on Step 5, Enjoyed your experiments very muchI've been experimenting myself, but every variation I try seems to turn out crumbly which I hate. So what difference does baking powder really make? Reply Oven temperature is 425 F. The video shows pretty clearly that a lot more rising occurs when you use more baking powder. on Introduction, Baking Soda needs an acid (like buttermilk), Baking Powder is Baking Soda with the acid already mixed in (so you don't need buttermilk). Both were baked at 425 F. There were five taste testers (who did not know what was in the biscuits they were tasting): Milk and water both seem to work fine... there's no clear advantage of one over the other. Using two table knives (or scissors) to cut the fat up until it's a bunch of little pieces coated in flour. The idea is that too much kneading will make the biscuits tough, hard, and nasty. How can over to the soft spongy dough in the middle and away from the crumbs? for answering a question i was about to ask. 16 days ago. Others demand shortening. Again, the 1:2 liquid:flour ratio was about the easiest dough to handle. When you get a lot of butter, you're kind of filling your biscuit with holes, which makes it unable to bear its own weight to rise very far. 4 months ago. To solve the milk vs buttermilk question, I decided to make two giant batches for a bunch of guests. If you can, cut round biscuits and then put them in a cast iron skillet touching edges and then in the oven. After the moisture has been mainly evaporated from the dough pieces, the temperature of the surface rises quickly and the colour will change from around 150°C. Tastier? It kind of rose and collapsed. ), Reply The biscuits in a strip are separated, cracked apart, by a system of discs used to flex the baked strips on the lines demarcated by the cutter, first one way and then the other. I like to use a knife and cut squares, so I don't have left-over pieces to re-knead and re-roll. In a humid environment, cookies can absorb water vapor, making them soft. Nope Scones use baking powder. Other major ingredients are fat or shortening, and sugar. Once you get the dough right, the biscuits should come out of your cutter just fine. 18 days ago. If my wife and I ever have identical twins, I'd like to name one Stanley and the other Evil Stanley, for the purposes of scientific inquiry. We've already seen what the amount of fat does to a biscuit, but what does the type of fat do? So how do you make the best, flakiest, most optimal biscuit ever? Conclusion: More baking powder makes the biscuit rise more (imagine that!). in this case, it appears that the biscuit structure is just a lot more stable (structurally speaking) when there's less butter. I made a single batch of six biscuits. One was 80% sure, and the last (a smart alec) was 64% sure. I rarely have buttermilk on hand and don't like the "add vinegar to milk" solutions and don't want to buy a carton to have it spoil because I only needed a little. Biscuits, cookies, and crackers have a cereal base of at least 60%. To find out, I made five different batches of biscuits. Answer Baking cookies seems simple, especially if you cook pre-made cookie dough, but it's really a set of chemical reactions. Significant misalignment caused by separation during baking may result in damage to some crackers by these discs. Well, that depends on your taste. So if buttermilk isn't really better than milk, that begs a question: could you just use water instead of milk? Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College, 3/4 cup brown sugar (caramelized sucrose), 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (contains gluten), 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO, You'll get the best results if you use room temperature eggs and butter. This is usually wheat but is sometimes oat, barley, rye, or rice. Heat breaks the sucrose into the simple sugars glucose and fructose, giving each cookie a shiny, light brown crust. The texture wasn't the nice, flaky, classic biscuit texture we both like. This was a tough one. I understand lard makes a flakey biscuit. Some even claim a mix: I read one article that claimed that shortening led to better flakiness and butter led to better taste, so an even mix of both would lead to the ultimate biscuit. 4 months ago. This could lead to weak cookies or to cookies that fall flat when they come out of the oven. Still others swear by cream cheese. Milk or buttermilk? Cookies were rich in magnesium (576.54–735.06 mg/100 g) with favorable Na/K ratio (<1.0). on Step 14. Oven temperature is 425 F. 5 years ago Excellent work! I didn't tell anyone what the difference between biscuits was until after they'd made their choice. What Is Cream of Tartar or Potassium Bitartrate? Is it really key to knead exactly 15 times, or to use a baking mat, or to use buttermilk? Thanks! But biscuits like those we eat today in the U.S. are fairly modern culinary creations. The science of biscuit baking | Recipes | rapidcityjournal.com Start with the science of molasses cookies and bread, then move on to other recipes from this webinar. Something is happening with the gluten in there, I'm sure. This surprised me. Six of eight people could not tell a difference. There's only one way to find out: experimenting. Note: Metric conversions (thanks to ZaKKoS for writing these up): First Prize in the Explore Science Contest, Participated in the Apocalypse Preparedness Contest. Using a biscuit and crushing it into tiny pieces helps children see that, even though a solid