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Old 09-01-2006, 10:46 PM   #1
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Cooking vs. baking

"they" say in baking that precise measurements are one of the keys to successful baking. But i don't see why it wouldn't be in cooking then...

If you don't measure precise while baking then it might be a little to dense, or a little puffier or more sweet or less sweet, thick or thinner, ..ect

and in cooking it will have a bit more mushrooms or be slightly more greasy or be a bit spicier,

When i make bread i don't let it rise until double and the punch it down and then let it rise again and then shape them... I just make the dough, knead it, and shape and bake...It works fine. I just don't get it, the results aren't even that much better if you follow the directions.

I find that you can be as free in baking as you are in cooking!

discuss... Lau Chan

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Old 09-01-2006, 11:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Lau
...I find that you can be as free in baking as you are in cooking!

discuss... Lau Chan
If I double the quantity of beef in beef stew the stew gets meatier.
If I double the quantity of flour in bread there is no bread.
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:50 AM   #3
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Baking is really based on chemistry of ingredients reacting with one another resulting in an outcome that is predictable.
Carrying this to cooking, you could say it is the chemistry of ingredients reacting on the taste sensors of your palate to create a result. Some people are slavish to recipes--others modify, after they know what the original result will be.
It is almost apples and oranges. If you prefer flat bread, that is your prerogative and you don't even need a recipe. Just put some flour and water together and bake it.
In my opinion, you aren't really talking about baking and cooking. You are talking about what you in particular like to do-- which is fine. Others may like your "recipe" also so pass it on. Others like to follow a recipe for, as I have said previously, a predictable result.
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Old 09-02-2006, 07:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen
Baking is really based on chemistry of ingredients reacting with one another resulting in an outcome that is predictable.
Carrying this to cooking, you could say it is the chemistry of ingredients reacting on the taste sensors of your palate to create a result. Some people are slavish to recipes--others modify, after they know what the original result will be.
It is almost apples and oranges. If you prefer flat bread, that is your prerogative and you don't even need a recipe. Just put some flour and water together and bake it.
In my opinion, you aren't really talking about baking and cooking. You are talking about what you in particular like to do-- which is fine. Others may like your "recipe" also so pass it on. Others like to follow a recipe for, as I have said previously, a predictable result.
Spot on, Gretchen
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Old 09-02-2006, 07:58 AM   #5
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ok, well in cooking your not going to go as far is an doubling anything...I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to double the amount of flour in the bread, it's common sense. What i'm saying is that things in baking don't have to be EXACT... i'm not saying it's okay to add twice as much flour. Sometimes if i am measure flour i didn't fill it up all the way, so the next cup will be over flowing to make up for that last cup.. stuff like that.

But even with baking powder, salt and minor ingredients i do the same thing
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Lau
ok, well in cooking your not going to go as far is an doubling anything...I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to double the amount of flour in the bread, it's common sense. What i'm saying is that things in baking don't have to be EXACT... i'm not saying it's okay to add twice as much flour. Sometimes if i am measure flour i didn't fill it up all the way, so the next cup will be over flowing to make up for that last cup.. stuff like that.

But even with baking powder, salt and minor ingredients i do the same thing
It's your cake....
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Lau
ok, well in cooking your not going to go as far is an doubling anything...I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to double the amount of flour in the bread, it's common sense.
This is making assumptions that are simply not true. I have often doubled (or more) ingredients in cooking. Cheese comes to mind. sometimes a recipe will call for just a little sprinkle on top, but I will put 2x or 3x or 4x or even more.

As far as someone being foolish enough to double the amount of flour in bread, you are assuming everyone has at least your level of knowledge of baking. There are plenty of people who do not even know what kneeding is or anything else about baking for that matter. Why would it be out of the realm of possibility for these people to think if a little bit of flour is OK then why not use more? I do not think it has anything to do with common sense. It is learned behavior.

As Gretchen said, in baking you are going after a chemical reaction that will produce a specific result. Sure in some cases you can still have success if you are not exact, but in other cases you can not. If you do not use the right ingredients and the right amounts then something that is supposed to rise will not do so or it might rise too much. Something that should be light will be dense. Something that should be flaky will not be. The list can go on and on.
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:51 AM   #8
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On the question of exactness: In baking you can't substitute ingredients as easily as you might in cooking. Whole wheat flour is heavier than white, for example, and requires more leavening. And if you are at a high altitude you might need less leavening.

