Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baking is a precision endeavour

Often when the conversation has turned to cooking people talk about how experimentation is a great thing.  Generally the opinion goes that most recipes are almost entirely malleable and replacing things and altering ratios is a great way to find new and tasty dishes.  Of course, baking is generally accepted as a bit of an outlier because when you replace something in a baked good you sometimes just don't get what you want at all - a souffle with one ingredient changed is mush, not a souffle.

Today I was baking cookies and had the recipe book sitting on the microwave with one page flapping down.  I heated up the butter in the microwave, flipped the page out of the way... and added baking powder and a cup of milk to my cookies from the pancake recipe.  You might say that I should have noticed that chocolate chip cookies don't get a cup of milk, and you might be right.  On the bright side it turns out that cookies that have a slightly pancake like consistency and a bit of a milk flavour actually taste fine!  Perhaps even baking is just as amenable to random replacement and alteration - souffles excluded, of course.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard people claim that baking is chemistry, and while that is literally quite true, the idea that instructions must be precisely followed is ridiculous. For one thing, all of these recipes were created by trial and error in the first place. For another, the ideal proportions of all ingredients do not magically fall along numbers of cups and tablespoons.

    As always, mess around and see how it turns out is a good rule.