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Old 10-26-2004, 08:49 PM   #11
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Jasonr....keep us posted on your progress....I will delve into some other baking books I have and see if there is any other explanation.
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Old 10-26-2004, 08:55 PM   #12
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Whip over heat? Well, that is an alternative given in the recipe Psiguyy, so I'm not totally against it, but it does seem more like a workaround rather than an actual solution. It feels like I'd be running away from the problem rather than solving it. All my recipes, including my good ones, say to heat it and then whip, which means that it is definitely possible to do it successfully this way, so why won't it work? Why should I have to avoid this problem when it is clear that others are able to do it successfully?!

The oven temperature thing is interesting, because it does intuitively make sense to my mind. However, the fact is, I am using a thermometer, so it's hard to see how the temperature could be too low, unless the recipe is somehow just plain wrong. Do you think it is a good idea to keep using the baking stone to eliminate hotspots like last time, or should I not do this?
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Old 10-26-2004, 09:19 PM   #13
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I wouldn't use a baking stone UNLESS you preheat it for an hour. Less than an hour of preheating and that stone will act as a heat shield.

All I can tell you is that I was taught to whip the eggs over hot water and I've seen professionals do it this way too. You keep heating until the eggs develop the right amount of volume. As the eggs heat up, the volume increases. It's self-limiting. In other words, when you're at the right volume, the eggs are at the right temperature. Conversely, the eggs won't whip to the proper volume unless the eggs are at the right temperature.

I'm not saying your way is wrong or that mine is right. All I'm saying is the way I was taught works for me.

I was hesitating to say this, but it could also be a problem with your eggs. I've noticed that the eggs I buy are getting smaller. I've always purchased Large eggs and I always put them into the same container in my fridge. Over the past few months, I've noticed that the eggs are not taking up the same amount of room. I also know that the food chickens eat has a great influence on the eggs they produce. Not enough of one thing and the shells are weak. Not enough of another and the white is runny or the yolks are pale.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:02 AM   #14
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Alright, I guess you've convinced me; I am going to make another experiment tommorrow, using the alternative method. I will also be sure to preheat the oven for an hour, so the baking stone will not be a hindrance. However, I would still like to know why I am having this problem; it doesn't make sense that recipes developed by world-renowned pastry chefs would be flawed. This is just not plausible. It's all well and good to find a work-around, but I want to know the solution.
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Old 10-27-2004, 08:07 AM   #15
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PSI, I've noticed that about eggs, too, especially with the regular old 'store' eggs. I only use the 'free range' ones now, and am finding they run much truer to size.
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Old 10-27-2004, 08:51 AM   #16
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I use USDA certified organic eggs. Each measures between 2 and 2 1/8 ounces, which is exactly as it should be. Egg size is definitely not the issue.
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:35 AM   #17
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Uggh. I just tried doing the whipping over the heat, and it was a total disaster. I whipped at maximum speed for almost 10 minutes, and it refused to whip beyond a pitiful volume. Total failure. I threw the batter out. Sorry Psyguyy, but I'm definitely going back to the other way.
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:55 AM   #18
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Alright, I am happy to finally report a qualified success. While it did not balloon up to any great volume, (about 1/3 of an inch from the rim of a 2 inch pan) the cake did not collapse at all during baking, and the layer is almost perfectly flat, with only a very gentle dip toward the centre. While I would have liked to see it reach the rim, this is definitely within the normal range described in my books for Genoise.

I only call it a qualified success because I still do not know for certain what caused the original problem. There are three things I did differently this time, and therefore three possibilities:

1. Mixed about 2 tbsp of batter into the melted butter prior to folding it in.
2. Preheated the oven with the baking stone for nearly an hour, as opposed to before, when I only preheated it until the thermometer reached the desired temperature. (about 15 minutes)
3. Used my Five Roses Cake/Pastry flour, as opposed to Oak Manor organic cake/pastry flour or Swan's Down cake flour.

I am skeptical about #1, as it didn't seem to really change much vis a vis folding and the consistency of the batter. As for #2, I'm still uncertain as to why this would make a difference, although I suppose it might if the oven thermometer that reads temperature (I have long since determined the actual temperature of my oven's thermostat, eliminating the necessity of relying upon my oven thermometer, which cannot be seen with the baking stone in place) is located below the baking stone, rather than above it. However, this is still problematic for me, because I did not use a baking stone when I made my cakes in my parents' oven in Montreal, and the cake collapsed even worse in their oven. (That oven was calibrated with a thermometer too)

As for #3, this seems to be the most likely possibility. The cake/pastry flour from Oak Manor is unbleached, which would be a bad thing vis a vis cake flour, which needs to be as low-protein as possible. (Those idiot organic people are so obsessed with eliminating "chemicals" that they don't stop to consider the benefits of some of them vis a vis actual quality! Of course, they don't bother including an actual protein amount on the package, so who really knows?) The Swan's Down is about 7% gluten according to their website, which seems slightly high for a true cake flour. Unfortunately, White Roses does not publish their gluten amount either online or on the package, so God only knows what it is. My hope is that as the cheaper brand, they throw in as many "chemicals" as possible and consequently yield a much lower gluten cake flour. My tentative conclusion would be that this is indeed the case, and as a result, their flour yielded better results. Either way, I'm using White Roses from now on, and to hell with Oak Manor and their pretentious organic crap. (Their bread flour sucks too, FYI)

Anyone have any alternate explanations?
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Old 10-27-2004, 06:11 PM   #19
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I now think you need to increase the amount of flour you're using. Pay careful attention to the weight of the flour. I suggest you use your current method, by volume I'm supposing, and weigh that. If the cake falls, increase the amount of flour. If that improves the cake, but still doesn't give you the best results, increase your bake time.

I don't know why you had trouble with the method I use. Julia Child used this method with great success. I guess you should stick with what works for you.
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Old 10-27-2004, 06:14 PM   #20
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I always measure by weight.
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