Cookie PH vs Gluten Formation question


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Hi @Cahoot thanks for looking out for ways of getting the crinkly top for me! Once I left the inverted sugar out after Norcal’s advice, the smooth skin that I loathed so much was gone. But still no crinkles.

Hi @Norcalbaker59, now about the ribboning technique and brownie. That’s interesting especially as so many brownie recipes these days start with melting butter and sugar.

Are you guys a bigger fan of cocoa brownies or melted chocolate brownies?
 
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Hi @Cahoot thanks for looking out for ways of getting the crinkly top for me! Once I left the inverted sugar out after Norcal’s advice, the smooth skin that I loathed so much was gone. But still no crinkles.

Hi @Norcalbaker59, now about the ribboning technique and brownie. That’s interesting especially as so many brownie recipes these days start with melting butter and sugar.

Are you guys a bigger fan of cocoa brownies or melted chocolate brownies?

Yes, standard brownies are made by melting the butter, chocolate and then mixing in the sugar, then flour. But bakers have beat the sugar and eggs in a modified ribboned egg method to dissolved the sugar in brownies for years. Because you have a few eggs, be careful not to over whip them. Beat them about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes. The goal is to get sugar to dissolve, not mechanical leavening as it is in ribboning the eggs for cake.

Rest the batter for 10 - 15 minutes before baking to allow the flour to hydrate and the sugar to dissolve more. That is nothing new either by the way. Alice Medrich did an overnight brownie at least nine or ten years ago. That’s the thing with the internet, people like that guy can post whatever, and since the average person isn’t very knowledgable about baking, they think he is on to something. He even thinks he is.

When I ate gluten, I wasn’t a big fan of the brownie. But when I made them, it was the melted chocolate brownie. And with walnuts. I had to have nuts in my brownies.
 
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@Norcalbaker59 Yeah I agree his approach isn't that of a baker's since he's not one. He prefers eyeballing everything instead of precise measurements whenever possible, so he definitely caters more towards the casual crowd. I think the choices that he makes such as leaving out an egg white are because the average American home baker always uses whole numbers of eggs/egg yolks/egg whites, they don't weigh out their eggs.

I also thought that changing the type of butter to a higher butterfat one was the logical thing to do when I saw that part of the video, instead of melting it which changes more variables. Changing the ratio of flour to eggs makes sense too to test it, not sure why he didn't do that.

As to why he doesn't ribbon the eggs for his final recipe, I'm not sure. He even mentioned the technique earlier as a method used to achieve a crinkly surface, albeit the reason is because it dissolves the sugar and not because it incorporates air like some people think. But overall I still think the results he found were interesting, namely his proposal for the exact reasons why that skin forms and not just showing techniques that achieve it but we don't know why.
 
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Hi @Cahoot thanks for looking out for ways of getting the crinkly top for me! Once I left the inverted sugar out after Norcal’s advice, the smooth skin that I loathed so much was gone. But still no crinkles.

Hi @Norcalbaker59, now about the ribboning technique and brownie. That’s interesting especially as so many brownie recipes these days start with melting butter and sugar.

Are you guys a bigger fan of cocoa brownies or melted chocolate brownies?
I've only made brownies two times in my life before, once using each method, so can't really say haha. I know that Stella Parks' recipe uses both along with ribboning the eggs, so I don't see why you can't do that for the best of both worlds.
 
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@Norcalbaker59 Yeah I agree his approach isn't that of a baker's since he's not one. He prefers eyeballing everything instead of precise measurements whenever possible, so he definitely caters more towards the casual crowd. I think the choices that he makes such as leaving out an egg white are because the average American home baker always uses whole numbers of eggs/egg yolks/egg whites, they don't weigh out their eggs.

I also thought that changing the type of butter to a higher butterfat one was the logical thing to do when I saw that part of the video, instead of melting it which changes more variables. Changing the ratio of flour to eggs makes sense too to test it, not sure why he didn't do that.

As to why he doesn't ribbon the eggs for his final recipe, I'm not sure. He even mentioned the technique earlier as a method used to achieve a crinkly surface, albeit the reason is because it dissolves the sugar and not because it incorporates air like some people think. But overall I still think the results he found were interesting, namely his proposal for the exact reasons why that skin forms and not just showing techniques that achieve it but we don't know why.

Yes, I found it very odd that he states at the very beginning that the key is the sugar must be dissolved, and that the whole reason the eggs and sugar is whipped is to dissolve the sugar. But then does not use it. And he is correct that bakers on the internet are incorrect as to why it works. But every professional baker know why.

