Oat flour substitution + adjusting recipe


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I want to test out Stella Park's triple oatmeal cookies, but the recipe calls for oat flour and steel cut oats, neither of which I usually have on hand. I've seen people say you can make oat flour just by grinding up rolled oats, but Parks has stated here that since oat flour is made from whole oat groats, while rolled oats are steamed and husk, that substition doesn't work (note she does give whole wheat flour as a substitute for oat flour, but I also don't have that on hand).

So I'm wondering, what would happen if you replaced the oat flour with ground oats? I've seen some people online make the cookie with that substitution and they've apparently turned out fine, but I'm interested in what the specific effects on the cookies are. Additionally, steel cut oats are included in the recipe to give more of a chew. I'm assuming that substituting them with rolled oats wouldn't have any structural effect, just would result in less chewiness?

The recipe seems to be one of the best rated oatmeal cookies recipes I could find (just judging from what people post about it online), but I've also noticed the cookies are supposedly supposed to be fairly thin. I personally prefer slightly thicker cookies (though definitely not cakey). What would be the best way to adjust the recipe to achieve this? Assuming you still chill the dough, which I always do with cookies.
  • Use higher protein flour?
  • Replace some of the oat flour with wheat flour?
  • Increase the amount of oats? This Cook's Illustrated article notes that more oats creates thicker cookies by acting as a physical barrier.
  • Replace some of the baking soda with baking powder?
  • Creaming butter for longer? The recipe specifically states to only cream for 30 seconds, presumably to minimize aeration and create a denser, thinner cookie.
  • Bake at 375F instead of 350F?
 
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I want to test out Stella Park's triple oatmeal cookies, but the recipe calls for oat flour and steel cut oats, neither of which I usually have on hand. I've seen people say you can make oat flour just by grinding up rolled oats, but Parks has stated here that since oat flour is made from whole oat groats, while rolled oats are steamed and husk, that substition doesn't work (note she does give whole wheat flour as a substitute for oat flour, but I also don't have that on hand).

So I'm wondering, what would happen if you replaced the oat flour with ground oats? I've seen some people online make the cookie with that substitution and they've apparently turned out fine, but I'm interested in what the specific effects on the cookies are. Additionally, steel cut oats are included in the recipe to give more of a chew. I'm assuming that substituting them with rolled oats wouldn't have any structural effect, just would result in less chewiness?

The recipe seems to be one of the best rated oatmeal cookies recipes I could find (just judging from what people post about it online), but I've also noticed the cookies are supposedly supposed to be fairly thin. I personally prefer slightly thicker cookies (though definitely not cakey). What would be the best way to adjust the recipe to achieve this? Assuming you still chill the dough, which I always do with cookies.
  • Use higher protein flour?
  • Replace some of the oat flour with wheat flour?
  • Increase the amount of oats? This Cook's Illustrated article notes that more oats creates thicker cookies by acting as a physical barrier.
  • Replace some of the baking soda with baking powder?
  • Creaming butter for longer? The recipe specifically states to only cream for 30 seconds, presumably to minimize aeration and create a denser, thinner cookie.
  • Bake at 375F instead of 350F?

I’m really not sure what Stella is talking about because groats are steamed and dehusked.
Rolled oats are steamed and dehusked, then rolled.

Commercially produced oat flour is made from both kiln dried husked oats and rolled oats (KDHOs) and rolled oats.
Oats have an inedible outer husk that has to be removed for the kernel to be eaten.

They go through a cleaning process that also removes the hull. Once the hole is separated from the kernel the kernels are then kiln dried. Mills refer to these as KDHO’s, but consumers would call it a groat.



The only difference between oat groats and steel cut oatmeal is groats are uncut. Steel cut oatmeal are groats that have been cut.

And rolled oats are groats that have been rolled.



So I don’t know what the heck Stella is talking about that you cannot grind rolled oats into flour. Because grinding up groats into flour is no different then grinding up the rolled oats. They’re all steamed and husked oats.



Now not using the steel cut oatmeal just simply means two things. First you have less texture in your cookie. She uses oats in three different forms: flour, rolled, and steel cut. So changing the make up of oats of course is going to change the texture of the cookie.



Second the change in oats percentage will change overall hydration in the cookie dough.



I don’t think it’s really going to be that significant. I would just go ahead and make the cookie with your substitutions and see how it comes out.
 
