Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting an MS in Baking- Chocolate Chip Cookie #10

This is the second in a series of posts about baking through Alton Brown's (the Good Eats guy) I'm Just Here for More Food.  See the first one here.

This book is the source of the information contained in this post.

Marathon Maiden asked a great question in the comments on my first MS in baking post: If everything gets mixed together eventually, why worry about doing the dry and liquid ingredients separately?

The answer is that it doesn't matter too much how the liquids are mixed with each other and how the dry ingredients are mixed with each other, but when the liquids and dry ingredients are mixed together, science happens.

The reasons to mix the dry ingredients in the food processor are 1. So the flour gets tossed around, which helps to make a light and fluffy baked good and 2. So the chemical leavening agent (the baking soda, baking powder, or both) gets distributed equally in the flour.

Next the liquid ingredients come together.  Here's one of my ice cube egg yolks.  I think this would work better if I had more forethought and let it defrost in the fridge during the day rather than delicately trying to defrost it in the microwave and not get scrambled eggs.

Here are the liquids together:  You can see tiny bits of cooked egg yolk that had to be scooped out.

Then the liquids are poured into the dry ingredients and the two are brought together with a minimal amount of stirring.  Why?  Because stirring distributes air bubbles evenly throughout the baked good, making it softer and more tender.  That's why you beat the heck out of the batter for a cake.  It makes it nice and delicate and soft.  Muffins, however, are not supposed to be too delicate.  Doing just a little stirring causes irregular air bubbles, leading to a more course texture.  Although most cookies are made using the creaming method, these are muffin method cookies.

Here's the batter together.  It's not nice and smooth like the slice n' bakes.

In fact, the batter was very loose, and I had to ball it together with my hands.  The result, however, was amazing.  I got a lot of compliments on these cookies.

It will be interesting to see the differences between these and cookies I will make with the creaming method.

Next up in Getting an MS in Baking: Pineapple Upside Down Cake