And my guess is he is a scammer. That he in fact did more research and found an article or recipe by a professional baker that explained the eggs and sugar are beaten to dissolve the sugar and why. But given the internet is full of the wrong information, it was an opportunity for him to make a video and claim he ran a boat load of experiments and discovered the secret is to dissolve the sugar—cuz how is anyone going to know. Bakers like me aren’t going to be watching someone like him.

As for his conclusions as to why the skin forms, his conclusions aren’t based on any good science. None of his experiments were controlled. He used volume not metric weight. He did not factor for any of the differences in ingredients. We don’t know if the four he used was the same brand; what level of protein; whether he used bleached or unbleached flour; whether the batches were made from flour from the same lot; same batch. We don’t know if the eggs were from the same producer; same dozen. There’s so many variables that we don’t know about. The only thing we know for sure is this guy used zero controls. So his conclusions mean absolutely nothing other than he has an opinion as to why he thinks the skin forms.

This is a run of the mill brownie recipe, with one exception, it has a mix of dark brown and granulated sugars. According to that guy, this recipe should not form a skin, should not crinkle on top, and should not be shiny because there is too much water from the egg and it has brown sugar in it. I just mixed this together off the top of my head...now if I can do this in five minutes without much thought, I would not give much credence to his conclusions.

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I think the issue with the internet is how being catchy is more impt with being correct. Time for us all to host a cooking channel in our racy outfits! :cool: I mean, I'm not drop dead gorgeous, but I'm sure I appeal to certain demographics. I'm sure @Cahoot & @Norcalbaker59 have diehard fans too :D

Back to report that... caster sugar made cookies with lesser bite to it. This is with controlled DDT, and no overcreaming.
It's like a more fine crumb? I'm not a fan.

Also, I can't get 350F on my oven - my oven temp is either 345F or 355F (only 10 degrees increments). I played around with 3 slightly different sizes for each batch, at either temperature, at different timings intervals between 14 - 16 mins.

Noticing that the cookies spread more at lower temp - guessing it has more time to liquify before reaching the internal temp that forms a structure. Is that the gelatinization stage??

For drop cookies, when you scoop the cookie dough with a disher, do you still shape the portioned dough to a perfect sphere in your hands? Or just place the hemisphere dough flat side down?

I have a #40 & a #20, can't get the 42g of dough nicely with either. So i find myself balling the dough and wondering if i have crushed some of the air bubbles in doing so.

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oh, @Cahoot I tried stellar parks brownie. was not a fan tbh, too much work and insufficient pay off. And so. much. sugar.
Then another one by Stay At Home Chef which is a milk chocolate recipe. meh.

I quite liked KAF - here

Planning to try out these ones in future...
  1. Alton Brown reloaded 2.
  2. Maida Heatter’s Palm Beach
  3. Smitten Kitchen
  4. Alice Medrich https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bo...-brownies-with-browned-butter-and-walnuts/amp
  5. https://www.buzzfeed.com/marietelling/heres-exactly-how-to-make-the-best-brownies-of-your-life
and @Norcalbaker59 , i'm having bad case of crinkle envy again after seeing your brownie. :((((((
 
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I think the issue with the internet is how being catchy is more impt with being correct. Time for us all to host a cooking channel in our racy outfits! :cool: I mean, I'm not drop dead gorgeous, but I'm sure I appeal to certain demographics. I'm sure @Cahoot & @Norcalbaker59 have diehard fans too :D

Back to report that... caster sugar made cookies with lesser bite to it. This is with controlled DDT, and no overcreaming.
It's like a more fine crumb? I'm not a fan.

Also, I can't get 350F on my oven - my oven temp is either 345F or 355F (only 10 degrees increments). I played around with 3 slightly different sizes for each batch, at either temperature, at different timings intervals between 14 - 16 mins.

Noticing that the cookies spread more at lower temp - guessing it has more time to liquify before reaching the internal temp that forms a structure. Is that the gelatinization stage??

For drop cookies, when you scoop the cookie dough with a disher, do you still shape the portioned dough to a perfect sphere in your hands? Or just place the hemisphere dough flat side down?

I have a #40 & a #20, can't get the 42g of dough nicely with either. So i find myself balling the dough and wondering if i have crushed some of the air bubbles in doing so.

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View attachment 3747

@ShuBunny

Those cookies actually look really good. But I get what you mean about the finer texture with the caster sugar—it just doesn’t work with a drop cookie.

Higher temperature will make a tighter, thicker cookie (assuming the butter didn’t break in creaming and a mix of brown and granulated sugar was used). The high heat causes the bottom and outer edge to set faster, so the cookie doesn’t spread as much.

