[Ongoing] Baking Questions & Answers
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On Massdrop, you can find enthusiasts of all levels within any given community. There are beginners who are just starting out and experts who really know their stuff. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, you should always be able to find answers to your questions within the community.
BAKING Knowing your way around the kitchen often includes being well versed with the oven. When it comes to being a proficient baker of breads, pastries, pies, cakes, and more, honing your skills can be a long road. Whether you need help with your baked goods or you have some great tips to share, you’ve come to the right place.
ASK QUESTIONS Looking for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe? Want to start making your own banana bread at home, but don’t know where to start? Need to figure what a Dutch oven is, why you need one, and how to use it?
The best way to find the answers to your questions is to ask the community. There are members who are experts in pretty much every area of cooking you can imagine, and they can help you go from beginner to pro.
Ask your question/s by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community know a lot about baking and have great information to share. We encourage you to help out anyone who has questions!

Want to start your own discussion? Click here: massdrop.com/cooking/talk/new

thumb_upjohn.yu, evan.kahn, and 7 others
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cstarr78
2
Nov 2, 2018
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Hey everyone! I'm new to baking, but a pretty experienced cook. I just purchased a Kitchenaid Pro 600 stand-up mixer, so I'm really excited to get into it. What are some great resources to start with as far as learning how to bake? I'd love to bake breads, rolls (dinner and sweet), and of course all kinds of desserts. Related to that, I don't have much in the way of baking pans go--I have an 8x8 and 9x13 Pyrex, and that's pretty much it. What are your beginning "essentials" as far as baking pans and other kitchen tools go? Thanks so much!
Nov 2, 2018
rachaelfaith
11
Jan 9, 2019
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For a complete reference, here: https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/08/guide-to-essential-baking-tools.html For something more succinct and beginner-friendly: A good kitchen scale. Not every recipe will have weight measures, but you can always convert, or use recipes with weights listed. It's much more accurate and consistent. Mixing bowls in small, medium, and large sizes, if you don't have any. I recommend a few Pyrex and a few stainless steel. Pie plate (Pyrex) Good metal whisk (none of that silicone-coated stuff) 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup Plain, stainless steel measuring spoons Offset spatula Muffin/cupcake tin Silpat GIR spatulas - I cannot bake (or cook) effectively without these Since you cook, you may have some of these, but figured I'd mention anyway. A lot of your supplies will depend on what you bake (bread? cookies? jack of all trades?) as well and you will probably find yourself buying things on the fly if you get into it.
Jan 9, 2019
rachaelfaith
11
Jan 9, 2019
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Oh, and for resources: any book by Rose Levy Berenbaum (The Baking Bible, The Cake Bible). How Baking Works for baking science. Jim Lahey bread books. BraveTart by Stella Parks because she is a baking genius.
Jan 9, 2019
Duncan
3647
Jan 17, 2018
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Hey y'all!
We have our winners for the discussion giveaway! Congrats to the following people: · Seth M. - Emile Henry Rectangular Baker · @LeCheffre - USA Bakeware 4-Piece Set · Sid P. - Combekk Railway Dutch Oven
The giveaway is over, but the discussion is not. If you have a question or an answer in regards to baking then feel absolutely free to keep the conversation going. Thanks to all for participating.
Jan 17, 2018
LeCheffre
42
Jan 30, 2018
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Got my Bakeware 4-piece set. They are INCREDIBLE. Heavy duty, non-stick to 450 in the oven, the sheets don't warp in the oven... crisp bottoms on some low carb slider buns I made. Thank you, Massdrop. I highly recommend USA Bakeware.
Jan 30, 2018
Duncan
3647
Jan 30, 2018
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Sweet! Show off the *buns, man! #nosoggybottoms
*Slider buns, specifically.
Jan 30, 2018
Mr.mishi
2
Dec 20, 2017
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This is a question for making fat and tall fluffy pancakes. These are more like the Japanese style ones. I wanted to know what are the cookie cutter like tools you would use when applying them on a pan? This way the pancakes are tall yet fluffy. Let me know. I'd greatly appreciate it.
Dec 20, 2017
Mr.mishi
2
Dec 22, 2017
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Thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate it.
Dec 22, 2017
gardey
75
Oct 12, 2018
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Hi, I think you may know but please dismiss if so and regard this comment for those who are interested in making Japanese style pancakes. Japanese pancakes (they call them "hotcakes," a term that also is used in the US to differentiate between the flatter flapjack and pancake) are literally "cakes," either starting or ending in the pan, but the leavening process mostly occurring in the oven. Depending on how tall you want each pancake to be, say if its 1~2 inches tall, it can be done simply by putting the pan in the oven. If taller pancakes are desired, then you will need the molds, but at this point you are pretty much baking a cake, not a fluffy mochiko-batter flap jack.
Oct 12, 2018
Tbonedaugherty
2
Dec 20, 2017
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When I make just a simple bread I always end up with dense end product. What are some things that I can do to get lighter softer bread?
Dec 20, 2017
A community member
Oct 8, 2018
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Know this was a while ago, but in reading the answers, I just wanted to put in my 2¢ worth. Higher hydration (think a little more liquid or less flour) would help. As to the "just water, flour, salt and yeast," that's not bad, but remember that some sugar and fat/dairy make a loaf that will last a little longer--sugar is "hygroscopic" (holds water) and fat just keeps it soft longer. Depending on where you live, the idea of using all purpose flour may or may not be a good idea. I live at a high altitude and need the extra gluten/structure in a bread flour.
Have any changes you've made made a difference?
Oct 8, 2018
gardey
75
Oct 12, 2018
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Unless you post the exact recipe and methodology you are using, everyone can only speculate and write off the many, many things that can alter you end product.
By saying "simple bread," I am going to assume the ingredients are only flour, water, salt, and yeast. I am also going to assume you are making an "artisan bread," since a "lighter, softer bread" with just those ingredients can be a bit difficult.
Most of the replies given to you will help. I just wanted to add on that even before you make your dough, you can make a starter. This will ensure that your flour is as hydrated as it can get, which will vastly change your outcome than adding in flour or water during or after mixing, which should be for very small adjustments depending on the environment, not for tweaking. Here is random site on two common starters: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/more-artisan-bread-baking-tips-poolish-biga/
Also, just wondering, did you check your yeast? I apologize if you already know, but a reminder that yeast is a living thing and will go flat. Here is random site on how to check your yeast: https://www.thekitchn.com/active-dry-instant-yeast-best-tips-for-working-with-yeast-180312
Additionally, the temperature of your water can and will alter your dough (and your yeast). Dense means that your dough may be too cold (should be around 72F out of the mixer) and/or isn't proofing enough.
Finally, although it is difficult to do at home, artisan breads need steam to fully leaven and develop a crust. This can be done by making your starting oven temperature higher than on the recipe, then spraying water onto the dough.
Anyways, it's best to post your recipe at the very least since there are so many things that can alter your result, and usually its a combination of things instead of just one issue.
Oct 12, 2018
Quilterkaryn
7
Dec 20, 2017
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Can anyone give me a great cookie recipe for the Holidays that is easy to make and tastes great!
Dec 20, 2017
Quilterkaryn
7
Dec 24, 2017
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Thanks Josh
Dec 24, 2017
Quilterkaryn
7
Dec 24, 2017
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These do look good! Gotta try them.
Dec 24, 2017
Jonathan-Le
164
Dec 20, 2017
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I went to Paris last year and they have amazing crepes. Anyone has a crepe recipe that can share ?
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Dec 20, 2017
Cuttooth
33
Dec 21, 2017
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I love crepes, too. Most of the ones I've had in the US and here in Hawaii are more eggy and floppy, unlike the ones I've had in France which are more floury and crisper if that makes sense, they are fantastic. But, my favorites are the buckwheat galettes I've had in Normandy which have a nuttier, more crisp texture, super good. These are the two recipes I use for regular crepes and the buckwheat galettes. There are arguments on needing to let the batter rest or not, but for me, I like to let it rest to get rid of the air bubbles in the batter (I let mine sit in the fridge overnight.) I almost always eat savory crepes and add salt to the batters but that's optional. You can also add things like herbs to the batter as well. One thing I really like doing is after pouring the batter into the pan and spreading it out, I add shredded cheese to the top of it. When it's flipped over to cook the 2nd side, the cheese crisps up and adds a nice texture to the outside of the crepe. Anyway, the fun part is experimenting and seeing what works for you.
Crepes
2 large eggs 3/4 cup milk 1/2 cup water 1 cup flour 3 tablespoons melted butter Butter for coating the pan
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