is broken up, it is still a solid. For batches 3, 4 and 5 (with half to double the base recommended baking powder amount), the taste difference was almost indistinguishable. Are biscuits fluffier with more or less fat? The very dry biscuits were difficult to get mixed, and the very wet biscuits were, well, very wet. After cookies have completely cooled, they can be placed into a cookie jar or other container to keep them fresh and delicious. on Step 14. Reply I recommend reading Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking for a better understanding of the chemistry involved in cooking and baking. I did not tell my guests what the difference in the batches was until everyone had told me their opinion. What’s the chemistry connection? Question Yes, it's more exact to measure the actual mass (or weight) of your ingredients than it is to measure volume, but this experiment shows that huge variations in the amount of flour per liquid can still result in good biscuits. By Jack G. Goldsmith, PhD. Or maybe you're curious about some tests I haven't done yet, like: If that's the case, then check out my blog, where I've posted more installments of my continued quest for the "perfect" biscuit (as well as info on my novels, short stories, other food experiments, and book reviews). Heating sodium bicarbonate causes it to decompose into water and carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide gas and water vapor form the bubbles which make cookies rise. A standard cake recipe typically includes flour, a type of sweetener, eggs, some kind of fat, a liquid, a leavening agent to help it rise and flavoring (like vanilla, cocoa powder or cinnamon) [source: What's Cooking America].The ingredients interact with each other … This is usually wheat but is sometimes oat, barley, rye, or rice. One of eight people thought the butter biscuits tasted slightly saltier and slightly better. I’ll experiment a bit more! This picture, taken right after the biscuits had finished baking, shows the same thing: Both taste testers (my wife and I) thought that batches 1 and 2 (with only a tiny amount of baking powder) were noticeably denser and moister than the others. The cream cheese biscuits were pretty unanimously agreed to be blander and cakier. on Introduction, Hi, I made biscuits using your recipe (your final preferred method), and, after many, many different attempts over the last few years, your biscuits came out better than any I've made before. For flavor, you can do half lard, half butter. My flour experiments indicated that there is a lot of leeway on the precise amount of flour, so adjust as needed and expect very similar results. The basic characteristic that separates a biscuit, cookie, or cracker from other baked products, such as bread or cake, is a moisture content below 5%. These are the questions that plague biscuit makers everywhere, and they are the questions that I have set out, over the past 13 months, to answer once and for all. Montreal is not a city where buying buttermilk is that easy, and I wouldn't use it often enough to use it up if I found it. I've noticed dry buttermilk with the regular dry milk in the grocery section. Making good biscuits is easy. University of South Carolina . And when you put both cream of tartar and baking soda, you have made; baking powder!Chemistry SHOULD be fun! In my quest to find the perfect sugar cookie for decorating, I have learned a lot about how individual cookie ingredients behave in a recipe. 5 years ago This video from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), aimed at primary teachers, demonstrates an experiment which may be used when learning about solids. 1 cup of milk (or water, or buttermilk) per 2 cups of flour is a pretty good ratio, but it's really not that important. The chemical changes that occurred during baking help the cookie keep its shape. What about the dissenter, who liked the butter biscuits better? You can substitute baking powder for baking soda (since you're just making double-sure there's enough acid for the reaction), but you can't substitute baking soda for baking powder (since that acid needs to come from somewhere). In this first experiment, I didn't have any store-bought buttermilk handy, so I made my own: Inconclusive. But how does that affect the final product? Modern Cakes and Biscuits. You're not going to absolutely ruin the biscuits by "overworking" them. I usually associate flakiness and softness with size; you expect a big biscuit to be fluffy and soft, and a biscuit that doesn't rise to be dense. Werner’s theory. The book concludes with a look at some experiments and methods and goes on to discuss some ideas for the future. Or are some of the mysterious steps in these recipes as arbitrary and nonsensical as cutting off both ends of the ham? I couldn't... not in taste, texture, or appearance, even on the bottom of the biscuit. If the ingredients are high quality, measured carefully, and mixed as they should be, chemical magic happens in the oven to make great cookies. Let’s have a look at them one by one. Scones are a totally different bread. Here, I show why different temperatures of butter matter to a recipe. Or maybe you just want the richest, crumbliest taste and texture possible. Some people swear by the baking mat, while some swear by the bare cookie sheet. What is the true key to flakiness? I've even read one book that said that rising occurs because of the butter in the biscuits, not the baking powder. Thank you!!! The heat works on the butter, egg