Help! Why Does My Baking Always Turn Out Like This

Discussion in 'Cookies' started by Mic, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Mic

    Mic New Member

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    My cookies always turn out like this! My breads also vaguely have the same taste but not to the extent of the cookies. They're kind of cakey and bready. Though I've tried several different recipes. Instead of being a rocky plain, the cookies spread out rounded on top! The chocolate chips don't really pop out, they just sort of suspend. I've tried measuring the ingredients out exactly, refrigerating overnight, adding more flour, adding less flour... all on separate occasions, of course! Please help!
     

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    Mic, Aug 6, 2017
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  2. Mic

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Without seeing the recipe and knowing the brand flour you use, its impossible to troubleshoot.

    There are so many things that cause a cakey cookie. Please post the recipe.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 6, 2017
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  3. Mic

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    If they keep puffing up like that, then I would say either your baking powder/soda is too strong, you are using too much, or there may even be too many eggs.

    But like Norcalbaker said, it helps to see the recipe.
     
    ChesterV, Aug 6, 2017
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  4. Mic

    Mic New Member

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    Mic, Aug 7, 2017
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  5. Mic

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, 2 eggs.
    People who like crunchy cookies use eggless recipes or recipes with one egg or one egg white.

    The more eggs, the "puffier" or more cake like your cookies will be. Try using one egg.....a small egg.

    I love crunchy cookies, and I don't think I've ever put eggs in my cookie batter/dough. But if you put a lot of "junk" in your cookies (candy bits, nuts, raisins, etc....) it will help adding the eggs.

    If removing one egg doesn't work, try just using the white or one egg. Or leave eggs out completely.

    Eggs are more of a binding ingredient than anything else, but they do react with the other ingredients and also puff a bit when baked.

    There is plenty of butter in this recipe, so removing the eggs shouldn't hurt it.

    Let us know if that works for you.
     
    ChesterV, Aug 7, 2017
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  6. Mic

    Mic New Member

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    That makes sense! Thank you!!
     
    Mic, Aug 8, 2017
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  7. Mic

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Egg is standard in cookie dough. I use egg in my cookies and have no issues with cakey cookies. The only time egg contributes to cakey cookies is when you use melted butter, with the wrong ration of egg white, and you beat the eggs and sugar together. The whipped eggs traps air; then water form the melted butter steams; the combination of the rise from the air bubbles and the steam makes a cakey cake.

    I'm away right now. When I get home at the end of the week Ill post what I think are contributing to your cakey cookie problem.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 8, 2017
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  8. Mic

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    I was watching a video - I think it was one of Dede Wilson's on YouTube - and the baker set aside some of the chocolate chips when making the dough, then pressed a few chips lightly on top of each formed cookie for the visual pop. I mentally bookmarked that idea for next time. (See, my newfound addiction to baking videos on YouTube isn't a complete waste of time!)
     
    Apocalypso, Aug 9, 2017
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  9. Mic

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    The "why" of cakey cookies is a complex set of factors

    MIXING METHODS

    Measuring ingredients: Unfortunately Americans tend to use volume measurements. Americans have not standardized volume measure. There are several methods used, so whichever volume method you use, make sure you consistently apply it throughout the recipe. Also use the same set of measuring cups throughout the recipe since manufacturers produce tools that vary in capacity.

    Creaming: creaming is mechanical leavening. To create adequate leavening, the temperature of the butter is important. Start with butter at 60°. Cream a total of 5 minutes.

    The creaming is the main leavening, not the baking soda, is actually the main leavening in cookie dough. An explanation of the role of baking soda is below. Creaming not only adds leavening, but it increases your cookie yield. Proper creaming can produce up to 1/2 dozen more cookies.

    USE A THERMOMETER TO DETERMINE THE BUTTER TEMPERATURE!

    There's no such thing as "room temperature" butter. You need to use a thermometer to determine the temperature. The butter temperature before mixing should be 65° or less. Some pastry chefs like Stella Parks insists the butter be at 60° to cream. When done creaming the butter, it should be between 68° - 70°. If the butter is too warm, it won't hold the trapped air bubbles. Your cookies will be dense and cakes, and your yield less.

    The finished dough, meaning after all the ingredients are mixed in including the chocolate, should not be more than 72°.

    Scraping: scraping the sides of the bowl and paddle ensures proper creaming and incorporation of ingredients into the dough. Scrape four times during mixing of cookie dough

    * Midway through creaming

    * After creaming

    * After eggs EACH is mixed in

    Refrigerated rest: chilling the dough allows flavor to develop. The flavors concentrate as the flour and sugars absorb the moisture from butter and eggs. The drier dough produces the irregular surface, inhibits spread, increases browning.

