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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Temperature matters

While baking, the temperature of your ingredients will help you create the perfect confection. For cakes, your recipe will usually tell you to first cream the butter and sugar. If you let your butter sit to room temperature before mixing, it will become soft and more pliable. The butter will cream easier with the sugar if it's soft. Keeping your milk and eggs at room temperature will also make a difference when you're mixing. While melting chocolate, be sure to let it cool before you add it to your other ingredients. You don't want scorching hot chocolate to curdle your eggs and ruin your beautiful batter. Keeping the eggs room temperature will also help prevent curdling. Remember baking takes time, but the results are worth it!

Bon Appetit has a few tips for softening butter quickly:
Many recipes call for room-temperature butter because it is easier to beat. If you're stuck with a just-out-of-the-refrigerator stick, try these tricks to soften it up fast.
  • If you have a little time, cut the butter into small cubes and let it sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If you have less time, try microwaving the butter in 5-second bursts. Be careful not to let the butter melt.
  • If the butter is frozen, try grating it. The small pieces will soften almost immediately.

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