Sunday, August 23, 2009

make your own cake flour

Does your grocery store have the nerve to inconsistently stock cake flour? Does it drive you crazy to see recipe after recipe that calls for it, and wonder what else you can use? Good news: Cake flour is really easy to make at home. Add two tablespoons of corn starch to each cup of regular flour and sift this mixture together twice. Measure your cups of flour from this mixture.

Friday, August 21, 2009

why are my baked goods turning blue?

So you’ve made some fruit scones or peach cupcakes and you notice that the end product is streaked blue and green. Sound familiar? In almost every case, it’s not you, it’s your baking powder. Baking powder with aluminum in it reacts to acidic ingredients, causing this discoloration and what many people find to be a “tinny” or metallic taste. Fortunately, this is as easy to rectify as ditching your baking powder for an aluminum-free brand, such as Rumford (the brand also makes Clabber Girl baking powder, which, oddly, does contain aluminum) or Bob’s Red Mill.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

make your own bread flour

The biggest different between all-purpose and bread flour is the amount of gluten: bread flour has more of it. But it may seem annoying to have to keep a giant bag of bread flour around if you’re only an occasional bread-baker. Enter a product known as a “gluten additive” or gluten flour, something you can usually add one tablespoon of to each cup of all-purpose flour to turn it into bread flour. Think of all the cabinet space you’ll save!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

how to stabilize whipped cream

If I could ice every cake in whipped cream, I would. But, because it is whipped with air alone, it doesn’t stay thick over many hours. One way to keep it stable is to dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, cool it to room temperature and drizzle it into your whipping cream when it is halfway thickened. Then, whip it a little longer than usual — until it holds medium-firm peaks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

how to make whipped cream

Homemade whipped cream leaves the canned, and god forbid, bucket stuff in the dust (being actually whipped and cream), and takes less than five minutes to make. The trick: a cold bowl, clean beaters, and a ratio of about 1 cup of heavy or whipping cream to 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, beaten until it holds soft peaks. Start low, so you don’t splash yourself when it is still liquid. Add a splash of flavoring (vanilla, almond or a liqueur) at the end for extra awesomeness.