    Resting the dough 24 hours to 36 hours is pretty much the standard in commercial bakeries.

    Oven temperature: temperature is an ingredient. Temperature will determine the size, shape, and feel of the cookie. I cannot stress enough how important temperature is to the final product. You can also manipulate temperature to create texture, as I do with a twice baked chocolate chip cookie. An oven thermometer is an essential tool. I actually keep two in my oven.

    * 375°: smaller, thicker, with a crisp edge and soft center

    * 350°: larger, thinner, with a crisp edge and soft center

    * 350° Twice baked produces a cookie in size, shape and texture as the 350° cookie, but with a more pronounced crisp edge that surround a soft chewy center. The crisp edge has a almost slight crunch that isn't even attainable baking at 375. Twice baked produces my favorite texture for chocolate chip cookie.

    Cooling: for crisper cookie transfer from the cookies to a cooling rack as soon as possible. The residual moisture will soften the cookie if there is no air circulation around the cookie. Even with twice baked I transfer the cookies to the cooling rack one or two minutes after removing from the oven.


    INGREDIENTS


    Flour: The protein content in flour determines the rate of hydration and gluten development. Low protein, bleached all purpose flour from Pillsbury, Gold Metal, and White Lily produce a softer cake like texture as the low 9.5% and 10.5% protein inhibits gluten development

    King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour at 11.7% protein produces more gluten structure and protein caramelization to produce a chewy, crisper cookie with a richer brown color.

    Sugar: cane sugar is superior in caramelization and flavor. Sugar made from sugar beets will barely caramelize. So for flavor, color, and texture use cane sugar.

    Sugar types: Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water from its environment. Brown sugar is more hygroscopic than white sugar.

    * For a crispier thin cookie use all white sugar.

    * For a thicker chewy cookie use equal parts or slightly more brown sugar than white sugar.

    Ratio of sugar to flour is important. Sugar weighs more than flour.

    1 cup of flour weighs 120g (4.25 ounces).

    1 cup of sugar weighs 200g (7 ounces)

    The standard volume ratio is 1 cup of sugar (total granulated and brown) to 1 1/2 cups flour. While the volume is different, the flour and sugar is actually equal by weight.

    Leavening: use baking soda instead of baking powder. Baking powder is double acting. Moisture primes it, then heat activates it. The extended leavening ability of baking powder causes the cookie to puff up longer. While it's puffed up, steam from the butter and eggs then softens the flour. If the flour is lower protein, the gluten structure could collapse before the dough sets. The result is a more cake like cookie.

    Baking soda activates when it comes in contact with moisture. Since the standard for chocolate chip cookie dough is a 24 - 36 hour rest in the refrigerator, the baking soda loses most of its leavening power. The acidity of the brown sugar inhibits browning; since baking soda is an alkaline, it counters the acidic effects of brown sugar. So the cookie browns better.

    Butter: Butter weighs more than flour. The standard for cookie dough by volume is 1/2 cup of butter for every 1 cup - 1 1/2 cups of flour. By weight the flour to butter ratio is 1:.65 to 1:.70.

    Standard American butter is approximately 81% butterfat, 18% water, and 1% milk fat. The water produces steam. The steam affects the texture of the cookie. Too much water makes a cakey cookie. So using a 82% butterfat European-style butter works best. I like Plugra, but any European butter will work.

    Egg: using cold eggs will keep the finished dough from exceeding the temperature range of 68° – 72°.

    One large egg (50g - 53g) per 1 cup (120g) to 1 1/2 cups (180g) of flour is the standard for chocolate chip cookie dough.

    Chocolate: I like a 1:1.5 ratio of flour to chocolate by weight. Adjust amount to preference

    Chocolate brand: I find Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips produces a crowd pleaser cookie. I've tried Valrhona, Callabaut,SchraffenBerger, Guittard's, and Trader Joe's. The American palate seems to love the Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips. They taste and the larger chip makes for big chewy cookie.

    For thin layers of melted chocolate, like the famous Jacques Torres version, use couverture chocolate wafers. Chocolate chips retain their shape when baked. But couverture chocolate will melt and spread when baked.


    To illustrate how these baking principles work, I created the recipe in the separate post below.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 12, 2017
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  10. Mic

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I measured ingredients using the spoon and sweep method. After measuring, I weighed to confirm the weight. As expected, the volume measures were close but not the exact weights I indicate in the recipe. For best results, please follow the instructions as written if using volume measurements.

