Not a good day for baking :)


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Tried my first-ever Japanese sponge cake - didn't work out, was heavily underbaked and I had to throw it out...

Now made a Genoise sponge cake based on this recipe: https://www.meilleurduchef.com/en/recipe/genoise-sponge-cake.html
And followed the basic 1 egg, 30 gr sugar and 30 gr flour. All was going well, until the last bit of flour I was folding in - it was too much. I think I folded it in too harshly and wasn't a smooth batter anymore :( It's in the oven now, so let's see what comes out of it.

If anyone has tips for creating a (near-)perfect Genoise, please let me know!
 
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Tried my first-ever Japanese sponge cake - didn't work out, was heavily underbaked and I had to throw it out...

Now made a Genoise sponge cake based on this recipe: https://www.meilleurduchef.com/en/recipe/genoise-sponge-cake.html
And followed the basic 1 egg, 30 gr sugar and 30 gr flour. All was going well, until the last bit of flour I was folding in - it was too much. I think I folded it in too harshly and wasn't a smooth batter anymore :( It's in the oven now, so let's see what comes out of it.

If anyone has tips for creating a (near-)perfect Genoise, please let me know!
Both these cakes are advanced cake making, so do not feel bad.

The genoise instructions are vague.

The egg and sugar should be heated to 50°C-60°C, and not 40°C. Heating the sugar and eggs is to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved. And if you used regular granulated sugar rather than caster sugar then it’s even more important to heat the eggs to a higher temperature to ensure all the sugar dissolves. Even a slight amount of undissolved sugar will cause the eggs to deflate.

The beating of sugar and whole eggs is called ribboned eggs. The reason it’s called ribboned eggs is When properly beaten the consistency will be thick and creamy. When you lift the beaters out, the eggs will flow off in a thick ribbon and pool on top of the egg in the bowl. The ribbon of egg will sit on top for about 10 seconds before disappearing into the egg in the bowl.

The egg will almost triple in volume.

When folding in the flour, use a ballon whisk, not a spatula.
Sift all the flour over the eggs.
Run the whisk down the center and gently lift the egg up and over the flour
Turn the bowl a 1/4 turn
Run the whisk down the center and gently lift the egg up and over the flour
Turn the bowl a 1/4 turn
Run the whisk down the center and gently lift the egg up and over the flour
Repeat until the flour is blended in

Not my work, but this is what ribbon eggs should look like
E588A122-9BC1-4323-ABDD-3C9D539B9B67.jpeg
 
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Thanks for the description - wow! I like to set myself a challenge, and I think I did just that with the genoise cake, but I will keep on trying until I know how to do it.

Now, I need to buy a ballon whisk, I never knew what they were used for, but now I do :) Could I do it with a regular whisk as well?
One more question, would you recommend adding any butter? I understand the basic recipe is 1 egg, 30 gr flour, 30 gr sugar, and you can basically multiply it depending on how much you need.
 
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Thanks for the description - wow! I like to set myself a challenge, and I think I did just that with the genoise cake, but I will keep on trying until I know how to do it.

Now, I need to buy a ballon whisk, I never knew what they were used for, but now I do :) Could I do it with a regular whisk as well?
One more question, would you recommend adding any butter? I understand the basic recipe is 1 egg, 30 gr flour, 30 gr sugar, and you can basically multiply it depending on how much you need.
A standard whisk is fine. What’s important is that you’re very gently work the flour into the egg. Rotate the bowl quarter turn each time you run the whisk through the egg mixture.

Their is no standard ratio. What works in one country is not going to work in another because the variables in the ingredients You have to play with the ratios and see what works with your flour, sugar, and eggs.

The reason is there’s no standard for flour worldwide. In the United States we have cake flour. Cake flour is milled from a low protein wheat, it is bleached. The flour has about 8% protein, 45% extraction. Cake flour performs very differently than unbleached flours. They produce a cake that is very light in color, a very soft crumb, with a very high rise.

The flours in Europe, Canada, Australia, and some Asian countries cannot be bleached by law. The protein content in these flours is about 9%. They bake a cake that is darker in color, lower in rise, coarser in texture than cake flour.

The domestic wheat in the UK is naturally very low in protein. It’s very different than the wheat that is cultivated in France In Northern European countries. The French do a much better job in grading their grading their flours. But the French don’t bake at home. So while the French have an extraordinary array of flours available, those flours are available to the professional not the home baker.

Eggs in the US are also graded differently. In Europe a large egg by law must be a minimum of 63 g in the shell. In the United States it is 56 g. So in the US the average large egg is about 50g compared to 57g in Europe.

Most of the sugar in Europe is sugar beet sugar. Which is very poor quality sugar in comparison to performance to cane sugar in pastry. Sugar beet sugar does caramelize properly, so not have the same flavor or produce the same texture and qualities as cane sugar. They cannot make brown sugar using sugar beet molasses. The molasses quality is so poor it’s not fit for human consumption so it’s used for animal feed. They use sugar cane molasses to make sugar beet brown sugar. But most professional pastry chefs use sugar cane sugar.

So you see it is impossible to set a standard ratio genoise. I don’t think the ratios you are using are disproportionate. But you’re going to have to experiment with your flour and see what works best.

Genoise is an extremely dry cake. That is why some people add butter to the batter. But even with the butter it’s still going to be a dry cake. That is why the cake is usually soaked with a flavored syrup. I would encourage you to bake the cake without butter first so you can see what the cake is like as in it most traditional way. Then make it with butter.