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I’m really not sure what Stella is talking about because groats are steamed and dehusked.
Rolled oats are steamed and dehusked, then rolled.

Commercially produced oat flour is made from both kiln dried husked oats and rolled oats (KDHOs) and rolled oats.
Oats have an inedible outer husk that has to be removed for the kernel to be eaten.

They go through a cleaning process that also removes the hull. Once the hole is separated from the kernel the kernels are then kiln dried. Mills refer to these as KDHO’s, but consumers would call it a groat.



The only difference between oat groats and steel cut oatmeal is groats are uncut. Steel cut oatmeal are groats that have been cut.

And rolled oats are groats that have been rolled.



So I don’t know what the heck Stella is talking about that you cannot grind rolled oats into flour. Because grinding up groats into flour is no different then grinding up the rolled oats. They’re all steamed and husked oats.



Now not using the steel cut oatmeal just simply means two things. First you have less texture in your cookie. She uses oats in three different forms: flour, rolled, and steel cut. So changing the make up of oats of course is going to change the texture of the cookie.



Second the change in oats percentage will change overall hydration in the cookie dough.



I don’t think it’s really going to be that significant. I would just go ahead and make the cookie with your substitutions and see how it comes out.
Wow that's a relief to hear it won't be necessary to buy an ingredient that I probably wouldn't have any other use for. I was doing research on oat flour vs. grinding up oats, and every source I found said that they were the same thing. Doing a bit more research though, I'm reading that oats aren't necessarily steamed. So basically:
  • Groats = Kernels that have been de-husked. All groats are then kiln-dried (i.e. become KDHOs) before being processed into products for consumers
  • Steel cut oats = KDHOs that have just been sliced
  • Rolled oats = KDHOs that have been steamed and then crushed. This process also makes them absorb more moisture.
If that's correct, then a closer substitute for oat flour may be grinding a combination of steel cut oats and rolled oats, so a portion of the mixture is from groats that haven't been steamed.

Might make it worth it to buy steel cut oats to get a closer reproduction of the original recipe. I can at least still use that to make oatmeal - it's just oat flour that I'd have no other use for!

And I'm still wondering about the best starting point for trying to obtain a thicker cookie. I've listed all the ways I could think of to reduce spread while minimally changing other structural, textural, or flavour components. What would you recommend going with?
 
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Wow that's a relief to hear it won't be necessary to buy an ingredient that I probably wouldn't have any other use for. I was doing research on oat flour vs. grinding up oats, and every source I found said that they were the same thing. Doing a bit more research though, I'm reading that oats aren't necessarily steamed. So basically:
  • Groats = Kernels that have been de-husked. All groats are then kiln-dried (i.e. become KDHOs) before being processed into products for consumers
  • Steel cut oats = KDHOs that have just been sliced
  • Rolled oats = KDHOs that have been steamed and then crushed. This process also makes them absorb more moisture.
If that's correct, then a closer substitute for oat flour may be grinding a combination of steel cut oats and rolled oats, so a portion of the mixture is from groats that haven't been steamed.

Might make it worth it to buy steel cut oats to get a closer reproduction of the original recipe. I can at least still use that to make oatmeal - it's just oat flour that I'd have no other use for!

And I'm still wondering about the best starting point for trying to obtain a thicker cookie. I've listed all the ways I could think of to reduce spread while minimally changing other structural, textural, or flavour components. What would you recommend going with?
Yes, you definitely have a clear understanding on the oats. I wish I had written it that clearly:)

I ended up doing quite a bit of research on oats in 2008, a few months after my doctor told me I couldn’t eat gluten anymore. I was eating oats just about every day. Despite my gluten-free diet I was still pretty sick; then my doctor mentioned there could be cross-contamination from the oats. After some extensive research on oat cultivation and processing I discovered he was right and I had to go oat free. Now they have gluten-free oats so I’m back to my daily oat habit.

Oat processing is pretty common knowledge now because so many people are gluten-free. Stella does a lot of alternative baking, or used to, so I’m surprised that she’s not aware of how oats are processed.

The steel cut oats are a small portion in this recipe. And that makes sense since steel cut oats are very hard and require a long cook. So she added them for texture and a little flavor boost. I would add it just to see how it adds to the cookie. It’s an unusual addition that’s for sure.

