Hello! This blog will allow friends, family, and customers to follow me down the pastry path as I try new recipes and baking methods for the start of my home bakery business.
I have enrolled in a series of pastry classes to assist me with the ins and outs of making breads and pastries. As part of the blog posts every week, I will provide some tips and tricks of what I learned in classes so everyone can benefit!
My first week was spent baking muffins, scones and quick breads.
At first glance, I imagined class would be easy because I have spent most of my life making these baked goods with no issues. As time passed in class, I quickly realized my previously used one step method for baking muffins and quick breads did not yield the best results.
Here’s why. There are three different methods for combining ingredients that render the best baked products:
The Muffin Method is the simplest mixing method and contains fewer steps than other methods. It uses liquid melted warm fats. In this method, you would sift dry ingredients together first. Then, combine room temperature liquids, including fats and add liquid ingredient to the dry ingredients. Your batter should be lumpy. These lumps disappear during baking.
If you over mix your batter, your muffins will have a tough, gummy final product. Over mixing can also result in tunneling or large holes in your muffins. A muffin that contains a thick crust could be from the addition of too much sugar or because the oven temperature is too low.
The Biscuit Method (aka the Pastry Method) uses cold solid fats. Biscuits and scones are made using this method where all ingredients used are cold. In this method, cold solid fats are cut into dry ingredients until the texture is of coarse cornmeal. Cold liquids are combined and added to dry ingredients until a dough is formed. Dough can be scooped and put on a baking dish if crumbly scones are desired. Dough can be rolled and folded if layered scones are desired.
Overworking your dough when attempting to create layers can toughen your dough creating more gluten. It is best to work quickly and efficiently during the dough shaping process.
The Creaming Method uses soft room temperature fats. All ingredients should be warm. The creaming method is used for butter cakes and cookies. Using this method, softened fat and granulated sugar are creamed to incorporate air.
One tip here is to wait until the butter and sugar is mixed giving a light and fluffy consistency. Sugar cuts the butter adding small air pockets. Be careful not to over cream! Over creaming your mixture can result in dense and gummy streaks in your cake. Eggs are then gradually added to mix after each addition until emulsified. Other heavy dense liquids can be added afterwards.
Because of the higher butter and sugar content, gluten strands are shortened giving a tender batter and cakelike final product.
The creaming method heavily relies on the fact that you are using room temperature butter. If you use cold butter, your mixture will have lumps. If you use too warm butter, your mixture will spread with an oily layer. Using room temperature butter and ensuring you do not over mix, you will notice light, fluff and tall peaks.
Now that you know the three different methods, you can experiment while baking and have a more concise understanding of what you are producing in the kitchen!