Cheap stuff. Good place for shopping wholesale.
I bought this 28 mould baking tray from Ng Ming Huat. I like it
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Here you will find the essential information you need for baking. Preparing baking dishes and pans Rub a piece of butter over the inside of the dish with a paper towel, making a thin, even coating. Sprinkle in some flour, then shake and tilt the dish until it is coated. Turn the dish upside down and tap out the extra flour. Sifting flour Method 1: Put a sifter over a bowl, add the flour and squeeze the handle to force the flour through the mesh screen. Method 2: Put a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and add the flour. Hold the sieve by the handle and gently tap it against your other hand. Cracking eggs Gently but firmly tap the middle of the egg on the edge of a bowl to crack the shell. Hold the egg over the bowl and pull the shell halves apart, letting the egg fall into the bowl. Beating butter and sugar Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl. The butter should be slightly soft for the best results. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Every now and then, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cutting butter into flour Scatter the butter chunks over the flour. The butter should be very cold for the best results. Method 1: Using a pastry blender, make quick chopping motions, pressing down firmly into the butter. Method 2: Using 2 table knives, cut through the butter and flour by pulling the knives in opposite directions. The mixture is ready when it looks like coarse crumbs with small pieces of butter still visible. Rinsing fruits Thoroughly rinse all fruits under cool running water. Lay them on a paper towel in an even layer to dry before using. Peeling fruits and vegetables Hold the fruit steady on a cutting board. Run a vegetable peeler down the fruit and away from you. Keep turning and peeling until all the skin is removed. Zesting citrus fruits Using short strokes, rub the citrus fruit over the small holes of a box grater, turning the fruit as you work. Rub off only the colored part of the skin (the zest). Avoid the white part underneath because it tastes bitter. Juicing citrus fruits Hold the fruit on its side on a cutting board and cut it in half. Twist each half over the cone of a juicer, then strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve. Coring fruits Hold the fruit steady on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut down through the center of the fruit at the stem. Put the fruit halves, cut side down, on the cutting board. Cut each piece in half lengthwise to make quarters. Turn 1 quarter of the fruit onto one side and trim away the stem and core. Repeat with the remaining 3 quarters. Hulling (or coring) strawberries Easy method: Using a small, sharp knife, cut across the top of the berry, removing the stem. Advanced method: Insert the tip of a small, sharp knife near the stem and turn the blade in a circle, removing the stem. Use the strawberries whole or cut lengthwise into halves or slices. Working with puff pastry Thaw the frozen puff pastry unopened in the refrigerator. Gently unfold it on a lightly floured or sugared surface. When not in use, keep the pastry covered with a towel so it does not dry out. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin on the lightly floured or sugared surface. Melting chocolate Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Select a saucepan in which the bowl will rest comfortably on top. Fill the pan one-third full with water. Heat the water over medium heat until steaming. Place the bowl on top. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. As the chocolate softens, stir it with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth. Use a pot holder or oven mitt and be careful of the hot steam! Testing for doneness Using an oven mitt to steady the pan, poke a wooden skewer or a toothpick into the center of a baked cake or muffin and then pull it straight out. If gooey batter is stuck to the toothpick, the cake or muffin needs to bake longer. If no crumbs are clinging to the toothpick, the cake or muffin is finished baking. Dusting with sugar Put confectioners sugar in a fine-mesh sieve. Move the sieve slowly over the surface of the baked good while tapping it gently against your other hand. Whipping cream Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream. Increase the speed to medium-high as the cream thickens. It will take about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and lift the beaters. The cream is ready if it stands in medium-firm peaks. Be careful not to beat the cream too long!