I have seven different dishers. I use them to scoop the dough to into a bowl on the scale; I portion each ball to within a +/- gram. I will shape gently in a ball, but I try not to handle the dough much because I don’t want to warm the butter.

Whatever size dough ball you can get that is close to 42g, if it’s 46g or 48g, that is okay. You just need to get a cookie that is about 3 1/2” in diameter and one that does not look homemade. The cookie has to both taste and look professional to justify the price.

That guy is doing what a lot of other people are doing—making a living regurgitating inaccurate baking information. I doubt he knows or would even care that what he is presenting is wrong because at the end of the day is making an income at zero cost to himself. All he has to do is jump on the internet and download other people’s work. Doesn’t matter if the work is accurate or not—it gets him views. And the views makes a living without his every having to spend a penny on culinary classes or take a single class. Heck, he doesn’t even have to even practice a single fundamental of cooking or baking.
 
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Yes, the internet is really a money mill for misinformation, but then we also find spaces for good information and interaction such as this forum!

I’m doing the dough shaping similar to your method. Going to take it a little easier with the exact grammage and focus more on the overall baked dimensions. :)

P.s. brought to a mini gathering. We are allowed gatherings of 8pax here. They got wiped out pretty fast. ❤️
 
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Yes, the internet is really a money mill for misinformation, but then we also find spaces for good information and interaction such as this forum!

I’m doing the dough shaping similar to your method. Going to take it a little easier with the exact grammage and focus more on the overall baked dimensions. :)

P.s. brought to a mini gathering. We are allowed gatherings of 8pax here. They got wiped out pretty fast. ❤️

We’ve been in total lockdown. They just eased up on some restrictions. I Do not go out other than to run necessary errands. The variant strain of virus is now making its rounds so I am staying in as much as possible.

I am glad people are enjoying your cookies. They do look good.
 
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oh, @Cahoot I tried stellar parks brownie. was not a fan tbh, too much work and insufficient pay off. And so. much. sugar.
Then another one by Stay At Home Chef which is a milk chocolate recipe. meh.

I quite liked KAF - here

Planning to try out these ones in future...
  1. Alton Brown reloaded 2.
  2. Maida Heatter’s Palm Beach
  3. Smitten Kitchen
  4. Alice Medrich https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bo...-brownies-with-browned-butter-and-walnuts/amp
  5. https://www.buzzfeed.com/marietelling/heres-exactly-how-to-make-the-best-brownies-of-your-life
and @Norcalbaker59 , i'm having bad case of crinkle envy again after seeing your brownie. :((((((

Maida Heatter was unusual for her generation in that she did not use the Dip and Sweep method for measuring flour. The Dip and Sweep yields about 140 g per cup.

She was known to sift the flour, on parchment, then fill the cup. So her cup of flour was probably less than the 120g Spoon and Level. Method probably yields about 115 g per cup.

She would’ve used a bleached flour. So 10% - 10.5% protein

Alice Medrich unbleached flour will most likely be King Arthur, so 11.7% protein. I lived in Berkeley when Medrich had her chocolate shop. She set the standard for fine chocolate on the West Coast. Acme bread and Suas were already changing bread in America. Until Medrich opened her shop, we were still in the dark ages when it came to fine chocolate.

You just have to keep in mind when you look at American recipes that old recipes would have used the Dip and Sweep method. recipes from 1990’s and earlier. Any recipe from someone like Julia Childs, and original recipe from Betty Crocker, Jacques Pepin. any vintage cookbook. The exception would be Maida Heatter. So these recipes would be converted based on a 140g cup of flour.

And American recipes throughout the 1940s - 2000 were pretty much formulated with bleached flour.

The exception of course is King Arthur recipes.
 
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Hi @Norcalbaker59 ,

Please stay safe! Sorry to hear it is circulating, though I am thankful to see the numbers dropping overall in the US and I very much hope it continues falling.

Thank you for your words of encouragement!
And on the tips about the amount of flour used by the earlier cook book writers - Maida heatter really was ahead of her time, it seems :)

I'm wondering what to tackle next - brownies... or those bundt cakes. :D
 
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Hi @Norcalbaker59 ,

Please stay safe! Sorry to hear it is circulating, though I am thankful to see the numbers dropping overall in the US and I very much hope it continues falling.

Thank you for your words of encouragement!
And on the tips about the amount of flour used by the earlier cook book writers - Maida heatter really was ahead of her time, it seems :)

I'm wondering what to tackle next - brownies... or those bundt cakes. :D

If you experiment with brownies these are typical percentages for a base.




