Flashcards in CONCEPT 42: TWO LEAVENERS ARE OFTEN BETTER THAN ONE Deck (86):
Why did the advent of chemical leaveners in the 19th century make it easier for cooks to bake at home?
They didn't have to rely on fickle yeast in order to make cake; chemical leaveners are quick and reliable.
Are chemical leaveners confusing?
Quick breads, muffins, and biscuits as well as cookies get their rise from what?
The gas that causes baked goods to rise.
Chemical leaveners work with what to create carbon dioxide?
How long does it take to produce carbon dioxide when baking soda and acid interact?
Immediately, forming bubble in the batter or dough.
List 4 acidic ingredients used for baking.
Molasses, buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, yogurt.
What happens if you use too little baking soda in a recipe?
You won't have enough bubbles and the dough won't rise.
What happens if you use too much baking soda?
You end up with too much carbon dioxide, which causes the bubbles to get too big. These large bubbles eventually join up and burst, resulting in a flat finished product.
What does too much baking soda do to taste?
You end up with a metallic tasting, coarse crumbed quick bread or cake.
Is baking soda alkaline?
How much baking soda is in baking powder? What is the rest?
Baking soda makes up about one-quarter to one-third of baking powder. The rest is a dry acid, such as cream of tartar, and double-dried cornstarch.
Why is double-dried cornstarch added to baking powder?
It absorbs moisture and keeps the baking soda and dry acid apart during storage, preventing premature production of gas.
What happens when moisture is added to baking powder?
The dry acid comes into contact with the baking soda, producing carbon dioxide.
When do cooks use baking powder?
When there is no naturally acidity in the batter or dough.
How many kinds of baking powder are there? Explain.
One, single-acting baking powder has only one acid combined with the baking soda--a quick-acting acid that begins to work when liquid is added to the batter. Two, a double-acting baking powder (virtually all supermarket brands) has two or more acids added to the baking soda.
Besides cream of tartar, what other acid is found in double-acting baking soda? Explain.
Sodium aluminum sulfate, also known as alum, begins to work after the dish is put in the oven, when its temperature climbs above 120ºF.
Does test kitchen recommend single or double acting? Why?
Double-acting. Baked goods rise higher since most of the rise with baking powder occurs at oven temperatures. Also, single-acting doesn't provide sufficient leavening for doughs with little liquid such as scones or muffins.
Why does test kitchen use a combination of baking powder and soda in most recipes?
The combination gives better control over how fast gas is released as well as the alkalinity of the dough.
Why is baking soda added in the presence of extra acid?
Sometimes a recipe contains so much acid that baking soda is added to ensure baking powder is not neutralized and deactivated by all the acid.
Why does baking soda produce a more alkali dough than baking powder? Benefits?
It relies on the acid from other ingredients in the recipe. More alkaline doughs brown faster and have weaker gluten, producing a more tender, porous crumb.
Why does browning occur best in an alkaline environment?
An amino acid molecule (like those found in the proteins in flour) has two ends--one is the amino end and one is the acid; the acid end is acidic and the amino is alkaline. It's the alkaline end that has to react with the sugar molecules for Maillard reaction to occur. In an acidic solution, the alkaline ends are deactivated. In an alkaline environment created by the addition of baking soda, the amino ends thrive and they can react with the sugar to create browning.
TEST KITCHEN: BISCUITS MADE WITH 2 TSP BAKING POWDER AND 1/2 TSP BAKING SODA, 2 TSP BAKING POWDER AND 3 TSP BAKING POWDER.
Biscuits all rose to the same height; however, the similarities ended there. Two batches made without soda were anemic in color with smooth tops while dual-leavened biscuits were well browned and covered in crispy crags. Dual leavened biscuits also tasted richer and nuttier while the batch made with 3 teaspoons didn't rise any higher than the batch made with 2 but had a chemical aftertaste.
Will baking powder along provide sufficient leavening?
In most cases, the answer is yes.
Why is the baking soda crucial for test kitchens biscuits?
First, it immediately reacts with the buttermilk (an acid) to produce tiny carbon dioxide bubbles to lighten the batter. Second, it neutralizes the batter's acidity to create a more alkaline environment that promotes Maillard reaction and creates hundreds of new flavor compounds.
Keys to perfect pancakes.
Don't mix too much, use lower protein flour, add buttermilk and sour cream, use leaveners.
When our forbears set out to make buttermilk pancakes what advantage did they have?
They had real buttermilk instead of the thinly flavored liquid processed from skim milk and cultured bacteria that passes for buttermilk today; early Americans turned to the fat-flecked byproduct of churning cream into butter.