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Some people subscribe to the theory that you’re either a cook or a baker. But I know plenty of natural cooks who have learned to bake and plenty of natural bakers who have learned to free-style their savoury cooking like the best of them. So don’t be afraid! Here’s a list of the of the main making techniques discussed below oven preheating preparing your pan / tin measuring ingredients creaming butter and sugar whisking egg whites melting chocolate preparing nut meal rubbing butter into flour mixing piping baking how to know when something is done cooling storing oven preheating why Because ovens need to be hot to bake! how Turn oven on to the stated temperature in the recipe. Unless the recipe recipe states otherwise, use the fan-forced (or fan assist) setting and place one shelf in the middle of the oven. If your oven doesn’t have a fan assisted setting, the rule of thumb is to increase the temperature from the recipe by 20C (or 50F). what to watch out for Gas ovens tend to be less efficient than electric. So if you’re cooking with gas, be prepared for everything to take a little longer. All ovens are different, so be patient and learn to know whether your oven tends to cook fast or slow and be prepared to adjust the cooking time accordingly. The back of most ovens tends to be hotter than the front and top hotter than bottom, even in fan assisted ovens. So be prepared to rotate things to get even baking. Lots of books tell you to invest in an oven thermometer to check your temperature, but I’ve found they’re difficult to get to work properly because you have to open the oven to look at them and it can be difficult to find a good place to put them. If they work for you, great, but if you haven’t tried, I wouldn’t bother. preparing your pan / tin why To avoid your precious treat from sticking to the tray / pan. There’s nothing worse than a cake falling apart as you try to get it out of the tin! how For flat trays just spread with a layer of baking paper (parchment paper). Or invest in a silicon mat (also called silpat). For cakes and loaves, trace the shape of your pan onto a layer of baking (parchment) paper. Then rub the base and sides of your pan with butter, line with the paper and rub the paper with butter as well. For a video demonstration see the chocolate brownie recipe. For spring form pans, lining isn’t critical because you know you’re going to be able to remove the sides. But it can make your cake look more rustic, I just place a layer over the base of the pan then place the sides on top and lock them into shape. For tart tins with a removable base, there generally isn’t a need to line. For muffins and cup cakes, use prepurchased papers OR cut squares of baking paper and use these to line your. For a video demonstration see the raspberry muffins recipe. what to watch out for I’ve found that cheap parchment / baking / greaseproof paper is fine most of the time. Especially when you are greasing it with butter. Sometimes the sides will stick. Just carefully separate with a small knife, being careful not to cut into the cake more than necessary. If you run out of paper, al foil makes a good stand in, although it generally doesn’t look as good in photographs! measuring ingredients why Baking tends to be a little more scientific than general cooking and it’s important to keep the ratios of ingredients about the same as the recipe intended to get the desired results. That being said, some things are more flexible than others so don’t feel you need to be weighing to the EXACT figure every time. how By far the quickest and most accurate method is to invest in a set of digital scales. That way you just pop your bowl or saucepan on, zero the scale, weigh out the ingredient and then you’re good to go. So much easier than fiddling around with cups and spoons. For liquid ingredients, I give measurements by weight (g or oz) because metric cups are different to US cups and it gets too confusing. And when I worked in the food industry, we just weighed everything. So much easier. what to watch out for I’ve given measurements in both metric and US. Choose one set and stick to it – there can be slight differences and if you measure the flour in grams and the liquid ingredients in oz. you may run into troubles. So if you like to bake, even only once a month, buy yourself a digital set of scales, They’re not expensive these days and soo worth it. But if you’d prefer to stick to cups and spoons – this website is good for conversions or just google it. Apparently Australian tablespoons are meant to be different from the rest of the world (20mL instead of 15mL) but every set of measuring spoons I’ve ever owned has had normal 15mL tablespoons so take that as the standard. And as I mentioned metric cups are different slightly to US imperial cups. creaming butter and sugar why Like whisking egg whites, this is a way to get air incorporated into your baked goods, making them lighter and fluffier. how You can use a food processor, but a stand mixer with beaters tends to do a better