I really don’t think you’re gonna have an issue with spread in this cookie. Oat flour is highly absorbent. Cookie dough doesn’t have any liquid beyond the eggs and a little bit in the butter. So this is not going to be a spreader. And too, the recipe even states you have to flatten out the portioned dough before baking.

Personally I think it’s best to make a recipe as written the first time. That way you know what the recipe developer intended. You also learn something about the recipe and whether it works with your brand of ingredients. Only then you know how to make adjustments.

Let me know how the cookie turns out. I have her book; I’ve not tried this cookie out though.
 
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Yes, you definitely have a clear understanding on the oats. I wish I had written it that clearly:)

I ended up doing quite a bit of research on oats in 2008, a few months after my doctor told me I couldn’t eat gluten anymore. I was eating oats just about every day. Despite my gluten-free diet I was still pretty sick; then my doctor mentioned there could be cross-contamination from the oats. After some extensive research on oat cultivation and processing I discovered he was right and I had to go oat free. Now they have gluten-free oats so I’m back to my daily oat habit.

Oat processing is pretty common knowledge now because so many people are gluten-free. Stella does a lot of alternative baking, or used to, so I’m surprised that she’s not aware of how oats are processed.

The steel cut oats are a small portion in this recipe. And that makes sense since steel cut oats are very hard and require a long cook. So she added them for texture and a little flavor boost. I would add it just to see how it adds to the cookie. It’s an unusual addition that’s for sure.

I really don’t think you’re gonna have an issue with spread in this cookie. Oat flour is highly absorbent. Cookie dough doesn’t have any liquid beyond the eggs and a little bit in the butter. So this is not going to be a spreader. And too, the recipe even states you have to flatten out the portioned dough before baking.

Personally I think it’s best to make a recipe as written the first time. That way you know what the recipe developer intended. You also learn something about the recipe and whether it works with your brand of ingredients. Only then you know how to make adjustments.

Let me know how the cookie turns out. I have her book; I’ve not tried this cookie out though.
Yes I agree with trying recipes as written the first time. Sometimes I'm tempted to make adjustments right off the bat to minimize having to re-make it again with those adjustments, but then you miss how the recipe was originally intended to turn out. This time I'll just do the oat flour substitution.

Have you made the peanut butter cookies from the book? I was honestly very surprised by how well they turned out. And when researching different recipes online, Stella's recipe also seems very popular with others. This blog did a peanut butter cookie bake off recently; the BraveTart cookie did pretty well, but they noted it was a bit dry. However, itlooks like they just overbaked them a bit since they were pretty moist and very soft when I made them (and I baked in 3 batches, testing different cooking times).
 
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Yes I agree with trying recipes as written the first time. Sometimes I'm tempted to make adjustments right off the bat to minimize having to re-make it again with those adjustments, but then you miss how the recipe was originally intended to turn out. This time I'll just do the oat flour substitution.

Have you made the peanut butter cookies from the book? I was honestly very surprised by how well they turned out. And when researching different recipes online, Stella's recipe also seems very popular with others. This blog did a peanut butter cookie bake off recently; the BraveTart cookie did pretty well, but they noted it was a bit dry. However, itlooks like they just overbaked them a bit since they were pretty moist and very soft when I made them (and I baked in 3 batches, testing different cooking times).
No I haven’t tried any of the cookies in her book. I’ve tried quite a few of the cakes. And I have to say I was left very disappointed. I think we just have a different philosophy when it comes to cake. She’s all about the all purpose flour and I’m about cake flour. Her cakes are just too dense and heavy for my liking. And on those occasions when she uses cake flour, she somehow manages to make that cake so dense that it’s an all purpose flour cake.

She also likes 350°F which is absolutely too hot for cake, unless it’s some thing like carrot cake or hummingbird cake where you have a lot of add ins.

But I’ll tell you where is Stella is just absolutely brilliant is when it comes to pie. It’s the little things that she innovates like with her thickening formula with tapioca starch. And her solution for weeping meringue which when you read it it’s like so obvious how did we all miss it but like yes of course thank you Stella!!! I hate meringue on lemon meringue pie it’s just disgusting. It’s not smooth or silky, it weeps it’s just gross.

But when we make meringue for Swiss buttercream, when it’s done properly not like all those idiots on the Internet who tell you to heat your egg whites to 140°F, but heat it to 160°F, or in Stella’s version175°F, then you whip your egg whites you get this incredibly smooth creamy stable meringue.