yolk, and flour to change the shape of the molecules. There are several chemical and physical changes which contribute to the colouring of the biscuit surface. What is best? Thank you,Bautar. A demonstrator uses biscuits to show children that some solids are made of tiny pieces and can be poured. You can use baking soda if you add an acid like cream of tartar, vinegar or even a splash of citrus or citrus rind. If the cookies aren't devoured immediately, the chemistry doesn't end with baking. I had to use the dough scraper to get under each "cut out" and use a knife or fork to pull away the excess dough around the actual biscuit shape. To find out, I made three batches of biscuits that were identical except for the amount of fat used (in this case, butter). In the 19th century, with the Industrial Revolution the mass production of cakes, biscuits and jelly began. But does it? Thanks, Answer That's why some recipes call for both.In addition, I think I read somewhere that one rises quicker than the other, which is why some recipes might call for both, so you get a rise right away and another later on. If you ever do a "revision 2" of this experiment, it would be good to test baking soda vs baking powder as well. The dough that was kneaded 15x and 45x was more "structurally sound" (like the biscuits we've seen before with less butter or milk). The pan has two representative biscuits from each batch. For the past year, I've performed dozens of biscuit experiments. 8 Chapter 1: Variables in Baking When you consider baking at the molecular level, the key players are the same as Last week I made a batch of biscuits (yes, I enjoy cooking almost as much as chemistry). If so, up the baking powder, decrease the liquid and butter content, and knead them a bit more. The caramelisation of different sugars occurs at differen… Eccles cakes also date from the 18th century. Try this Vicky Wong is Chemistry editor of Catalyst. Bath Oliver biscuits were invented by William Oliver in the mid 18th century. I've varied the shotlrtening from 1 tblspn per cup of flour to 3 tblspns per cup and I've varied baking powder from 1 tspn per cup to 3 tspns per cup, and I have tried varying buttermilk from barely enough to form a batter to so much I could barely get the batter to be able to knead it. Each batch uses two cups of flour and normally makes 8 biscuits, but I only cooked two biscuits from each batch so that I could make sure the baking conditions were exactly the same for all of the biscuits. This helps the ingredients mix into the recipe more evenly and means your cookie dough will be. See if that helps. I (and my taste-testing friends) were pretty surprised by these results, so I did similar experiments about 5 times. No tips needed. If your cookies never turn out perfect, understanding their chemistry may help improve your technique. We've already seen that the baking powder : flour ratio and the liquid:flour ratio have a lot of leeway, though, so unless the fat : flour ratio needs to be honed to perfection, a small measurement error just isn't going to make much of a difference. The pan has three representative biscuits from each batch. But what difference does the fat make? Make sure you flour the cutter before each cut. I did this experiment many times. Could it really be all that bad for making biscuits? She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. The chemical changes that occurred during baking help the cookie keep its shape. The Science of Baking Infographic Check out this break down of baking, one ingredient at a time. But, at least right out of the oven, the super buttery biscuits really melt in your mouth. This experiment also (mostly) debunks the theory that you have to make your biscuits by using a scale rather than using cups and teaspoons. My wife thought the batch with the most baking powder was best, while I thought it tasted a tad too salty and chemically. It also opens up space to keep the cookie from becoming too dense. All biscuit masters agree: if you're going to use butter, use real butter, not that fake crap (margarine). We'll raise them exactly the same, but over time, Evil Stanley will undoubtedly begin to live up to his name because of a subtle difference in the way the world treats him. Does the amount of salt really matter down to the 1/3rd of a teaspoon? I say mostly debunks because, theoretically, some other ratio could be super crucial to the science of biscuit making. Just use a pastry cutter to blend flour, baking powder, and a dash of salt with butter. Well, just like scones, the raising agent in American biscuits is baking soda, or sodium hydrogen carbonate. If I remember correctly, scones contain yeast. To find out, I made two batches of biscuits that were identical except for the type of fat used. Follow this classic chocolate chip cookie recipe and learn about the ingredients and the reactions that occur throughout the mixing and baking process. If your taste is like mine, then (for 8 biscuits), use: But maybe you just like your biscuits to be as big as possible. I'm kind of assuming that I might need a little bit more flour added? Making biscuits is basically composed of seven steps: Most of these steps are pretty straightforward, but here are some tips and tricks I've learned after making about a zillion biscuits: Baking powder is a field of contention. In the 19th-century people began to eat birthday cakes. It all turns out to be crumbly biscuits. that the recipe calls for. 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