job of incorporating air into the butter & sugar mixture. what to watch out for Don’t use butter straight from the fridge as it will be too hard – allow it to soften a little and come up to room temperature. If you’ve forgotten to get your butter out, like I often do, chop it into small pieces so it warms more quickly than a whole lump. You can over-mix your butter and sugar. When it is pale cream in colour and looks fluffy is a good time to stop. whisking egg whites why It’s all about getting air into your creation to make it light and fluffy. For things like meringues, pavlova and macaroons it’s also about dissolving sugar into the egg white to give you sweet flavour and crisp texture when baked. how The old fashioned way is to beat egg whites in a clean dry bowl until you have a white foam. It doesn’t take as long as you think and can be quite theraputic. The modern way, with a stand mixer fitter with a wire whisk. Just pop the egg white in the bowl and turn on to the highest setting. Scrape the sides down every now and then to get even mixing. Much quicker and less labour intensive. what to watch out for Cleanliness! Oil from a dirty bowl or whisk or from a little droplet of egg yolk can prevent the white from foaming. If this happens just throw everything out. Clean thoroughly and start again. You could use the egg white for scrambled eggs if you prefer not to waste good food. Soft peaks. This is when you have a nice foamy white mixture with no runny egg white in the bottom of the bowl. Will almost hold it’s shape if you scoop up some mixture with a spoon and try and drop it. The mixture looks glossy. Firm peaks. When the mixture is slightly more solid than soft peaks. Easily holds it shape if you scoop up some mixture with a spoon and try and drop it. The mixture is less glossy and a little more matt. A pinch of salt. Can help the protein in the whites foam. Cream of tartar. A pinch can help stabilise your egg white foam. I tend not to bother though. Using a copper bowl can also stabilise but if you’re using your egg whites straight away there’s no need to go that cheffy. Overmixing. I’ve read and heard from pastry chefs that it is possible to overmix egg whites, I think they start to separate out again. But to be honest this hasn’t ever happened to me. melting chocolate why Because melted chocolate is divine! how Bash your chocolate into small chunks, ideally no more than 1cm (1/2in) squares. Microwave – place in a microwave proof bowl and zap on a medium heat stirring ever 30 seconds or so until chocolate is glossy and smooth. Stove top. The easiest method is to heat your butter or cream (if the recipe needs it) then pour these over your broken chocolate. Stand for a few minutes then gently stir. Stove top – just chocolate. If you need to just melt some chocolate on its own. Place in a saucepan then carefully put over a low heat for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stand for a few minutes. Stir, If it isn’t melting keep putting back over a low heat for 15 seconds at a time. And repeating the standing and stirring. High temperatures will cause your chocolate to split so you need to be super careful. Stove top – double boiler. The alternative stove top method means more washing up but is less risky. Place a about 1cm (1/2in) water in the base of a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Place chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl on top of the saucepan. Stand for a few minutes then stir. If the chocolate hasn’t melted, leave it a little longer or add more heat. It’s important the base of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the hot water. You just want the gentle heat of the steam to caress the bottom of the bowl. what to watch out for Heat. Excess heat is the number 1 reason chocolate splits. And it takes less than you think. So be careful. Splitting. If your chocolate starts to split it will look like it’s curdling and you can see oil (cocoa butter) separating out. If this happens cool the mixture down asap by transferring to a clean cold bowl. And quickly stirring in some (a few tablespoons) cold milk or cream. If you’re going to be adding eggs, don’t worry the eggs will re-emulsify the chocolate and all will be good. If you’re not adding eggs and the milk hasn’t helped, try adding an egg yolk anyway. Moisture. For some crazy reason, small amounts of water or steam can cause chocolate to split. But large amounts like in the cream seem to be fine. Who knew? preparing nut meal why Sometime it’s hard to find ground almond or other nut meal. And sometimes it’s cheaper to grind your own. how Pop the nuts in your food processor and whizz until you’re happy they’re fine enough. Something like coarse sand is about as good as you’ll get. what to watch out for Over grinding – if you whizz too long the heat from the food processor will draw out the oil from the nuts and you’ll end up with nut butter. May not be a bad thing ? Under grinding – If you’re maxing something like macaroons, you want fine particles otherwise your finished dish will have a gritty