And that is what Stella uses on her meringue topped pies. It’s the disgusting barely heated whipped egg whites that are unstable and weep. It was so obvious to use the meringue we use for buttercream, yet everyone missed this but Stella.

But I think that’s where Stella really stands out is her work with pies. Although I think she puts way too much butter in her piecrust. She actually uses puff pastry ratios and forms it into a pie crust. But the problem with that is it can leak grease.
 
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No I haven’t tried any of the cookies in her book. I’ve tried quite a few of the cakes. And I have to say I was left very disappointed. I think we just have a different philosophy when it comes to cake. She’s all about the all purpose flour and I’m about cake flour. Her cakes are just too dense and heavy for my liking. And on those occasions when she uses cake flour, she somehow manages to make that cake so dense that it’s an all purpose flour cake.

She also likes 350°F which is absolutely too hot for cake, unless it’s some thing like carrot cake or hummingbird cake where you have a lot of add ins.

But I’ll tell you where is Stella is just absolutely brilliant is when it comes to pie. It’s the little things that she innovates like with her thickening formula with tapioca starch. And her solution for weeping meringue which when you read it it’s like so obvious how did we all miss it but like yes of course thank you Stella!!! I hate meringue on lemon meringue pie it’s just disgusting. It’s not smooth or silky, it weeps it’s just gross.

But when we make meringue for Swiss buttercream, when it’s done properly not like all those idiots on the Internet who tell you to heat your egg whites to 140°F, but heat it to 160°F, or in Stella’s version175°F, then you whip your egg whites you get this incredibly smooth creamy stable meringue.

And that is what Stella uses on her meringue topped pies. It’s the disgusting barely heated whipped egg whites that are unstable and weep. It was so obvious to use the meringue we use for buttercream, yet everyone missed this but Stella.

But I think that’s where Stella really stands out is her work with pies. Although I think she puts way too much butter in her piecrust. She actually uses puff pastry ratios and forms it into a pie crust. But the problem with that is it can leak grease.
I haven't gotten around to working on cakes yet, but the pictures you've posted of your cakes have definitely been the best looking cakes I've seen: fluffy, level tops, and no dark crust. And your advice of using cake strips seems pretty important too, given what I've seen of results using them vs. not using them. I'm surprised Stella Parks or other well-known recipe developers don't advocate for them as much. But when I do start practicing cake layers, I have all your tips memorized haha.

I haven't been able to make any other recipes from her book yet, but from what I see on the internet, the brownies, devil's food cake, and carrot cake are also very popular. I don't know if you've made those recipes yet, but if you do want to try another recipe from the book those seem like good starting points.

I also wonder so many recipes for Swiss meringue call heating to a lower temperature. It's not just food bloggers on the internet. I cross-referenced with multiple pastry textbooks, and the instructions are:
  • Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas: cook to 120°F (if pasteurized egg whites), or 160°F (if unpasteurized egg whites)
  • Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen: cook to 120°F
  • The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg: cook to 140°F
  • Baking and Pastry by the Culinary Institute of America: cook to 115°F (if pasteurized egg whites), or 165°F (if unpasteurized egg whites)
  • On Baking by Sarah Labensky: cook to 100°F
It may be that those recipes aren't usually intended for a meringue used as a topping, but rather to be baked or used as a component in another formula. Hence cooking to a higher temperature isn't as necessary as it makes the meringue more dense, and the meringue also doesn't need to be more stable. Which then leads me to wonder: why isn't Swiss meringue more often used as a topping? Most American recipes used French meringue for a pie topping, but then that leads to the weeping problems that you mentioned. And for European recipes, Italian meringue is most commonly what I see for tart toppings, but I find it's too dense.

And I also whole-heartedly agree on pie doughs. I thought Stella's recipe had great texture and flavour, but the ratio of 100% butter does make it too greasy for my liking. I've been using your formula of 70% butter, 30% water for my flaky pie dough (I decrease the water slightly and cut the butter to smaller pieces for mealy pie dough when it's a custard pie) and it's been the perfect combination of flaky but tender, yet also not greasy at all.

Plus the ratio of 25% sugar, 6% tapioca starch has lead to the best fruit pies I've ever baked. With it being summer and a bunch of fruits are in season, I've been pretty busy making a variety of fruit pies and it's nice to have that reliable formula on hand!
 
