Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baking & Pastry Skills Development: Creaming Method!

The hotside has its benefits but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the bakery.  Maybe it is my insatiable appetite for all things bread or my cavity-riddled sweet tooth that sparks my desire to learn to bake. Those degrees in Food Science come more and more into play as specificity is the key to success in the bakery. 

Is their a better person to learn baking and pastry skills from than Chef Stephen Durfee? The 1998 James Beard Award recipient for “Pastry Chef of the Year” and also named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” in 1999 by Pastry Art & Design and Chocolatier magazines. I think we all will be listening attentively!

What is the creaming method by the way? It is the process by which sugar and fat (butter) are combined to incorporate air. The crystalline structure of the sugar introduces thousands of small air cells into the fat where they are held throughout the mixing and baking process. As the batter is heated, these air cells expand to leaven the item. In short, whip the heck out of your butter and sugar before adding the eggs and flour. This is the basic technique for Pound Cake and Cookies.

Abundant variations exist with the creaming method. Don't like regular Pound Cake, cream up some Sour Cream Pound Cake.

If cake isn't your favorite, how about some cookies? Cherry-Chocolate Chip cookies, Macadamia Nut, or these classic Spritz Cookies. All developed by the leavening process of the creaming method. Need more leavening?  Let's grab some yeast and try some Lean and Enriched Doughs next!

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