    Cate's Chocolate Chip Cookie

    Preheat oven to 350° Bake time: 14 mins. rotate cookie sheets at 7 mins

    (375° for thicker cookie, bake time 12 minutes)

    Twice baked: produces a very nice cruncedge, with soft center. This is my favorite texture.
    • 350°
    • 1st bake 12 minutes
    • Cool 10 min on rack
    • 2nd bake 8 minutes
    Line baking sheet with parchment paper

    35g dough per cookie/#40 scoop
    Yield 32 cookies
    Cookie size: 2" baked at 350°

    For large 3" Cookies 50g per cookie/#30 scoop over-filled, adjust bake time

    Ingredients

    21/2 cups (300g) all purpose flour (King Arthur)

    3/4 tsp (3g) baking soda (Arm & Hammer)

    1/2 tsp (1g) kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)

    3/4 cup (150g) cane sugar (C&H)

    3/4 cup (150g) dark brown cane sugar firmly packed (C&H)

    1 3/4 cup (195g) unsalted butter 60° – 65°, cut into large cubes (Kerrygold)

    2 large eggs (110g) 50°

    1 1/2 tsp (8g) vanilla extract (McCormick)

    12 1/2 oz (455g) chocolate (mix of Ghirardelli & Guittard)*

    Method: (for volume measurements use spoon and sweep)

    Use spoon and sweep method to measure flour into separate mixing bowl. Sift or very throughly whisk in baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

    Use spoon and sweep method to measure granulated sugar into mixer bowl.

    Use spoon and sweep method measure brown sugar, taking care to firmly pack sugar into measuring cup.

    Hand whisk granulated and brown sugar in the mixer bowl to throughly combine.

    Place chilled butter in mixer bowl with sugars.

    With a paddle attachment, cream chilled butter and sugars on medium speed (kitchenaid 4) for 2 1/2 mins.

    Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to ensure proper creaming.

    Cream another 2 1/2 minutes for a total 5 minutes.

    After creaming, the butter and sugar temperature was 70°. My target temperature for creamed butter and sugar is 68° - 70° range, so after 5 minutes of creaming I was at the top of the temperature range.

    Scrape sides and bottom of bowl

    Mix in 1st egg (my eggs were 50°) and vanilla beat medium to incorporate

    Scrape sides and bottom of bowl

    Mix in 2nd egg, beat on medium for 1 minute

    Scrape sides and bottom of bowl

    Mix in flour in three additions, mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

    Fold in chocolate by hand to distribute evenly.

    My finished dough temperature was 71.3°; again it was near the top of the temperature range, but still in the range.

    Transfer to a clean bowl. I prefer a metal or glass mixing bowl as plastic can transfer odors and tastes to the dough. Plastic wrap is not air tight, so double wrap the bowl to ensure refrigerator odors do not permeate the dough.

    Chill dough 24 to 36 hours for best flavor and texture.

    Portion dough into 35g balls/#40 scoop/1" ball

    For larger Cookie: 50g balls; #30 scoop over-filled; 2" ball, adjust bake time

    Arrange 8 (6) on parchment lined baking sheet

    Bake 14 minutes, rotating mid-way

    Transfer Cookies to cooling rack after one minute


    FOR TWICE BAKED

    - 350° – bake 12 minutes rotating at 6 minute mark

    - Transfer Cookies to cooling rack after one minute

    - Cool 10 minutes

    - Place called cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet

    - Bake 8 minute, roasting at 4 minute mark

    - Transfer Cookies to cooling rack after one minute

    NOTE: store cookies in an air tight container after cooling completely. The sugar in cookies will absorb moisture from the air; that moisture will soften the cookie. Over time all cookies will begin to soften. An air tight container will slow the process.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 12, 2017
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  11. Mic

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    SPOON AND SWEEP

    STEP 1
    Stir flour with fork
    Spoon flour into measuring cup
    Fill beyond cup capacity
    IMG_8874.JPG


    STEP 2

    Use a straight edge to level flour
    IMG_8875.JPG


    Flour should be level with top edge of measuring cup

    IMG_8876.JPG
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 12, 2017
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  12. Mic

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    These cookies came from the same batch of dough, made from the recipe i developed and posted above.

    Cookie baked form my test batch after only 30 minute rest. Looks good--BUT TASTES FLAT!

    IMG_8868.JPG


    Cookie baked from my test batch after 36 hours rest. Bake 1 of twiced baked. Looks puffy and ugly...but just wait.

    IMG_8955.JPG



    Cookie baked from my test batch after 36 hours rest. Bake 2 of twice baked. Not as pretty as the cookie bake from the 30 minute rest. But the texture and the flavor is markedly better. The twice baked gives this cookie a crunchy edge and soft center that will make a chewy crunchy cookie lover swoon.
    IMG_8979.JPG
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 12, 2017
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