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I haven't gotten around to working on cakes yet, but the pictures you've posted of your cakes have definitely been the best looking cakes I've seen: fluffy, level tops, and no dark crust. And your advice of using cake strips seems pretty important too, given what I've seen of results using them vs. not using them. I'm surprised Stella Parks or other well-known recipe developers don't advocate for them as much. But when I do start practicing cake layers, I have all your tips memorized haha.

I haven't been able to make any other recipes from her book yet, but from what I see on the internet, the brownies, devil's food cake, and carrot cake are also very popular. I don't know if you've made those recipes yet, but if you do want to try another recipe from the book those seem like good starting points.

I also wonder so many recipes for Swiss meringue call heating to a lower temperature. It's not just food bloggers on the internet. I cross-referenced with multiple pastry textbooks, and the instructions are:
  • Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas: cook to 120°F (if pasteurized egg whites), or 160°F (if unpasteurized egg whites)
  • Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen: cook to 120°F
  • The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg: cook to 140°F
  • Baking and Pastry by the Culinary Institute of America: cook to 115°F (if pasteurized egg whites), or 165°F (if unpasteurized egg whites)
  • On Baking by Sarah Labensky: cook to 100°F
It may be that those recipes aren't usually intended for a meringue used as a topping, but rather to be baked or used as a component in another formula. Hence cooking to a higher temperature isn't as necessary as it makes the meringue more dense, and the meringue also doesn't need to be more stable. Which then leads me to wonder: why isn't Swiss meringue more often used as a topping? Most American recipes used French meringue for a pie topping, but then that leads to the weeping problems that you mentioned. And for European recipes, Italian meringue is most commonly what I see for tart toppings, but I find it's too dense.

And I also whole-heartedly agree on pie doughs. I thought Stella's recipe had great texture and flavour, but the ratio of 100% butter does make it too greasy for my liking. I've been using your formula of 70% butter, 30% water for my flaky pie dough (I decrease the water slightly and cut the butter to smaller pieces for mealy pie dough when it's a custard pie) and it's been the perfect combination of flaky but tender, yet also not greasy at all.

Plus the ratio of 25% sugar, 6% tapioca starch has lead to the best fruit pies I've ever baked. With it being summer and a bunch of fruits are in season, I've been pretty busy making a variety of fruit pies and it's nice to have that reliable formula on hand!
You’re right, Swiss meringue makes the most sense for a topping. But even with Swiss, most on the internet get the Swiss wrong. Normally, I use Italian for buttercream. But lately I’ve been using Swiss because I feel like I have more control over the temperatures and process/ Italian drops then holds in the 90’s for an insufferable amount of time before you can add the butter. Of the last 6 cakes, 3 were Swiss; 2 Italian, and 1 mascarpone Chantilly. I think the Italian can be dense when the wrong butter is used. I like Plugra. I won’t use Kerrygold—way too rich for Italian. I tried it once with a 86% cultured butter once and I thought, “Nope, too rich.” There is such a thing as butter being too good for the application. It was so heavy I could not use it on the cake.

I don’t use unpasteurized egg whites because they don’t whip well. I tried them a couple of times and was very disappointed with the quality of meringue.

CIA and Susa have the temperatures correct. I took a wedding cake class at CIA. That’s what they taught. I a cake workshop at SF Cooking School who’s pastry program is headed by a James Beard winner. The 160°F minimum is correct for working pastry chefs. And the reason has to do with sugar being added at the beginning with the egg whites.

Most people think heating the egg whites and sugar is just about killing the salmonella in the egg whites, but it’s also about stabilizing the meringue.

If you recall our discussion recently on whipped egg whites (not meringue), I explained you start at low speed and wait to add the sugar. Then you add the sugar gradually. The reason is sugar will interfere with protein denaturation (sugar molecules get in the way as the hydrophilic amino acids bind with water molecules). So if added too soon, sugar delays egg coagulation. Water molecules are displaced. The result is a weaker foam with lower volume.

But if added at the correct time and gradually, sugar and water molecules bind, adding more stability to the egg whites by keeping the water molecules from being forced out. This creates a stronger foam network with greater volume.

But in making a Swiss meringue, all the sugar is dumped in at the beginning. So there is the issue of delayed protein denaturation.

There’s only a few ways to denature protein in foods: heat, mechanical agitation, chemical, or acid.