How do you add more tang to pancakes? Why doesn't more buttermilk work?
More buttermilk means a greater concentration of acid in the mix, which causes the baking soda to bubble too rapidly. Result: pancakes that over-inflate when first cooked, then deflate becoming dense and wet. A little sour cream adds a ton of flavor but doesn't radically affect the consistency.
Why should you lets pancake batter rest for 10 minutes after mixing?
Even with minimal mixing some gluten develops. During a 10-minute rest, the gluten relaxes and the end result is tender pancakes.
How do you know if a pan is hot enough for pancakes?
Test the skillet with a half-dollar sized pancake (about 1 tablespoon). If the pancake is a blonde color after one minute the skillet isn't ready, if it's golden brown you're ready to cook; speeding up the process by heating the pan at a higher temperature will result in a dark, unevenly cooked pancake.
Test kitchens recommendation for multigrain pancake mix.
Familia brand no-sugar-added muesli. Alpen is also good.
Griddle temp for pancakes.
How do you solve the problem of making multigrain pancakes too chewy and gummy?
Converting muesli cereal into flour and combining it with other flour options, as well as adding two leaveners.
Less acidic buttermilk substitute used for pancakes.
Milk and lemon juice; regular buttermilk made multigrain pancakes too sour.
Why does loading up on unprocessed grains bad for multigrain pancakes?
Great for flavor but bad for texture.
Is baking soda a browning agent?
Besides gluten formation, why does pancake batter need to be rested for 10 minutes?
Flour needs time to absorb all the liquid, ensuring that the batter sets up properly. Skipping this step will lead to pancakes that run together in the pan and cook up flat.
How do you keep cooked pancakes warm?
Spread them out on a cooling rack, sprayed with vegetable oil, in the oven at 200ºF for up to 20 minutes; stacking them will cause excess steam and make pancakes rubbery.
Why does the first batch of pancakes turn out spotted while the rest are perfect?
When fresh oil hits the pan the surface tension of the oil causes it to bead together into little droplets, leaving some of the pan bottom without a coating. Since bare metal conducts heat better than oil, when you ladle your batter into the pan the spots directly in contact with uncoated metal will cook faster than those touching oil. By the time you get your second batch of batter the oil has undergone chemical changes that make the molecules less prone to cluster. What's more, the first batch of pancakes has absorbed much of the oil, leaving only a thin film that's more likely to be evenly distributed across the pan.
How do you avoid spots on pancakes?
Apply oil to an unheated pan or griddle. Allow the oil to heat up over medium heat for at least one minute, then use a paper towel to wipe away all but a thin, barely visible layer to prevent sticking.
Do all biscuits need cold butter incorporated into flour?
No, you can use the quick-bread method: combine melted butter with buttermilk and add liquid mixture to dry mixture.
Why use regular AP flour for biscuits?
Since the dough is not kneaded or rolled, you actually want a little gluten for the structure of your biscuits; AP has more protein than softer flours.
How does adding buttermilk help biscuits?
Provides much needed flavor and add baking soda; baking soda reacts with the buttermilk and gives the biscuits a crisper, browner exterior and fluffier middle.
What should be noted about combining buttermilk and melted butter (or any liquid)?
Requires that both ingredients be at just the right temperature; if they aren't, the melted butter clumps in the cold buttermilk.
Why is lumpy buttermilk (melted butter chunked up in cool buttermilk) ok for the quick biscuit recipe?
It mimics the chunks of fat in a classic biscuit recipe. The result is surprisingly better biscuit, slightly higher and with better texture; water in the lumps of butter turn to steam in the oven, helping create additional lift.
What kind of milk is widely recommended as a substitute for buttermilk in baked goods?
What is "clabbered" milk?
Stirring lemon juice into milk (1 tablespoon per cup) and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to "clabber" (or thicken) before proceeding with the recipe.
Why is "clabbering" (resting 10 minutes) unnecessary? Explain.
When lemon juice is added to milk, the citric acid changes the electrical charge on dairy's casein proteins, causing them to coagulate tightly into clumps. On the other hand, the Lactobacillus bacteria added to milk to produce commercial buttermilk remove some of the sugar molecules bonded to the proteins, allowing them to form a smooth gel over time.
When adding lemon juice to milk, how long does it take to thicken?
Curds formed almost instantly but nothing continued after that.
TEST KITCHEN: RESTING CLABBERED MILK FOR 10 MINUTES AND NOT AT ALL. USED ON PANCAKES AND BISCUITS.
No difference was found in any of the baked goods.
What is the key to getting texture right in many cookie recipes?
Understanding how to use baking soda and baking powder.
Key to chewy texture in sugar cookies is what?
