I used to adhere to the "baking is a science and needs to follow exact recipes" line of thinking. Then I made my pancake batter by tinkering. Pancakes work by the same principles as do cakes, breads, and most other things using starchy ingrediants and a leavening agent. If I do say so, my pancakes are legendary. Many here on this site will support that. And I'm not an extraordinary individual, just an ordinary guy who loves to improve on existing things, and who isn't afraid to experiment.
In the same vein, I learned how to make bread by following a basic recipe, and then adjusting the oil, water, flour ratio to get the right feel in the dough. I never use a recipe for bread any more as I trust the feel of the dough more than a recipe. Recipes have failed me. When the dough feels right, the bread comes out great. I also modified my pancake recipe by using butter as the fat, and cutting it into the flour until it resembled a pebble-grained raw pie crust. Omit the eggs and add the liquid to make a sticky dough. The result was the lightest buiscuits I ever made. Theywere so popular in my family, that I ended up making them, by request, every night for two weeks. I finally said enough is enough to my family.
The point is, once you learn the basic feel of something, and understand the chemical and physical dynamics of a recipe, you can start to play with it.
Here's a great and easy change for you. Add a mere extra two tbs. of cooking oil to your next boxed cake mix. Keeping everything else the same, you will find that you have created a more moist and tender cake, that will have everyone who eats it asking, "Where did you get this incredible recipe!"
Indeed, I urge you to learn how to bake something to the point that you understand everything about that one dish, be it a particular pie, a favorite cake, a quickbread, or bread recipe. Learn it so well that you no longer need the recipe. Learn its feel, its smell, its gloss, or lack of gloss. Once you understand the recipe, make it better. Add or reduce the sweetener, or substitute some blended cottage cheese, with its sharper flavor, for some of the cream cheese. You will be truly surprized at your own talent and abilities.
Oh how I'd love to teach a cooking class. I could show you things... Great cooking is delveloped through a solid understanding of the basics, then by adding your own intuition, artistic notions, and individual creativity. Then you are the engineer, not just a technician. You become an artist. The science teaches you the basics through hands-on experience. You take it from there.:)
Seeeeeya; the maniacle, the curious, the passionate about life, Goodweed of the North
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…
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