Baking is a wonderful hobby that a lot of people get into for fun or business. It’s an art form that has been around for millennia and has only improved with today’s advancing technology. Beginners are taught to choose efficient and reliable ovens as well to buy heat-resistant oven gloves to keep their hands and fingers safe. However, there is a myriad of tips and tricks that a baker must learn along the way in order to improve his or her craft. This article will discuss essential tips that beginners must know when using butter for baking.
What You Need to Know About Temperature and Butter
Butter is one of the main ingredients in baked recipes – especially cakes, pies, breads and cookies. It isn’t common knowledge that temperature spells a difference between a dry crust and flaky, fabulous pastry. It does make a big difference. However, most recipes only say add this much butter. How do you know what temperature it should be?
Kitchen Tip #1: Cold Butter Makes Flaky Pie Crusts
Keeping butter very cold (not frozen) affects the texture of a variety of baked goods. As mentioned above, it is ideal to use cold butter with scones, biscuits, pie dough and even puff pastry. The reason butter is kept cold is to keep it from incorporating fully with the other ingredients in the dish. It directly affects the baking process. It works this way: butter has about 15 to 17 percent water content. Since it has been rolled into sheets when the dough was made, you now have thin sheets of butter within it. When it is baked, the water content turns into steam, thereby creating wonderful sheets of golden pastry. If the butter was placed warm, you would end up with a creamy and crumbly dough. This isn’t bad, but what sets a great baker from an average one is how flaky and golden his pie crust is.
Kitchen Tip #2: Room Temperature Butter is Best for Aerating
For soft, creamy and melt-in-your mouth cakes and pastries, use room temperature butter. This works especially well in cake and cookie recipes where he butter is combined with sugar. At room temperature, the sugar crystals are able to work fully well with the butter; it carves out hundreds of air pockets. This process is referred to as “creaming” because the butter and sugar become fully incorporated into one, creamy and delicious mixture. You’ll know when you’ve successfully creamed butter and sugar because you’ll have white-colored “cream” in your mixer. This fully aerated mixture helps baking powder create the most tender and lightest cookies and cakes!
Once you’ve mastered using butter in a wide of variety of recipes, you’ll be pulling out rack after rack of piping hot goodies from your kitchen. Don’t forget to always have your heat-resistant oven gloves on hand. The last thing you want is to drop a perfectly baked cake because it was too hot to handle. If you have more kitchen tips or additional tricks when using butter when baking, please feel free to share. You may leave us a note at the comments section below.