In this second week of baking we learned about making pastry dough and various quick breads. All pastry dough and batters have similar ingredients, but it’s the proportions that change per recipe.
Quick breads have no yeast. Here, baking powder and soda are used. Baking powder is actually a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch. It’s also ‘double acting.’ This means the leavening process-a release of CO2-happens in liquid AND heat.
With baking soda, the release of CO2 happens with the addition of acid. These can be, among other things, buttermilk, brown sugar or cocoa powder. It also neutralizes excess acid, so that tang from the acid is lost.
When these two are combined, the baking soda is there primarily to neutralize the acidity of the recipe.
Leaveners lose strength after time. You can check to see if yours is still working with these simple tests:
For Baking Powder- Put a teaspoon full in ½ cup of water. If the water fizzes, it’s good.
For Baking Soda- Put a teaspoon full in water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Again, if it fizzes, it’s good.
There are different mixing techniques for dough of this type:
Tender textured: This is for morning breads like banana and pumpkin breads. The mixing is done when the ingredients are just combined. Over mixing produces a tough quick bread.
Rubbed dough or Cutting-In: This method is used with making biscuits, soda breads and pie dough. We used this for the quiches we made (recipe below). The chilled fat is “rubbed” into flour to create flakes. All the ingredients are kept chilled here.
Blending: The wet and dry ingredients get mixed together AFTER they’re both combined separately. Like the tender textured, stop when they’re just combined.
Creaming: Used for muffins, cakes, cookies and other baked goods, this happens when all the ingredients are creamed together until smooth. All the ingredients are to be at room temperature.
Measuring is really important in baking. This was a new thing for me to deal with. Yes, most recipes have measurements, but I’m what I call a “some and lots” cook. I put in “some of this and lots of that.” Exact measurements never entered into my creations and when I follow a recipe, it’s pretty much by sight and intuition, not by measuring cups and spoons. To me, baking is like writing a script for television, it HAS to be 22 minutes to fit into a half hour time slot perfectly. Cooking is more like writing for movies, it is ABOUT two hours long-ish.
The whole class was assigned a piecrust from scratch, which we then made into quiches. We also were assigned different quick breads. I made corn bread. Fun, but not very hard, so I’m sharing the quiche recipe instead. It allows you to be more creative than just adding some jalapeno and/or cheese to your corn bread.
Cathy got to make blueberry muffins with a fabulous crumble on top. Her take on the class and this recipe is on Cathy’s Blog.
Basic QuicheCrust Ingredients:
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
Pinch of sugar
4 oz butter, cold and cut into 1” cubes
1/4 C ice water
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until the pieces of butter are pea sized. Add water until the dough just holds together. Form into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
1/2 C cream
1/2 C milk
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper
Ingredients of your choice: mushrooms, shallots, herbs, goat cheese, whatever
For Quiche Lorraine:
1/2 t mustard
Equal parts grated Gruyere and chopped bacon (depending on how much you like)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk cream, milk and eggs together thoroughly. Add seasonings to taste. Blind bake crust** in an 8’’ or 9” pie pan for 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and continue to bake another 10 minutes. Sprinkle crust with additional ingredients. Pour in custard. Bake 10-15 minutes until the filling is puffed and lightly browned.
**This is also known as Par Baking. After rolling the dough and laying it in the pan, cover it with parchment paper and pie weights or a pound of beans to keep it from puffing up.