texture. For things like the pear cake or brownies, however this isn’t usually a problem. rubbing butter into flour why Part of the secret to getting light crisp pastry, is to get your butter to coat as many flour particles as possible. how Either pulse in the food processor or use the tips of your fingers to literally pick up little pinches of butter and flour and rub them together. You can stop when the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. what to watch out for You don’t want the butter to be melted into the pastry. So start with cold butter and keep everything as cool as possible. So no overmixing and not hot hands! mixing why If you’re going to get cake mixture to lick at the end. You need to mix things! how Mostly a spoon in a bowl is fine. If the recipe calls for ‘folding’ then that means super gentle mixing. Watch the almond macaroon video for an example of folding. what to watch out for Overmixing. If the recipe has flour, the more you mix, the more you’ll develop the protein (gluten) which means the tougher your texture will be. This isn’t a problem for flourless recipes. Lumps. Mostly you don’t want lumps because they’ll stay in the finsihed product and you don’t want to chew through flour or sugar lumps. Some things don’t matter in the lump department and seem to work themselves out. The muffin recipes and the banana bread are two that come to mind where lumpy mixture doesn’t equal lumpy baked goods. piping why It’s all about getting pretty shapes, or more even shapes. how Get a ziplock bag. Spoon the mixture inside. Press the mixture down to one corner. Twist the top so the mixture wont escape that way. Then cut off the corner with scissors and get to work. It can take a bit of practice. Watch the macaroon video or the custard tartlet video for examples. what to watch out for The size of the corner snip makes a difference! Too small and your mixture will take forever to flow out. Too large and it will rush. Find the right balance. You can always transfer to a fresh bag and start again. Try to use your whole hands to gently squeeze the bag for more even flow rather than pinching from the front. It’s a little like chopsticks, the further back from the tip you hold, the better. baking why Well this is a baking class… how Pop in the oven. what to watch out for See preheating your oven above. Unless the recipes says otherwise – choose the middle shelf. If something is starting to brown too quickly or look burnt but the middle isn’t cooked, cover it with foil to retard the browning. For delicate things like a sponge cake, opening the oven door before the protein has set will cause the cake to sink in the middle. Most things aren’t so pretentious but remember every time you open the oven door, you’re losing heat so it’s going to take longer for your things to bake. how to know when something is done why So you know when it’s time to eat! how First look at the colour. If it isn’t dark enough keep cooking. Second, have a feel – be careful it’s hot! For cakes and things you want it to feel spongey and slightly firm. If it sinks easily in the middle or feels gooey it’s not ready. For brownies as long as the top middle seems to have a crust, I’d say it is done. You want your brownies to be a little under baked to give that wonderful squidgy texture. Third if you’re still not sure, stab it with a skewer, or a small knife in the middle (because this is the last place to cook – the edges can be fine but the middle may not be!). Pull out the instrument and have a look. If there is lots of gooey cake batter on the instrument, it’s probably not cooked. If it looks relatively clean, then you’re good to go. what to watch out for see details above. cooling why Even after you take things out of the oven, they’re still cooking while they’re hot. how Either cool in the pan on a cake rack. Or remove from the tin and cool on a cake rack. what to watch out for If you don’t have a cake rack, try to use something that will allow the air to circulate underneath the tin/cake. This stops it sweating and cools faster. If you think something is over baked, you want to remove if from the tin so it cools more quickly. But generally, gentle cooling in the tin works best. storing why Because sometimes it’s not a good idea to eat everything in one sitting. Trust me. how Generally, covered in the fridge is best. Especially for anything involving cream or butter. BUT chocolate goes dull in the fridge so only refrigerate if you have to or if it’s too warm outside. Dry things like meringue or macaroons without filling will last longer the dryer they are. So popping in an airtight container or sealing in a ziplock bag can be best. Freezing is usually OK, expept for cream or custard. Just defrost at room temperature or in the fridge. what to watch out for Mostire transfer. The first thing that happens as cakes and bakery treats age is that mosture transfers from where there is lots of it (like in a custard filling) to where there is little of it (like a pastry shell) so mostly keeping things unfilled until the last minute is best.