Baking is no Engineering BusinessAugust 11th, 2010 by James | This article was viewed 11,156 times.
When I moved into my current house early this year, I noticed a huge oven (which is obviously better than the one I had back in my hometown). I had these thoughts of baking cookies myself over the summer and I started baking a month ago.
The cookies were surprisingly well made, they look and taste exactly like Cottage Cookies. The only thing wrong was that these are all a dream yet to come true.
Baking is no engineering business. Engineering and baking, even though they sometimes use the same unit, they meant different things!
I am a huge fan of chocolate chips cookies and I was surfing the internet for recipes until I found Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. Apparently they claim that Famous Amos grabbed that recipe straight off and start profiting from it. Since Famous Amos’ cookies were pretty good, I tried the recipe.
So far I have baked for a total of 3 times.
The first attempt of cookies came out compact and looked like butter cookies. Friends on facebook had a good laugh at them.
The second attempt failed miserably. I will explain on that earlier.
The third attempt was the best so far, with better texture and taste. But still, not quite the Cottage Cookies taste yet.
Like I said earlier, baking is no engineering business. Even as an engineer (we’re supposed to know everything there is about units!) we have to relearn the whole new language of “Baking”.
1. Teaspoon, not tablespoon.
First rule of baking, know your sizes! When recipe says for teaspoon, it is the smaller spoon, not the one used you use for breakfast.
I actually did that on the second attempt for both the salt and baking soda. Cookies came out extremely salty and bubbly (lots of holes). I had to throw the rest of the batter away.
2. Sticks does not literally mean sticks.
As you can see from the Toll House recipe link above. It says “1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened”. As a non-baker, what would you do?
I can tell you what I did, I bought two sticks of 250 grams of butter and mix all of them according to the recipe from the link. Cookies in the oven did not retain its shape and came out flat and oily.
What happened there was that there was too much butter in the mix. 1 Cup (2 sticks) of butter actually means 227 grams of butter since a stick of butter is 113.4 grams. Not two sticks of 250 grams butter.
3. If you don’t have an insulated baking pan, SPAM baking sheets!
One thing I realized is that the more baking sheets I have placed on my lousy baking pan, the less cookies I burn. On my third attempt to bake, I actually had around 5 baking sheets stacked together so that the bottom of my cookies would not burn too quickly.
So you can easily guessed it, usually the first batch of cookies are the fried ones.
Also, how does the cookies manufacturers are able to retain the crispiness of their cookies for such a long time. The cookies I bake usually becomes less crispy on the second day, even when they are in an airtight container. If there are some experts out there reading this, would you please answer this question.
I wonder when I could bake the “perfect cookie” …
In a Nutshell
With my professional engineering analysis on this matter called “baking”, I can conclude that the units used in baking is not standard … or I should take up another Bachelors Degree on baking.
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