So the heat is a way to trigger the denaturation process of the protein. It also dissolves the sugar crystals, and that allows the sugar and water molecules to bind. So the heat is used to offset the front loading of the sugar.

But you have to heat to a high enough temperature. The temperatures below 160°F are all way too low to fully dissolve the sugar and trigger that protein denaturation process needed to stabilize the meringue. People who use those low temperatures assume heat is only to kill the salmonella, nothing else. But some of those temperatures, like the 120°F isn’t even enough to kill salmonella.

But again here’s where Stella shines. Stella found that if you heat to 170°F or maybe it’s 175°F, the meringue becomes amazingly more stable—enough that it will not really deflate or weep.

For Swiss meringue buttercream, I heat to a minimum of 160°F. Just don’t go beyond 175°F.

I’ve made both Stella carrot cake and devil’s food cake. I prefer the carrot cake to the devil’s food cake. I don’t think either one is exceptional. Stella just doesn’t get the overall heat conduction thing when it comes to cake. She uses and swears by the Fat Daddio pans. She uses 3” pans, but only fills them for 2” layers. She states the added height protects the batter of excessive heat. My thought is just turn the friggin oven down and use cake strips. If you look at her cakes, the crumb and crust is rough and coarse. They have a thick dry brown crust. Not to my liking at all.



This is Stella’s cake. It’s slightly domed, a sign the temperature was too high. Sides set too soon, and center continued to rise. The crumb is rough and coarse. It has a thick dry brown crust. Not what I want in a cake. I copied the photo from her article on cake pans on Serious Eats (link below)

D4A2650A-E6B5-4359-AF1A-7C1BF66FA4F5.jpeg




My computer is dead, so the only cake photo’s I have are on my Ipad. So these have been posted before. Compared to Stella’s cake above, I will take my cake any day over hers. Level, no dry crust.
EF6F33BE-7D6A-4CBA-83C0-FA71E6616FB1.jpeg



cross-section of one of my cake layers; the crumb is very fluffy and soft
2830F792-B2FF-4F3A-A7EF-BF5BEFFA1AAF.jpeg


soft fluffy white cake.
A368885A-991B-43EE-837A-459F4CE6B500.jpeg



Need level layers to create a level finished product. You cannot create a stable layer cake with a domed layer like Stella’s cake. You have to cut the top off Stella’s domed cake layer before decorating it. Not so with my cakes.
C4FC7159-E7C2-42DD-B7AF-DEF2542E68FE.jpeg




This is where I got the image of Stella’s cake
https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/05/guide-to-best-cake-pans.html
 

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@Norcalbaker59 I remember our discussion on whipping egg whites. It does make a lot of sense now about heating the egg whites for Swiss meringue - needs to offset the fact that all the sugar is added at the beginning. It's very obvious when you put it like that, but even though I knew how the individual mechanics worked (adding sugar too early delays denaturation; heated eggs denature, then coagulate), didn't manage to put two and two together!

And similarly, the entire deal of preventing doming in cakes makes so much sense once you realize it's all about preventing the edges from cooking too fast. All the different methods - using the right cake pan, using cake strips, baking at a lower temperature - are in essence all to make sure the cake is cooked more evenly. There are a million and one baking resources out there, but not enough of them express in simple terms how and why stuff works.
 
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@Norcalbaker59 I remember our discussion on whipping egg whites. It does make a lot of sense now about heating the egg whites for Swiss meringue - needs to offset the fact that all the sugar is added at the beginning. It's very obvious when you put it like that, but even though I knew how the individual mechanics worked (adding sugar too early delays denaturation; heated eggs denature, then coagulate), didn't manage to put two and two together!

And similarly, the entire deal of preventing doming in cakes makes so much sense once you realize it's all about preventing the edges from cooking too fast. All the different methods - using the right cake pan, using cake strips, baking at a lower temperature - are in essence all to make sure the cake is cooked more evenly. There are a million and one baking resources out there, but not enough of them express in simple terms how and why stuff works.

Yes, all the information is scattered about. I’m not saying I am a one stop resource, cuz I’m not—but, I’ve collected a ton of info over 20 yrs. So I want to write a baking book to put in all in one place for home bakers.


Just for the record, Stella’s cake isn’t as bad as some—I’ve seen a lot worse. There are cakes that volcano up the center with full cracks!! But she is a professionally trained pastry chef, so I expect to see a level cake with a soft crumb and a light almost no crust.
 

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