Also, it depends what you're making. Cookies are more forgiving than cakes. And it depends on how picky you might be about the results. If you are baking "experimentally" your results will probably be "experimental." You might enjoy having cupcakes (for example) that are just a little different each time you make them. But most folks follow a recipe so they can have tried-and-true results every time.

Your question brings to mind some baking I did with my cousin when we were kids. She loved chocolate and butter, so we put in lots. And eggs, so we put in extras. The result was edible, but it wasn't exactly a cake...
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:57 AM   #9
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If baking a cake that calls for baking soda or powder to give you a rise, you cannot choose to leave it out because the result would be unacceptable. You cannot replace the sugar in a cake with the appropriate amount of artificial sweetner because the sugar does more than sweeten. If you're baking bread, you cannot omit the yeast.

On the other hand, if I'm making a stew, I can sub chicken for the beef, leave out the potatoes, use red wine in place of white and add parsnips and onions one time and carrots and onions another time. Each substitution will result in a different but perfectly acceptable stew.

While ther is some flexibility in baking as you have discovered, there are very certain boundries you cannot cross.
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Old 09-02-2006, 10:24 AM   #10
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And in addition to the above observations, Lau has chosen "bread" as his example and indeed, depending on the humidity, type of flour, etc. the "recipe" may say, "adjust the amount of flour to get a smooth dough". Perfectly OK. When baking a cake, you will NOT find "add more flour if you want a heavier cake".
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Old 09-02-2006, 10:52 AM   #11
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K, guys... I'm not saying that it's okay to just leave out any ingredients! I'm just stating that the measurements don't have to be PRECISE! i might be an 1/8 teaspoon off when i measure stuff, that's it...
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:03 AM   #12
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Master Lau, most good bakers have an "eye" for measurements. It sounds like that is what you are describing. No one is suggesting you need to measure to the last 1/8 tsp to get the correct results. Altitude and humidity in different areas preclude recipes being EXACTLY the same. What is most important is the ratio of ingredients to one another. You need sugar for the yeast to work etc. Too much of any ingredient and your bread will be trash. There is room to fiddle, but not a lot with some ingredients. Like the yeast and sugar...too much of either and the results will be MUCH different. So, I think most people are telling you that you don't need to be completely precise in baking as long as you don't go nuts with any one ingredient.

Am I on target folks?
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:18 AM   #13
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nice alex...
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:28 AM   #14
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With an "i" if you please Master Lau. Alix. And thanks.
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:31 AM   #15
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yeah, i noticed that
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Lau
K, guys... I'm not saying that it's okay to just leave out any ingredients! I'm just stating that the measurements don't have to be PRECISE! i might be an 1/8 teaspoon off when i measure stuff, that's it...
You seem to be changing from "I don't let the bread rise--just bake it and I like it" to 1/8 tsp measurements as a reason that recipes aren't needed. I think my work may be done here. Moving targets are really hard to hit. ;o)
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:51 PM   #17
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i don't count kneading bread dough as a measurement...i think i am being missunderstood. i don't know how to explain things well
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:02 PM   #18
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Gretchen hit it earlier.

Just my$.02
Baking=Formulas, chemistry, BLUE PRINT
Cooking=Suggestions, there is a recipie, not a blue print.
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Lau
ok, well in cooking your not going to go as far is an doubling anything...I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to double the amount of flour in the bread, it's common sense. What i'm saying is that things in baking don't have to be EXACT... i'm not saying it's okay to add twice as much flour. Sometimes if i am measure flour i didn't fill it up all the way, so the next cup will be over flowing to make up for that last cup.. stuff like that.

But even with baking powder, salt and minor ingredients i do the same thing
The baking of SOME breads is the most forgiving in the baking world. "Some" being the operative word here. Some breads require following the instructions to the letter, as does cake baking. If you try your approach with a chiffon cake, Master Lau, you will most assuredly be disappointed every time.
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Old 09-05-2006, 06:25 AM   #20
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I think to get things looking and tasting right, in both cooking and baking is a matter of trial and error.
i never measure anything exactly. I just say that was exactly right, or there is too much or too little of this or that in something.
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