Perfect Baking 101 (Lesson five) :: Ingredient Temperature

Keeping in line with temperatures…it’s extremely important to heed one important fact: all ingredients must be at room temperature. In order to more perfectly define “room temperature, it refers to about 68º F (unless otherwise stated in the recipe).

If you take a combination of ingredients, such as flour, butter and eggs, then try to mix them together while they are all varying temperatures, you will have a cold, messy lump–resulting in a baked, messy lump. Knowing that a cake’s (or bread’s) final internal temperature is about 200º, when you begin all ingredients at the same temperature (68º), they will all reach the final temperature at the same time.

  1. Cold butter does not beat well; room-temp butter will break-down and create air bubbles, allowing aeration
  2. Cold eggs will not blend properly; room-temp eggs are maleable and will beat fluffier and act as a binder between wet/dry ingredients
  3. Cold milk (or water) will coagulate and clump in the batter, requiring extra beating time to mix the ingredients; room temperature liquid will moisten the dry ingredients without the need over-beat, therefore avoiding gluten (when flour and liquid are over-mixed—tasting like glue, with a gluey texture)

Problems:

  • Batter too thick, won’t spread evenly in pan
  • Outer edges cook faster while middle is still raw
  • Finished product is dense, not aerated
  • Heavy product, gluey-taste

Solution:

  • Allow butter to come to room temperature naturally; to speed up, cut into smaller pieces and rest in single layer
  • Heat eggs in bowl with hot tap water for five minutes
  • Warm milk (or liquid) in microwave

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Baked From Scratch