Friday, July 22, 2011

Quick Tips for Cooking and Baking

I have spent a lot of time over the years bothering the internet with my problems when it comes to cooking and baking. I've looked up so many tips and tricks for getting my baked goods to turn out right, especially with regards to baking at high altitude. However, I tend to look the same things up over and over again because I forget. So rather than continue with that pattern, I figured I'd get all my helpful hints organized and posted here. Maybe next time I cook or bake and forgot an ingredient or rule for adjusting for the altitude, I'll remember that I've got all that info here on my blog. Maybe. More likely I'll forget about this post and look everything up again from the beginning. Here goes anyway. These are just general "rule of thumb" tips. Each recipe may need a bit of tweaking to get everything just right.


Baking Chocolate: For each ounce of unsweetened chocolate use 3 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp saturated fat such as coconut oil or butter.

Bittersweet Chocolate: 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp sugar for each ounce needed

Butter: Use an equal amount of coconut oil or lard

Buttermilk (for baking): Pour 1 Tbsp vinegar in measuring cup and add 1 c milk. Allow 5-10 min to sour.

Condensed Milk: For each 14 oz can needed, heat 1/3 c water, 1/2 c honey or maple syrup and 3 Tbsp butter to steaming. In heat-proof bowl whisk in 1 c dry milk powder. Allow to cool before using. Or, if you have the time, bring 6 c whole milk to boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 min, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 c honey or maple syrup and continue to simmer 10-15 min more or until reduced to 3 cups. Strain through mesh strainer and refrigerate up to one week.

Cornstarch: For each Tbsp needed use 2 tsp arrowroot, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 Tbsp potato flour or 4 tsp quick-cooking tapioca. (Using arrowroot in a milk-based sauce will cause the sauce to have a slimy mouth-feel, so use potato flour for those applications.)

Corn Syrup or Molasses: Substitute local raw honey equally or use equal amount of sugar and increase liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup.

Cream of Tartar: Use an equal amount of baking soda

 - Baking - For each cup needed, use 3 oz almond meal and 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour
 - Thickening - For each Tbsp needed, use 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot or potato flour
 - Breading: Use an equal amount for almond meal

Half-and-Half: For 1 cup, use 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c heavy cream

Heavy Cream: Except for recipes calling for whipping the cream to either soft or stiff peaks, use equal amounts of regular coconut milk. Or use 2/3 c whole milk and 1/3 c melted butter for each cup needed.

Kosher Salt (coarse ground): For each tsp needed, use 1/2 tsp table salt

Maple Syrup: Use an equal amount of honey.

 - Baking - For every cup needed, use 3/4 c honey or maple syrup, reduce liquid by 3 Tbsp and reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees F. (Honey causes baked goods to brown more quickly.)
 - Cooking - For each cup needed, use 3/4 c honey or maple syrup.

Vanilla bean: Use 2 tsp vanilla extract for each whole bean needed.

High Altitude Adjustments:
For Denver/Boulder altitude - around 5280ft

 - Increase oven temperature by 15 degrees F and reduce baking time by 20%
 - Reduce leavening by 1/8 to 1/4 tsp for each tsp needed
 - Decrease sugar by 1-2 Tbsp
 - Increase liquid by 2-4 Tbsp
 - Whip egg whites to soft peaks rather than stiff peaks
 - Thoroughly grease pans except when baking angel food cake
 - Consider using XL eggs instead of L
 - For cookies add up to 1/4 c flour

 - Increase boiling/simmering time (water boils at lower temp)
 - When making candy, reduce target temp by 1 degree F for each 500ft above sea level
 - When deep-frying, decrease temp 3 degrees for every 1000ft above sea level

So there you have it. As I remember more tips or substitutions that I've needed, I'll update the list. Hope this helps. StumbleUpon

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