All in the fat.
For optimal chew, a recipe must contain what? Explain.
Saturated and unsaturated fat in approximately a 1:3 ratio. When combined, the two types of fat molecules form a sturdier crystalline structure that requires more force to bite through than the structure formed from a high proportion of saturated fats.
Butter is predominately what type of fat?
Ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat when butter is used solo.
For sugar cookies, why does melting the butter help so much?
First, it eliminates on of the trickier aspects of baking sugar cookies: ensuring that the solid butter is just the right temperature. Second, melted butter aids in our quest for chewiness. When liquified, the small amount of water in butter mixes with flour to form gluten, which makes for chewier cookies. Finally, with creaming out of the equation, we no longer need to pull out our stand mixer-- you can make them completely by hand.
What does cream cheese do for sugar cookies?
Enriches the dough's flavor without adding moisture like other tangy dairy products.
Does cream cheese just add flavor?
No, it also adds acidity. And this allows us to add baking soda.
What does an acidic ingredient help solve in cookies?
As long as there's an acidic ingredient present, baking soda has all sorts of special powers, including the ability to solve cookies' other two pesky problems: a slightly humped shape and not enough crackle.
Does the pH of common foods influence the work of leaveners?
pH of egg whites.
pH of water.
pH of chicken.
pH of flour.
pH of ground beef.
pH of sugar.
pH of buttermilk.
pH of canned tomatoes.
pH of lemon juice.
What is baking powder responsible for in cookies? How can this be bad. Explain.
It's responsible for lift. Since it's engineered to produce most of its gas after the cookies go into the oven, where the dough sets before these bubbles can burst. But too much lift can mean cookies that turn out humped; this is where baking soda comes in.
How does baking soda help cookies spread?
As long as there's an acidic ingredient in the dough, a small amount of baking soda can even things out. It raises the pH of dough (baking powder does too, but not as high), weakening gluten. Weakened gluten means less structure and cookies that spread. Goodbye humped shapes.
How does baking soda create crackly tops?
Baking soda reacts immediately in wet dough to produce large bubbles of carbon dioxide that can't all be contained by the weakened dough. Before the cookies can set in the oven, the bubbles rise to the top and burst, leaving fissures in their wake.
Whole hulled oats are called what? How are they processed?
They're called groats. After being heated to inhibit rancidity, they are further processed, according to the particular style.
What are steel-cut oats?
Groats sliced into three or four pieces by steel blades.
What are old-fashioned or rolled oats?
Groats steamed and rolled flat or flaked.
What are quick oats?
Steel-cut oats steamed and rolled to one-third (or less) the thickness of regular oats.
What are instant oats?
Very finely cut groats that are rapidly cooked and rolled flat.
Test kitchen's reasoning for use (or no use) of old-fashioned oats, quick oats, instant oats and steel cut oats.
Old-fashioned oats for the best texture and flavor. Quick oats can be used in many recipes, in a pinch; their flavor is weaker and texture of the baked good might be slightly less chewy. Instant oats are very bland and their powdery texture can negatively impact many baked goods. Never bake with steel-cut oats; anything from scones to cookies can end up like aquarium gravel--great for breakfast, however.
Why should you cream the butter for thin and crisp oatmeal cookies? Explain.
Creaming butter, rather than melting it, tends to make a crisper cookie. When solid butter is mixed with sugar, air is incorporated into the mixture and held there by crystals of solid fat. This is especially true when they're mixed on medium speed until light and fluffy. This extra air allows the cookies to dry faster in the oven, producing crispier cookies.
Does extra sugar make cookies chewy?
Yes, the greater the amount of sugar, the chewier the cookie.
If extra sugar makes a cookie chewy, how do you account for this "problem?"
Using all granulated sugar makes the cookie hard and crunchy, with a one-dimensional, overly sweet flavor. Using light brown sugar in place of some of the granulated sugar aids in flavor--with subtle caramel notes--without compromising texture.
How can you ensure that cookies spread evenly?
Press the dough ball flat, then bake and use plenty of leaveners; large carbon dioxide bubbles cause the cookies to puff up, collapse, and spread out.
Should you put raw cookie dough on a hot sheet pan? Why?
No, the dough begins to melt and spread before it even reaches the oven, which can adversely affect the texture of the cookies; larger cookies weren't effected as much but smaller, thinner cookies were.
How to avoid hot sheet pan when baking cookies.
Place parchment paper under the cookies so you can easily slide them off out of the oven. Wait for metal to cool, run under cold water, dry and repeat.
How many sheets should you bake at a time? Explain.
One, baking two trays can lead to uneven cooking; the cookies on top are usually browner around the edges than the bottom tray.