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Old 02-16-2008, 08:43 AM   #31
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Maverick - you definitely have much more leeway adding extra dried fruit or nuts than you do with fresh. The problem with fresh fruit is that it exudes a lot of moisture, so a lot of extra can end up adding a lot of extra liquid to a recipe, which can be death to some baked goods.
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Old 02-16-2008, 04:18 PM   #32
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I do that most of the time! Especially, when I don't have all the ingredients the recipe calls for and I'm simply craving to try it, I improvise. I don't really think of what I'll use before hand. I simply start cooking and go with the flow. There are times when I've got something totally new and wonderfully different than the regular stuff.
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Old 02-16-2008, 05:21 PM   #33
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I'll weigh in on this topic and state that with a bit of understanding, the average cook can indeed "wing it" and create new recipes when baking. Yes, there are hard and fast rules, but they are few. And if those rules are followed, they give great freedom in creativity.

Ratios: - 2 to 3 tsp, doble-acting baking powder per cup of flour

2 to 3 tbs. fat per cup of flour

1/2 tsp. salt per cup of flour

1 to 2 tbs. sugar or other sweetener for most breads or frying
batters per cup of flour.

Butter causes cookies to spread out more than does lard or
shortening.

If adding acidic incrediants to quickbread recipes (those using
baking powders and sodas as the leavening agents) such as
pineapple, citrus or citurs juices, acidic berries, etc. extra alkali
(usually baking soda) is required to restore a proper chemical
ballance.

Time is your enemy as the reactive chimicals that produce the
carbon-dioxide bubbles that raise the batter deplete themselves
over time. So work quickly.

Stir the batters or dough as little as possible to avoid developing
the gluten.

When frying batters (funnel cakes, batter-caoted foods,
hush-puppies, etc.) the oil must be at least 360' F. to avoid
absorbing too much oil into the batter as it cooks.

When increasing the volume (size) of a recipe, the cooking
temperature must be reduced to give heat sufficient time to
penetrate to the center of the batter (middle of the cake) without
burning the outside portions.

Water doesn't provide a moist textural feel to the end product. If
your breads, cakes, pancakes, doughnuts, etc. are comming out
dry, add additional oil to the batter by 1 tbs. per cup of flour used.

If a recipe is made larger, add an extra egg to give the product
sufficent body to remain together as 1 cohesive piece rather than
crumble apart.

Use the center portion of your oven as much as possible to insure
even cooking of the top, bottom, and sides of your recipe.

Coblers, crunches, and other similarily topped deserts can be
successfully made by tossing together ingredients such as 2 cups
flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp.
cinamon, 1/2 tsp, nutmeg, 1 stick melted butter, etc. Stir
together. Taste. Add more of whatever you want to make it taste
the way you want it to taste.

Most cakes and single loaf bread recipes start with 3 cups flour

For lower fat creations, you can substitute ingredients such as
applesauce, blended banana, psillium husk fiber, bran, gums
(xantham, etc.), and other fiber-rich substances as these aborb
and hold moisture, creating a moist texture without the added oil.
But, too much fiber-rich ingredients create a gummy mouth-feel.
So use to reduce, not replace the oil in the recipe.

Everybody seems to think that baking is an exact science. I routinely throw together a group of ingredients, and more often than not, come up with a successful outcome. Baking, once you learn the basics, is just as intuitive as is cooking. It is every bit as much of an art.

After all, you can't be artistic with paints until you understand the relationships of various paints to the canvas or other medium to which they are applied. The type of color carrying agent is important. Oil-based paints have a thicker, more textural affect, and tend to bleed into the canvas or paper than do solvent or water-based paints.

Rock, or clay, or sugar, metal, glass, even ice, can all be used to create beautiful sculptures, with each requireing specialized tools and techniques.

Cooking meat to get a tender, flavorful result requires different cooking techniques, depending on what variety of meat is used, what cut, and what animal.

Everything we do, whether it be buidling a missile tracking system, or frying a hamburger, or baking a cake, relies on specialized knowledge, and an understanding of the rules related to the task. Once you completely understand those basic rules, the the tools and techniques used in the craft, then when you add imagination, the science imspire creation, which is art. A baker is no less an artist than is a sculptor, or a surgeon, or a musician, or a child making the perfect paper airplane.

Follow the above rules, practice a little, and you will become as intuitive about baking as you can be with any other art form.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:51 AM   #34
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Thanks for those rules... some i knew some i didnt.

prob the more you bake the easyer it becomes to be creative and understand the basic rules.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:21 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post
I'll weigh in on this topic and state that with a bit of understanding, the average cook can indeed "wing it" and create new recipes when baking. Yes, there are hard and fast rules, but they are few. And if those rules are followed, they give great freedom in creativity.

Ratios: - 2 to 3 tsp, doble-acting baking powder per cup of flour
Goodweed, I consider myself well versed in the baking world, but I am not sure what you mean by double-acting baking powder. What I get here, as far as I know, is just called baking powder and have no problems, either when using recipes or "winging it".

I keep learning something new every day here at DC.
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:55 PM   #36
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Thanks for the info Goodweed. Like the others I find it hard to be very creative with baking. I also "tweak" baking recipes, but find that sometimes if I tweak to much they don't turn out. That's what's so great about cooking - - can take 4 or 5 different recipes for the same thing, take what you like best from each, and it will turn out great!
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:08 PM   #37
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Double acting baking powder has two sets of leavening agents, one that activates when water is added, and a second that doesn't activate until heat is applied.

Calumet and Clabber Girl brands are examples of double-acting baking powders.

If you take my basic pancake recipe, you can decrease the amount of liquid and it becomes bisuit dough. If you add an extra egg, and more liquid, it becomes crepe batter. if you remove half of the flour and replace it with cornstarch, it becomes tempura batter. You can add extra sugar and cocoa powder and it becomes devil's food cake batter. Add mashed banana to it, and triple all other ingredients and you have banana bread batter.

And the changes I throw together to change my yeast bread recipes are dramatic. As long as you keep the basic ratios the same, you can create a host of different breads by simply mixing in different kinds of flour such as barley, malt, whole wheat, buckwheat, adding rye, or corn flour, potato starch, etc.

Change the oven temperatures, and add a bowl of water to the oven, along with the risen bread dough and you change the crust texture. Make a heavy dough, form it into a ring, boil it, then bake it and you have bagels, or pretzles.

And don't even get me started on cookies.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:15 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LPBeier View Post
Goodweed, I consider myself well versed in the baking world, but I am not sure what you mean by double-acting baking powder. What I get here, as far as I know, is just called baking powder and have no problems, either when using recipes or "winging it".

I keep learning something new every day here at DC.
If my memory is correct, a "single-acting" baking powder reacts only when heated to release CO2 and leaven the product. "Double-acting" baking powder reacts not only when heated, but also with an acid in the batter. This is why some baking mixes, when mixed, then refrigerated for a day or two, will have reacted, and bubbled all over the place.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:32 PM   #39
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Thanks Goodweed and AOK, I will definitely check that out. I know at the camp I worked at we had Calumet but I was working in special diets and didn't get to bake much. I will hunt it down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post
And don't even get me started on cookies.
Ohhhhh, sounds like we need to have an original cookie recipe Throw Down!!!!!
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:51 PM   #40
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Very cool! Cincinnati chili has cinnamon and coco powder in it I believe.
That's starting to sound like Mexican mole sauce.
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