Flour 100%
Unsweetened Chocolate 188%
Eggs 166%
Sugar 333% (200%)*
Vanilla 1.3%
Salt .03%

*If you use sweetened chocolate, like the 811, then reduce the sugar. Start with around 200%.


Cocoa powder is about 25% +/- but be aware if you add cocoa powder your brownie will be drier and cakey. If you experiment with cocoa powder you’ll have to make some adjustments to the flour amounts.

I used 90g of flour to make that batch in a 9” x 9” pan; and a mix of brown and granulated cane sugar.


I whipped the eggs on medium low for 2 1/2 minutes. Scraped down the bowl to check for grittiness. Then beat another 30 seconds. I do not whip on high because I do not want a lot of air whipped into the eggs. The point is to dissolve the sugar.

In an actual ribboned egg, The sugar and eggs are heated to ensure the sugar dissolves and to begin the first stages of protein denaturalization since ribboned eggs are used for leavening. The egg and sugar is whipped until the eggs triple in volume. Maida Heatter does more of a traditional ribboned egg in her recipe. That’s why her recipe calls for whipping the eggs for 10 minutes, it takes about that long to triple in volume for ribbon eggs. But more modern bakers do a modified version because we don’t want leavening. We just want to dissolve the sugar. This is what so laughable about that guy’s video, that he thinks bakers don’t know what we’re doing when we whip the eggs and sugar.


I let the eggs sit while I prepare everything else. So the eggs probably rested for about five minutes, may be a little bit more. Air bubbles will rise to the surface. just give them a stir to knock out some air.

I melted butter (Kerrygold) and chocolate on the stove top (old school).

I let the batter rest about 10 minutes before pouring in fully lined baking tin. I baked at 330°F for 30 - 35 minutes something like that.

I wouldn’t give too much credence to that guys conclusion that moisture level is key to a crinkle top. I used 166% egg and used 50% brown sugar to increase the moisture. In total I used 322% total sugars with sweetened chocolate, so a whopping 145g of brown sugar was in that batter. There was a ton of moisture and invert sugar from the molasses in the brown sugar in that batter. So moisture and some invert sugar has nothing to do with whether or not the top crinkles.
 
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Thanks for the brownie percentage @Norcalbaker59 !

I'm doing to try that eventually. We had an earlier conversation on sugar's role in a baked good. At the same time, 333/200% wow! My tooth aches a little - but that's a brownie is all about...

Stella Park's total sugar amount to flour is 400%. but yea, wasn't out of the world for me.
 
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Thanks for the brownie percentage @Norcalbaker59 !

I'm doing to try that eventually. We had an earlier conversation on sugar's role in a baked good. At the same time, 333/200% wow! My tooth aches a little - but that's a brownie is all about...

Stella Park's total sugar amount to flour is 400%. but yea, wasn't out of the world for me.

I know this is why I was never a fan of the brownie. But keep in mind that a brownie is traditionally made with unsweetened chocolate. That it is only recently bakers began using sweetened chocolate. And in making that change, the vast majority of bakers have overlooked the need to adjust (lower) the amount of added sugar to account for the sugar in the sweetened chocolate. And that is because the idiotic America system of cup measurements—they cannot see it because they don’t use baker’s percentages. So they just make and even swap of the chocolate, not thinking about the relationship and ratios between each ingredient.

When you use baker’s percentages you always think of the ratios and interaction of each ingredient. So when you swap unsweetened chocolate for sweetened chocolate, the first thing you know to do is lower the added sugar.

I have Stella Parks’ cookbook. I made it once. Turned out to be a total waste of good chocolate because all anyone could taste was the sugar.

That recipe is really out of character for Stella Parks. Parks is normally very nuanced in her baking, looking to bring out flavors. It’s normally not like her do something like drown out the chocolate in sugar.
 
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About stella park. She's why I found this forum...
I was reading serious eats religiously, and noticed when stella park started writing for them and read all her articles even though I had no oven. I bought my first oven in Jul last year. Had to bake away my covid isolation.

And then - my small oven just couldn't fit in most standard trays, so I kept googling for trays online and went to look at stella parks preferred trays. Saw fat diddios endorsed by her, saw USA pans endorsed by KAF, saw Parrish Magic Line endorsed by SBA?
went to google pans vs pans and found this thread. I was shocked to see pictorial evidence that stella park could be ever incorrect. o_O


Then bundt cake failure happened and I came here for refuge! :)
 
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About stella park. She's why I found this forum...
I was reading serious eats religiously, and noticed when stella park started writing for them and read all her articles even though I had no oven. I bought my first oven in Jul last year. Had to bake away my covid isolation.