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This is the recipe I use for Buckwheat crepes. Got this from the Serious Eats website.
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Buckwheat flour 3/4 cup All purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt 1 Large egg 1 1/4 cups Whole milk 1 1/3 cups) Water Butter, for cooking
INSTRUCTIONS: To prepare the batter: Whisk dry ingredients to combine. In a large bowl, whisk the water, milk and egg until blended. Then slowly whisk in the flours and salt, until you get a smooth, silky batter. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
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PREPARATION: Heat crepe pan or a small non-stick skillet. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.
Dec 21, 2017
Speycaster
6
Dec 21, 2017
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Fantastic, answer! Useful information, with recipes. I'm going to try both of your recipes. Thanks for your input.
Dec 21, 2017
Validosius
5
Dec 20, 2017
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Would anyone have a simple (but tasty) recipe or a link to one for a sugar free cake or pecan pie? My wife is diabetic and unfortunately I'm not baking savvy. Thank you in advance.
Dec 20, 2017
Validosius
5
Dec 21, 2017
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Thank you Tesshan.
Dec 21, 2017
mrstbenton
1
Dec 21, 2017
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I have a favorite cookbook for deserts that are sugar free, it is put out by EQUAL.. Both my husband and myself are diabetic. Also if you go to Splenda site online, can find good recipes
Dec 21, 2017
dyerdyuz
4
Dec 20, 2017
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Hi, I have very little knowledge in cooking. I'm not also familiar with the tools used in cooking. Could you recommend what are the must-have items/tools for getting started?
Dec 20, 2017
TimBoisvert
0
Oct 15, 2018
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Victorinox Fibrox Pro is my chef’s knife of choice. $30 on Amazon.
Oct 15, 2018
DakotaWillison
3
Oct 16, 2018
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I wouldn't say shun are bad so much as over priced. Decent knives
Oct 16, 2018
Beatrix
13
Dec 19, 2017
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What is the purpose of adding alcohol to baked goods? It’s just a general question of why it’s better use booze than plain water. Does it make a difference in the overall texture, taste or etc?
Dec 19, 2017
LeCheffre
42
Dec 25, 2017
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In addition to what others have said, vodka boils and steams more violently than water, which results in a lighter pie crust.
Dec 25, 2017
RayF
20464
Mar 19, 2018
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No purpose really...(but don't let that out)!
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Mar 19, 2018
Zilfallion
135
Dec 19, 2017
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Does anyone have some good methods for sealing calzones that looks good? I started making them weekly from scratch a couple months ago. I've pretty much gotten them to taste exactly how I wanted, but they could use a little improvement in how they look(brushed egg really gives them a nice golden color).
Dec 19, 2017
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