimenting can ruin or make the baked goods better. Vincent states that she “used to sift dry ingredients for a variety of recipes at one time and place them in individual freezer bags. Then it was just matter of creaming butter and sugar,  adding the eggs one at a time then pouring in the dry ingredients—one messy floury cleanup instead of three or four”.

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