General Baking Tips
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Flaky Pie Crusts
For more tender pie crusts, replace 1 teaspoon of your liquid with vinegar or lemon juice.
When making dough for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, bread, etc., try this no-fail way to get your dough to rise nicely: set your bowl of dough on a heating pad set to medium and watch it rise. Bonus: Once you've formed your dough into loaves, rolls, etc., set the pans on the heating pad to rise again.
Salt and oil are yeast inhibitors. When using a recipe that calls for yeast, let the yeast work well first, then add the salt and oil.
Make Your Own Cake Flour
Measure out your flour first. Then, for every cup of flour you use, take out two tablespoons of flour and replace it with two tablespoons of corn starch. Sift the flour and cornstarch together several times to incorporate and aerate the mixture. Make super soft and delicious cake.
If you prefer to use honey instead of sugar as the sweetener in your bread recipes, here are some guidelines to follow: Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so use slightly less honey than the amount of sugar called for. About 3/4 cup of honey plus one tablespoon for each cup of sugar the recipe calls for should be enough. Because honey contains water, you need to also reduce the amount of liquid by 2 1/2 tablespoons per cup of honey substituted. This substitution works well for any bread recipe, and the honey gives it a subtle flavor.
To make a nice domed muffin, make sure your batter is thick enough that you have to spoon it in to the tin. Fill each cup until it is nearly full. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake your muffins at 400 for 8 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 8 minutes. Your muffins will come out nicely domed and moist.
To “proof” yeast, dissolve about 1 Tbsp. of sugar or other sweetener per 2 c. of liquid in warm water, then add your yeast. If bubbles form after a few minutes, the yeast is "proofed." If nothing happens, the yeast could be bad. Try another batch.
When a recipe calls for wet and dry ingredients to be mixed separately and then combined, it is important to follow the instructions. Quickbreads, cookies, muffins, pancakes, etc. should be mixed until just combined. Over-mixing causes air loss, which results in a more dense product.
After kneading your dough for a few minutes, let it rest 3 or 4 minutes. This lets the dough relax and makes it easier to finish the kneading.
To ensure that you don't measure too much flour, fluff it up first, then gently scoop it into your measuring cup and scrape the excess off with the back of a knife.
Cooking Whole Barley
Use a rice cooker to cook whole barley to perfection without babysitting it! Add 3 cups of water to every 1 cup of Alaska Flour Company whole hulless barley. Turn rice cooker on and wait until done.
If you use your flour slowly, store it in a tightly sealed plastic bag or other locking storage container and keep it in your freezer. It will keep it fresh longer.
Adding a tablespoon or two of butter or olive oil to bread dough can help your baked bread stay more fresh, longer, and it only adds a few calories per slice.
Experimenting With Dairy
When a recipe calls for milk, try substituting buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream or another alternative dairy to discover new flavors and textures.
Replace up to half the fat (butter or oil) listed in a recipe with applesauce or plain yogurt. Mashed ripe bananas also work well in muffins, carrot cake, and banana cake.
Freeze Whole Barley For Later
Cooked whole barley lasts one week in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer. To really get a headstart, make a big batch and freeze it in small portions, so you can quickly defrost it and add it to any soup or salad in an instant!