Folding ingredients. What does it even mean!?

Often you’ll come across the word folding when you are reading a baking recipe. If you are new at baking then this term can cause some confusion. Basically, folding is a method of mixing in order to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. For example, meringue is a dish that requires a lot of air, but if you need to add flavor, you must be sure to do so without removing the air from the mixture. The key to folding a mixture is to go slow and reach to bottom of the bowl to make sure you are incorporating all of your ingredients. Follow these instructions in order to correctly fold all of your ingredients.

First put all of your ingredients to the side of your airy mixture. If you throw all of the ingredients on top you may push all of the air out and that would defeat the purpose of the folding.

Now use a big spoon to scoop all around the sides of the mixture until you get to where you started. When you have reached this point, slowly lift up your spoon and bring it toward the center.

Next you will use the spoon to cut through the center of the mixture and repeat the move where you scoop and lift. Cutting through the middle means that you will get all areas mixed.

This is a slow process, so be patient and continue to repeat the steps. It may be tempting to start to stir at this point, but doing so will ruin your mixture. Eventually your mixture will begin to come together and you’ll be left with a light concoction.

A brief guide to whisking

Whisking is a miraculous way of mixing that allows you to turn liquids into creams and stiff peaks. It’s really marvelous! Whisking only requires you to move your whisk swiftly through the mixture until it changes form. There are several stages to whisking, but the two most popular are soft peaks and stiff peaks. This is a simple technique that can easily be ruined by over whisking, which will cause the liquid to separate back into it’s natural form.

Soft Peaks
When whipping egg whites for something like a meringue. Begin by getting the egg whites frothy. This happens when air is introduced to the mix. After the frothy stage, as you continue to whisk, the mixture will form soft rivulets. The mixture will begin to keep the shape of how you are moving. Eventually you will have soft peaks. To test for this, lift your whisk upright and look for peaks where the tips fold over. Continue whisking if your mixture is still too liquidy.
Stiff peaks
When you are at the soft peak stage, continue whisking to create stiff peaks. The more you whisk your mixture, the thicker it will become. Stop and lift your whisks and see if the peaks stand upright. If this happens, you have successfully created stiff peaks. While all of this may seem complicated, it’s actually quite simple, and with just a bit of practice, you’ll be a master whipper!

A stand mixer is a great piece of kitchen equipment that can really help transform your whipping process. Here is a list to find out the best stand mixer.

Properly measuring ingredients for baking

Baking is often considered by some to be a science because it requires such precise measurements. While it isn’t that important to be exactly correct with every single ingredient you add into your mixture, it’s essential to pay attention to how you measure your core ingredients. Here are some techniques that will ensure you are successful at whatever it is you decide to bake.
Measuring in cups
When your recipe calls for cups of something, you need to use the scoop and scrape method for accurate measuring. Use a measuring cup to dig into the ingredients and get the amount that you need. Use a knife to scrape the top of the cup and remove any of the excess powder. You can also do this with your finger if you don’t mind getting messy! After you have done this you will be left with perfectly measured ingredients that are ready to be tipped into your bowl.
Packed sugar
There are some recipes that may call for you to use packed in sugar. Use your measuring cup to scoop out the amount of sugar that you need. Use the knife to scrape away the extra, and your hands to pat the sugar into the cup. Now you should have firmly packed in sugar to be tipped into your bowl.

A heaped spoon
Use a spoon to dig deep into your ingredients and scoop as much as you can onto it. When you pull your spoon out you should be left with a mound. This is a heaped spoon.

A level spoon
Like before , dig your spoon into your ingredients and get as much as you can on to it. Now shake your spoon or use a knife to level out all of the extra. You now have a level spoon.

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