The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165215   Message #4018909
Posted By: Charmion
13-Nov-19 - 11:37 AM
Thread Name: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
I always do the recipe by the numbers the first time, but I almost always end up changing the order of tasks and the proportion of some ingredients, especially sugar, salt and fat, which can often be cut without harming flavour. Veg content and herbs I usually increase, sometimes by a lot.

The big exception is baking with non-yeast leavens, a chemistry-based process with which I am reluctant to meddle. I understand the workings of baking soda well enough to know how much of what is necessary, and most published recipes get it right.

Baking with yeast is quite another story. Flours can be highly variable, and temperature has a strong effect on yeast performance, so the behaviour of a specific recipe can differ sharply from winter to summer, say. So I add "enough flour to make a firm dough", one of my favourite phrases from Victorian cookery. Yesterday's bread was made with no-name flour from the supermarket, and I must have used a good half-pound more than I did with the last batch I made with the stone-ground stuff from the Arva mill. The weight difference probably comes from water content; the supermarket flour is much drier.

But the real thing is you have to pay attention to what your ingredients are doing. A decent cook can't be asleep at the switch!