And then - my small oven just couldn't fit in most standard trays, so I kept googling for trays online and went to look at stella parks preferred trays. Saw fat diddios endorsed by her, saw USA pans endorsed by KAF, saw Parrish Magic Line endorsed by SBA?
went to google pans vs pans and found this thread. I was shocked to see pictorial evidence that stella park could be ever incorrect. o_O


Then bundt cake failure happened and I came here for refuge! :)

I absolutely love Stella Parks. She is an amazing pastry chef and by far one of the most knowledgeable on food science. But she totally misses it when it comes to the pans. I’m really surprised because you can really see that dome on her cake. And you see that dry crust.

The pan makes all the difference. NordicWare bundt pans are all coated. So there is no escaping that crust and that dome.

Their pans are the best bundt pans out there. But there’s no escaping the browning that comes with their coated pans.

Coated pan is going to conduct heat more intensely. There’s no getting around it. Notice how these cakes have some doming.

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And look at how brown they are. That is the coating on the pan. There is no getting around that
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Brown crust. No matter how fine and perfect the crumb they still have all that dry brown crust on the outside. Yet my sister text me to rave about how moist and flavorful these cakes were. With a coated bundt pan you have no choice but using a simple syrup. I used lavender verbena lemon simple syrup as soon as I pulled the tray out of the oven. Then again about 30 minutes later. Then let the cake age minimum of 24 hrs before delivering.
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BTW, Parrish Magic Pan has a cult like following among event cake bakers. Specifically their square pans. The brownie I baked was in a Parrish. We covet Parrish because that light uncoated metal does not over brown the cake.

Among professional pastry chefs Parrish loose bottom pans are the go to pan. I really kick myself for not buying the loose bottom line when I had the chance about eight years ago. The restaurant supply store near me carry both lines. And then they closed that store.

The restaurant supply store where I live now stopped stocking Parrish Magic Line when the new owner took over. But the old owner didn’t carry the loose bottom line.

Despite the cult following, the company does not sell online, it’s only available through specialty shops and restaurants supply stores. Shipping is always really expensive when you do find it online. It’s a pain in the rear to locate these pans, but worth it if you bake a lot of cakes.

when a cake is sliced and plated you should not see any brown crust lines between the icing and the cake. You want pure clean edge of cake next to a thin layer of icing.
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I'm surprised to hear the results about Stella Parks' brownies recipe since I see so many people rave about them online. However I haven't made them myself and haven't even looked very closely at the recipe in the first place so I can't throw in my own two cents. To be fair though, the average American has a much higher sweet tolerance than other people in the world so maybe it's not a surprise - this is also the same Internet that's popularized those layer cakes topped with mountains of candies (I know @Norcalbaker59 has gone on a rant about that before here haha).

@ShuBunny curious about the texture of the brownies, how fudgy and chewy was it? Could possibly still be a good baseline recipe with experimenting with dropping the sugar.
 
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I'm surprised to hear the results about Stella Parks' brownies recipe since I see so many people rave about them online. However I haven't made them myself and haven't even looked very closely at the recipe in the first place so I can't throw in my own two cents. To be fair though, the average American has a much higher sweet tolerance than other people in the world so maybe it's not a surprise - this is also the same Internet that's popularized those layer cakes topped with mountains of candies (I know @Norcalbaker59 has gone on a rant about that before here haha).

@ShuBunny curious about the texture of the brownies, how fudgy and chewy was it? Could possibly still be a good baseline recipe with experimenting with dropping the sugar.

@Cahoot, lol, The extraordinary amount of sugar Americans consume baffles me. And I’m an American albeit of Asian ethnicity. A Korean friend of mine is married to an American. They met in Korea when his employer had him posted there for a job. We were talking about baking one day. He said, “you don’t bake like those Koreans do you?” I burst out laughing I knew exactly what he was talking about. I said, “Let me guess, you looked at how beautiful the cakes were; but one took one bite, I thought they forgot to add the sugar!”

Japanese and Koren food is really popular now. So whenever my American friends go to the Japanese market, which has a really nice bakery, I tell them not to buy anything at the bakery because they won’t like it. Lol.

Stella‘s brownie was just too over the top. I don’t use her Swiss meringue buttercream either—too sweet. I am really on the low end of the sugar ratio for the Swiss meringue buttercream. Like most Asians even when we have children’s birthday parties there will be like 65 people. I always do multiple cakes, so the adults can have a cake choices that are more in line with Japanese tastes fresh fruit, whip cream. So I am always surprised that the adults will still eat my Swiss meringue covered cake too. Say it’s because it’s not too sweet like American cake.
 

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