Friday, November 6, 2015

The Secret to Baking Cookies

As a baker, you wish people would have told you the bad parts ahead of time: how much of an investment it is, always sift your flour, and if you plan on baking cookies with softened butter—leave it out the night before. The good parts are easy to pick out: the recognition, finding “your recipe,” and getting first dibs on anything freshly baked—always.
You wish that as soon as you decide you want to bake something, the secret baking society teleports a book in your hands of all the do’s and don’ts of baking.
But, what’s one of the qualities a baker wants to be known for?
How amazing their cookies are.

Well, I’ll let you in on a secret—free of charge. There’s a method to the edible madness.
Many have been trying to master the secret to baking cookies, going on baking quests far and wide (expensive and messy) for years. The New York Times even wrote about it, tracking it down from decades earlier with the woman behind Toll House cookies and interviewing several bakers around the city. All of them, including Ruth Wakefield of Toll House, agreed on one common thing: they all refrigerated their dough before baking them.
Refrigerating the dough starts a process called hydration, which in simpler terms, means that the dry ingredients get to soak the liquid ingredients while under a chill that dries out the dough, but adds more flavor.
Several bakers have tested the theory, even documenting the hourly process. Many have noted that the longer you keep the dough in the refrigerator, the better the results.

Flourish, the blog of flour brand King Arthur Flour, breaks it down for us. By refrigerating the dough does three things.
  1. Controls Spread
  2. Concentrates Flavor
  3. Changes Texture

So go forth, with this newfound knowledge and bake away, make a name for yourself. Whip together your favorite cookie dough, let it sit tight in the fridge overnight, and then go to bed dreaming of how amazing your cookies are about to taste!

And stay tuned for the next post, you're going to need this little piece of knowledge ;)

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