We left off yesterday after discussing flour and fat; how they work together, and how you can use this information to produce fantastic baking every time. You now have that knowledge, and when you have finished reading this post you will be able to bake cakes just like this one!
So lets continue with the other major ingredients, starting with eggs.
Eggs act in both capacities; as a strengthener, and to weaken. Through the egg whites...... moisture is added which develops the protein structure.
The yolks, due to the fat content help tenderize. Lecithin within yolks help bring together fat and liquid which 'shorten' pastry, as they inhibit protein chain development. Therefore, if you want really short pastry in your pie, the liquid element should be egg yolks; expensive though! Mind you, you will be able to make lots of lovely meringues with the spare whites, yummy.
Eggs also add flavour and colour.
Egg whites on their own are a strengthener, when whisked up to foam they give volume, think of a Soufflé,
Raising agents (Leveners), disrupt gluten development and help weaken the structure. The air bubbles expand and break through the gluten chains. Remember, too little in your cake and you will get a dip in the center; easily remedied though by hiding the dip with fruit!
If you add a very small amount of baking powder to the flour when making pastry it will help stop it becoming tough through over mixing once the liquid is added. Not too much though (about 1/4 tsp), as you don’t want cake! Never use self raising flour to make pastry, you will loose crispness, and it will double the thickness of your pastry. However, if you substitute a portion of plain flour for self raising flour, your pastry will not be tough and the rise will be insignificant; about 20 % (4 parts plain flour : 1 part self raising flour) substitution should do it.
Sugar always makes 'shorter' pastry as it weakens protein chains. Sugar also absorbs liquid first before flour ensuring a 'crumblier' texture. Sugar also adds colour and crispness to baked goods. Biscuits are a prime example, the higher the sugar content the crispier your biscuits will be;
and why sugar free 'sweet' items have very little colour, and a poor texture - little better than flavoured pastry!
Milk acts as a strengthener as the liquid content aids gluten development. Too much liquid of any kind causes structures to collapse so you must get it right. You can get away with a 'sloppy' bread dough because the stronger gluten chains can to an extent hold its structure, though the bread will have a very open texture. Ciabatta is a prime example where an open, holey texture is required;
never with cake or pastry though! Milk also gives flavour through natural sugars which add a touch of sweetness to your baking.
As you can see it is vitally important that the 'strengtheners' and 'weakeners' are in balance in your baking. Luckily, most recipes are; you don’t have to think about it.
Finally, salt plays an important part in baking, not as a strengthener or weakener, but to develop flavour and balance sweetness. A good pinch of salt added to your baking will enhance the flavour considerably, even with sweet baking. Salt will 'kill' over sweetness too; salted caramels always taste better than unsalted!
With biscuits which require high sugar levels to gain crispness, add some extra salt and they will not taste as sweet - it's magic!
You now have some understanding of the way ingredients work together. Hopefully I have managed to simplify the complex science behind these ingredients. As you gain experience you will start to know why your baking failed and have the knowledge to put it right.
So let’s look at the different kinds of ingredients commonly used in baking today. My next series will cover these, starting with chocolate!!!!!
Now Some More Interesting Posts:
@fkofficials has given us a really tasty looking and healthy breakfast cake. Well worth a look.
@cleankarma and the 'nutty' dark chocolate nourishing squares: healthy? Chocolate? Great!!
@tesscooks4u . A wonderful pistachio dessert, Luuurve pistachios; what could be better?
And finally for now.....
@meuraxa with Indonesian Culinary delights, in this case 'Chicken Rica', and doesn't it look soooo good!
Please my Dear Steemit Friends, please carry on writing these fantastic posts as all I want to do is........
As often as I can!