Bakeology: Eggs…Unscrambled

Today’s lesson is about eggs and their role in baking.  In pastries, eggs act as a glue that helps bind things together.  They add proteins, moisture, and fat to baked goods, and give structure and texture to a dish.  Continue reading

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Bakeology: On Browned Butter

Sorry for the delay in posting!  Between Thanksgiving travels and work travels, I’ve been very preoccupied for the past week!  But enough excuses.  Without further ado, my next lesson…

Today’s lesson is in browning butter.  Many recipes call for browned butter, but, what does that mean, and, more importantly, why should I take the extra time to brown my butter?

The browning of butter gives it an extra layer of richness and a deep nutty flavor you simply cannot achieve without browning.  It is also called beurre noisette, meaning hazelnut butter, which is exactly what it tastes like.   It is a step most recipes can do without, but, once you try it, why would you want to?  Let’s start with the basics: What is butter?

Butter is a combination of butterfat, milk proteins, and water.  It is an oil-in-water emulsion* of water and fat with milk protein solids suspended inside.

Learn more…

Bakeology: On Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Welcome to the first post in the Bakeology series!

Since pie season is upon us, and the holidays are right around the corner, I figured my first Bakeology post, very fittingly, would focus on the star of my holiday meals:  Pie!  More specifically, pie crust.  And gluten.  And what is all that about?  I just recently tried a pie crust recipe with vodka in it, and had great success.  The crust was buttery, flakey, and delicious.  But why?  What does the vodka do that makes this recipe better than one with 100% water?  Let’s explore…

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First, what is gluten? 

Gluten is a strong, sticky, stretchy protein found in foods made from wheat and similar grains that helps give dough its elasticity.  When you add water to flour, the two wheat proteins, glutenin and gliadin, combine and form gluten.

Read more…

Bakeology: The Science of Sweets

Good day to you all!

It is a good day today because I have decided to start a new blog series, which I am calling “Bakeology:  The Science of Sweets”.  I will probably commonly refer to it just as Bakeology.  For those who don’t know me, I majored in Chemical Engineering in college, which makes me a B.S.-certified nerd.  In true nerd-form, I want to know all of the facts – down to the molecule – about baking and the science behind it.  Also, I like structure, and need structure to effectively work and learn.  Therefore, this blog series will FORCE me to learn at least one new thing a week!  Hopefully, I will learn much more than that and I will not have nearly enough weeks to post about my wealth of knowledge on the science of baking.  Why recipes call for room temperature eggs, how gluten forms, why use this fat over this one, and what really is the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour?  All these questions, and more, will be answered in this blog series.

If you have any baking science question or mystery you would like me to investigate, please comment on any post in the series as we  move along and I will definitely try to answer it in a future post!  Stay tuned later this week for my first Baking Science post!