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Old 09-28-2009, 10:28 AM   #1
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Why is baking so difficult?

Hi all
Yesterday I tried my hand at some chocolate fridge biscuit-type yummies to take along to my dadís birthday dinner tonight.
I followed everything to the T and yet it tastes too buttery and appear brittle.
Is there an art in baking? Some sort of measuring tool or butter to use which I should get my hands on?
Food is much easier to make Ė I just canít bake anything right.
Anyway Iíll take them along tonight. Hope no one will notice lol
Cheers

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Old 09-28-2009, 11:32 AM   #2
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Pastaprincess, baking is like anything else, the more you practice the easier it gets. Look for some tried and true (TNT) recipes. There are lots of them on the site. Some baking is easier than others too. Keep in mind that baking is more about chemistry than cooking. You need to have correct proportions of things in your biscuits or they will not work out. Can you post the recipe you used so we can help you out? Or would you rather we direct you to easy beginner type recipes for cookies/biscuits?
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
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Hi PastaPrincess! Welcome to the wonderful world of baking! :)

There is indeed a difference between cooking and baking. Baking requires precision in measuring to obtain the right results(although quite a few holdouts such as my elder sister still insists she never measures, AND she does bake quite well). There's a lot of science going on in reactions between different components in your average cake, and you have to have the right ratios between those ingredients.

One fix I found that helped me out was to switch from measuring to weighing flower. Since flour compacts, it can vary greatly depending on how you get it into the measuring cup. When you weigh however, 6oz of four will always be 6oz of flour, no matter how much you squish it together or spread it out. All Purpose flour weighs approximately 4oz(for a cup).

If that's a bit too much to deal with, I'd just be sure to always use a measuring cup with a smoothable top, and to lightly scoup flour into the cup, tap the cup a few times, and then level the top with a straightedge.

Another thing to consider is the source of your recipes. If you never made a recipe before and obtained it from an untrusted source (such as the internet) several things could be wrong with it. Some are easy to fix...for example... those fridge biscuits. Now that you made them once, have any ideas on how to make them taste better? a little less butter? or if you were using a butter substitute maybe just stick to good ol' butter, which the recipe was made with originally? As for being brittle, let them set out of the fridge a while and see if they still are.

Baking is harder than cooking, I'll agree to that whole heartedly. I have had my share of great successes and horrific failures in this arena.

Another point also, is that humidity affects bakers quite a bit. flour weighs heavier on more humid days, and may affect your overall recipe. There is no cure or quick fix for this, aside from learning to adapt through trial and error.

the best advice I can give is to keep it up, and don't quit from a few failures! :) You can only get better.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:51 PM   #4
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Pastaprincess, one simple thing about making biscuits is to NOT handle the dough too much. Pour your liquids in all at once and stir in with a wooden spoon until all is wet (there can be a bit of flour, just don't stir too long). Then sprinkle a BIT of flour on your work surface and gently knead the dough (push it forward gently with the heal of your hand, turn dough 1/4 turn and do again 10 times. Gently pat or roll it to the recipe's thickness (usually 1/2 inch) and cut out. gently knead the scraps together and proceed.

That and all the advice you got above should help!

Let us know how it goes or if you have any more questions!
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:54 PM   #5
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as someone once told me, and i like to repeat, "baking is a science, cooking is an art"
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LPBeier View Post
Pastaprincess, one simple thing about making biscuits is to NOT handle the dough too much. Pour your liquids in all at once and stir in with a wooden spoon until all is wet (there can be a bit of flour, just don't stir too long). Then sprinkle a BIT of flour on your work surface and gently knead the dough (push it forward gently with the heal of your hand, turn dough 1/4 turn and do again 10 times. Gently pat or roll it to the recipe's thickness (usually 1/2 inch) and cut out. gently knead the scraps together and proceed.

That and all the advice you got above should help!

Let us know how it goes or if you have any more questions!

You are the only poster who did not mention that baking is a science/chemistry. Don't you think you should edit your post.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:53 PM   #7
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You are the only poster who did not mention that baking is a science/chemistry. Don't you think you should edit your post.
Andy, I DID say "That and all the advice you got above should help!" so the chemistry part was inferred!
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LPBeier View Post
Pastaprincess, one simple thing about making biscuits is to NOT handle the dough too much. Pour your liquids in all at once and stir in with a wooden spoon until all is wet (there can be a bit of flour, just don't stir too long). Then sprinkle a BIT of flour on your work surface and gently knead the dough (push it forward gently with the heal of your hand, turn dough 1/4 turn and do again 10 times. Gently pat or roll it to the recipe's thickness (usually 1/2 inch) and cut out. gently knead the scraps together and proceed.

That and all the advice you got above should help!

Let us know how it goes or if you have any more questions!
Laurie, I believe pastaprincess is from the UK and "biscuit" is actually "cookie" to us North Americans. At least that was my guess because of the "chocolate fridge type yummy" descriptors.

As one of our resident baking pros I'm glad you have seen this thread. Hope pastaprincess comes back soon.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Laurie, I believe pastaprincess is from the UK and "biscuit" is actually "cookie" to us North Americans. At least that was my guess because of the "chocolate fridge type yummy" descriptors.

As one of our resident baking pros I'm glad you have seen this thread. Hope pastaprincess comes back soon.
Oops, you are right, Alix. And where was all my British heritage when I needed it? Sometimes I over help! But if anyone is having problems with their baking powder biscuits check out my post above
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:10 PM   #10
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LOL! I made some BP biscuits for our stew last night. MMMMMMM! And all your tips are right on for those!
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