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Old 06-13-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
Ohhhhh you are right about the temperature! But in a different way than I thought..my oven's thermostat is ok..but I am using a convection oven...so the temp should be set 25 degrees lower, and cooking time also reduced.
I too have a table-top convection oven. I made personal pies last night, using my own pie crust recipe that I've been using forever. But instead of cooking in my range oven, I baked then in the convection oven. In the normal range oven, at the same temperature, I bake my pies for about 45 minutes @ 350' F. I baked them at the same temperature, but reduced the baking time to 20 minutes. I checked them at 15 minutes as the pies were starting to smell done. They were cooked perfectly. It took a third of the time in the convection oven.

Cookies that I normally bake for 9 in my range oven take only 3 minutes or so in the convection oven. It cuts baking time by 2/3rds, depending on what you're baking.

Glad you were able to figure it out.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:38 AM   #12
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I take the cookies out about 2 minutes before they are done. I put them on cooling racks that are covered with paper towels. I don't know if that is the trick that makes them chewy and soft, or not. Thanks for the info on baking in a convection oven. I have been toying with baking in mine to reduce the time and save electricity...
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:14 PM   #13
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If we start with the assumption that an ingredient changed upon moving to China, the suspects are:

Flour - It look like Chinese flour has some different terminology. "Regular flour" is low gluten and rather crude. "Standard flour" is the general equivalent of all-purpose flour. There are a number of others of both high and low glutens. Gluten content approximating that of western all-purpose flour is required for the standard western toll house cookie recipe.

(Some flour makers were caught using pulverized lime in bleaching, which, aside from being inedible, alters the pH. But it's unlikely you would encounter that consistently over years.)

Baking Soda - I don't see any reason to think Chinese baking soda is different. It's kind of a secret ingredient in stir fry meat dishes. Old baking soda could be at fault, but, again, 14 years of old baking soda? Are you perhaps finding U.S. or U.K. brands that have been on the shelf in Taiwan for too long? If that's a possibility, ask an apothecary for bicarbonate of soda. I really immediately suspect old baking soda when things fall flat. You can test baking soda by putting a small amount in some vinegar. It should immediately start bubbling vigorously. If it doesn't, it's bad. Toll house batters are, I would say, borderline acidic for baking soda, so it can't stand old baking soda or anything too alkaline in the ingredients.

Baking powder - Some toll house recipes use baking powder or both baking powder and baking soda. Baking powder is even more subject to aging than baking soda, which is pretty stable. Test baking powder by adding a bit to hot water. Baking powder includes its own acid, so if it's good, it will bubble when water activates it.

Chocolate - One thing to check. Dutch process cocoa and chocolate is neutral, and baking soda depends on acidity. "Tollhouse" cookies don't normally have chocolate in the batter, aside from the chocolate chips, but if your recipe does, the difference between neutral Dutch cocoa and regular cocoa could block the baking soda.

I don't think there's much else among the ingredients. A unusually alkaline ingredient can block the baking soda's action. That's why I wondered about the limed flour until I saw how may years were involved.


So check the two most obvious, low gluten or mislabeled flour - and known fresh baking soda.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
If we start with the assumption that an ingredient changed upon moving to China, the suspects are:

Flour - It look like Chinese flour has some different terminology. "Regular flour" is low gluten and rather crude. "Standard flour" is the general equivalent of all-purpose flour. There are a number of others of both high and low glutens. Gluten content approximating that of western all-purpose flour is required for the standard western toll house cookie recipe.

(Some flour makers were caught using pulverized lime in bleaching, which, aside from being inedible, alters the pH. But it's unlikely you would encounter that consistently over years.)

Baking Soda - I don't see any reason to think Chinese baking soda is different. It's kind of a secret ingredient in stir fry meat dishes. Old baking soda could be at fault, but, again, 14 years of old baking soda? Are you perhaps finding U.S. or U.K. brands that have been on the shelf in Taiwan for too long? If that's a possibility, ask an apothecary for bicarbonate of soda. I really immediately suspect old baking soda when things fall flat. You can test baking soda by putting a small amount in some vinegar. It should immediately start bubbling vigorously. If it doesn't, it's bad. Toll house batters are, I would say, borderline acidic for baking soda, so it can't stand old baking soda or anything too alkaline in the ingredients.

Baking powder - Some toll house recipes use baking powder or both baking powder and baking soda. Baking powder is even more subject to aging than baking soda, which is pretty stable. Test baking powder by adding a bit to hot water. Baking powder includes its own acid, so if it's good, it will bubble when water activates it.

Chocolate - One thing to check. Dutch process cocoa and chocolate is neutral, and baking soda depends on acidity. "Tollhouse" cookies don't normally have chocolate in the batter, aside from the chocolate chips, but if your recipe does, the difference between neutral Dutch cocoa and regular cocoa could block the baking soda.

I don't think there's much else among the ingredients. A unusually alkaline ingredient can block the baking soda's action. That's why I wondered about the limed flour until I saw how may years were involved.


So check the two most obvious, low gluten or mislabeled flour - and known fresh baking soda.
GLC; I was about to write a post to correct a perceived mistake on your part. Thankfully, I re-read your post and found I was in error, rather than you. I had misunderstood what you had written the first time around. I was about to stick my foot deep into my mouth. Glad that didn't happen.

I do have one idea to think about though. Baking soda is a mineral compound, as you stated, bicarbonate of soda. It is alkaline and reacts with acids to release CO2 gas (which leavens the product). As far as I know, it doesn't really get "old", though it make cake up pretty hard from moisture absorption and need to be pulverized back into powder.

Baking powder, on the other hand, as it absorbs moisture from the air, will become neutral over time as the two, normally dry ingredients interact.

But that's all I have. Good job in the explanation of the baking chemistry.

Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:02 PM   #15
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Here's a link that might interest you.

Secrets to Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Feed
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