For those times when you want to mess up your kitchen, search your cabinets for ingredients and get your apron dirty, here are some simple baking tips. If you just can't face the clean up, get to the phone and call us with your order. We don't mind the clean up because we love baking for you.
Before we go into detail on specific ingredients or procedures, here is our number one tip to successful baking: follow your recipe carefully. Baking is a science whereas cooking is more forgiving. Going a little light on the flour will greatly impact the results of your cakes and cookies. While many ingredients can be substituted (a good cookbook will include substitutions), they cannot be left out if you want your dessert to turn out tasting great.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? When it comes to food safety, treat them both the same with the same heating and washing rules. At Jules Bakery we take extra precautions with our eggs. We use only fresh eggs and keep them refrigerated constantly, even if the recipe says room temperature. Eggs, especially the yolks are known to carry salmonella bacteria, which is killed when heated.
Take care to cook or bake eggs so they reach at least 160 degrees. For example, there are plenty of recipes on the Internet for Mousse that call for egg whites simply folded into chocolate or other flavors, but they donít call for cooking the mix Ė donít follow it! Find a recipes from a credible source that calls for heating the egg whites over hot water until it reaches the proper temperature. Even meringues should be baked enough to kill the bacteria. And donít eat the raw cookie dough.
Keeping on the egg theme, follow the same hygiene rules when working with eggs that you use when working with raw chicken or hamburger. Wash your hands immediately after touching raw eggs, and wash surfaces and utensils well in hot soapy water. Make sure you insist that children wash well before and after cracking eggs or helping with a recipe.
Are they interchangeable? Yes and no. All three are fats and essential to good baking. They bake about the same and create similar consistencies. They donít always taste the same though. Our advice is to try substituting margarine for butter. If you donít like the final results, donít do it again. But make a note of it. You can also try a 50/50 combination, using 50% shortening for the total fat and 50% butter or margarine. Again, the taste will be your final test.
There are some exceptions. If the recipe calls for melting butter, use butter because margarine separates when itís melted.
Itís a personal preference whether you want a flat crispy cookie or a fluffier chewy cookie. And itís a combination of reactions that produces your final result. For example, if you want your cookie to spread more, try adding more white sugar or less flour. NOTE of CAUTION: Baking is a science and is a series of chemical reactions between your ingredients. Donít substitute or change too much Ė do so only in small amounts and always consider it an experiment, making notes of the changes and results.
There are three secrets that can make your cookies go from okay to great. First, use quality ingredients. We use fresh eggs and butter. Second, be sure you cream the sugar and butter together well before adding any dry (flour, sodas, etc) ingredients. After creaming, you should add your eggs and cream again until the mixture changes color and all the sugar granules are absorbed.
Sift your dry ingredients together to encourage try mixture. Once it goes into the sugar/butter mix, you must only mix long enough to incorporate Ė less than a minute. Nothing ruins a cookie faster than over mixing, which is the third secret. Actually there is a fourth secret Ė stop by our bakery and choose from our large assortment of flavors.
Spring form pans are highly overrated. Especially when making cheesecakes. Is this you? You spend a lot of time and money making that new cheesecake recipe, put it in a spring form pan, in a water bath, just like the experts told you. After an hour, you remove it from the oven only to find the water leaked into the pan and created a mushy mess of your crust. (the fact that your cheesecake was like soup is a different tip Ė here we are looking at the pan). A standard cake pan Ė preferably with high sides, is all we use at the bakery. Our secret is to line the bottom and sides with bakers parchment (itís in the grocery stores now) and spray it with pan release. No leaks, and no mess. Let it set up overnight, invert it onto a board lined in parchment and invert again onto your serving plate. If the crust does not release right away give it a quick dip in hot water just along the bottom of the pan. This melts the butter, which releases the crust from the bottom. Itís way too easy.
Now for that soupy mess, cheesecakes are best baked at 330 degrees in a water bath for one hour. After which time, shut off the oven, leave the oven door open, lock the dog out of the room and wait for 2 hours. It should be set by then. Refrigerate overnight to get a good set.
If you canít keep the pets away or the cake still comes out soggy, let us bake for you! We always have a wide selection of rich made-from-scratch cheesecakes available.
Sorry, not going to go there. Itís our secret and weíre holding it tightly to our vest. But we always have it available for you to purchase -- just like frosting in a can!
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3201 Armar Drive, Marion, IA 52302, 319.447.0943 Serve Dessert First!
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