As enticing as these challenges are, I would encourage you to build a strong foundation in the fundamentals in baking. Baking is all science. To be a great baker you must also understand the reason behind the action. It’s not enough master the motion of heating the eggs and sugar, but you must understand why you’re heating the egg and sugar to begin with. And that only comes with understanding the role of eggs and sugar in baking.

it is the fundamentals that makes it possible for me to look at that recipe and see that He did not mention dissolving the sugar just key to aerating and stabilizing the eggs; 40°C is not hot enough to ensure the sugar is thoroughly dissolved; to see that he did not explain what ribbon eggs look like; that a balloon whisk is a better choice to fold in the flour as it is open and does not deflate the eggs as much as a spatula; the bowl should be rotated a quarter turn with each fold.
 
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Wow, thank you for your elaborate explanation - I am learning so much from you!

I completely concur, the more I understand the fundamentals of baking, the better a baker I will be. Hence, I am always reading and comparing. My only issue is that there is an overwhelming amount of (wrong!) information on the Internet that I get a bit lost.
Do you have a blog that I can read? Or do you have any recommendations for books, videos, tutorials? I am currently watching The Great British Bake Off - very informative as they sometimes describe the method as well as the science.
 
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Tried my first-ever Japanese sponge cake - didn't work out, was heavily underbaked and I had to throw it out...

Now made a Genoise sponge cake based on this recipe: https://www.meilleurduchef.com/en/recipe/genoise-sponge-cake.html
And followed the basic 1 egg, 30 gr sugar and 30 gr flour. All was going well, until the last bit of flour I was folding in - it was too much. I think I folded it in too harshly and wasn't a smooth batter anymore :( It's in the oven now, so let's see what comes out of it.

If anyone has tips for creating a (near-)perfect Genoise, please let me know!
Put simply, you folded it too much , for too long and collapsed it.

A typical small shop recipe calls for 2 qt egg, 2 lb sugar , 2 lb cake flour

In a 20 qt mixer the egg/sugar will inflate to the very lip of the bowl, so it inflates by a factor of 10.
In cold weather we put the sugar in the oven to heat it up , in warm weather we didn't bother, it didn't make much difference far as I could see. We ran the sifted flour in as it was folded, the clock is your enemy, if it takes 2 minutes to complete the folding its not going to be any good.

We managed to get 2 lbs folded into the base in 30 seconds, with a tiny batch I'd expect to complete the folding in 15-20 seconds.
Watch this french video, everything cold from the start with no problem.
Actual folding took 20 seconds with a whip.

 
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Interesting, in the video he doesn’t heat up the eggs and sugar in bain marie. Is that step not required to dissolve the sugar?

I will try this one tomorrow, as i have baked quite a bit at the moment and need to take a break :)
 
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Interesting, in the video he doesn’t heat up the eggs and sugar in bain marie. Is that step not required to dissolve the sugar?

I will try this one tomorrow, as i have baked quite a bit at the moment and need to take a break :)
If you use caster sugar and you beat the eggs with liquid, such as orange juice for added flavor, or use eggs with additional yolks, you can ribbon the eggs without heating them. But these ribbon eggs are also used for different cakes. You can also ribbon eggs for cookie dough or brownies without heating the eggs and sugar.

But for a genoise, heating the egg and sugar to dissolve the sugar and ensure the volume is the correct way to do it. This method is taught in culinary schools and amateur baking classes alike. Every professional pastry chef from Pierre Herme to Rose Levy Beranbaum to Dorie Greenspan to Michel Suas use this method, and their cookbooks and textbook use this method. And I am pretty sure they are far more knowledgeable about pastry than the person in this video. There’s a lot of things you’re going to see on the Internet that are improper.

I don’t know but there was something very odd about that cake. He bent the cake and well it bent. That’s a rubbery cake. If that cake had a delicate light airy crumb of a genoise, it should have broken off. But that cake stretched and bent like rubber. That’s a chewy cake.
 
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There was nothing wrong with that genoise, it should always be very pliable, not "short" like cake.
If you can't roll a tray of genoise up into a log for buche de noel then its no good . Its junk.

The purpose of warming is to speed up the process, it has nothing to do with dissolving all the sugar.
When you hear someone say its to dissolve the sugar, they're trying to sound knowledgeable, they're repeating something they heard or were taught, practice proves otherwise.

Back in the early 1970's we could store eggs at room temp legally,
then the salmonella problem started, that was due to introduction of mixing ground up chicken heads and feet into their feed.
Organic eggs don't have this problem but they're expensive .
So they had to change the regulations. It was rarely enforced until the 1980's.

So eggs had to be chilled to keep the salmonella in check, that poses a problem in trying to whip icy cold eggs.

Various approaches are used, heat the mix, heat just the sugar in the oven,
leave the eggs out to recover in a hot kitchen or cover the egg in warm water to warm them up.
Most commercial big kitchens are blistering hot, the eggs feel very warm after they sit on the table for a short spell.
100+F isn't uncommon, so you can bet the sugar is already at 100 degs too, as is the flour.

If I give you a gallon of cold eggs, 8lb sugar and 8 lb flour and point to the 60 qt mixer, which approach do you choose, putting the mixing bowl over a pan of hot water isn't going to work, you'd need a big steam kettle, heating the sugar would be quicker and easier.
Another 2 methods is to put a sterno can on the floor and warm the bowl that way, or waft a blowtorch under the bowl whist the eggs are mixing. Both of those need attention to prevent scrambled eggs.
 
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Interesting, in the video he doesn’t heat up the eggs and sugar in bain marie. Is that step not required to dissolve the sugar?

I will try this one tomorrow, as i have baked quite a bit at the moment and need to take a break :)
Be aware the eggs were not icy cold, the kitchen was probably quite warm.

Youtube is full of nonsense, the french videos are much better.
 

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