# Things You Must Know About Baking (Ingredients) - Baking Knowledge

Today we will introduce the common baking ingredients.

# Dairy Products

## Butter

Natural Butter, also known as animal cream, is a pure milk product commonly known as butter. Butter is a portion of the oil obtained by centrifugation of whipping cream. The content of pure oil is generally 83% to 87%. The color is yellow, the softening temperature is about 20 °C, and it needs to be stored frozen.

In addition, there is a kind of “plant butter”, also known as “Margarine”, which is produced by hydrogenation of vegetable oil. Because it generally contains trans fatty acids, for the sake of health, although it is cheap, it is not recommended for household baking.

## Whipping Cream

Fresh cream is a very popular cake decoration ingredient, nicknamed “light cream”. It is a fat extracted from fresh milk, so it is also called animal fresh cream. The color is slightly yellow, the storage temperature is about 5 °C ~ 8 °C, cannot be frozen. It can be used for cake decoration after being frothed.

Like butter, there is a man-made version - plant whipped cream. It is made from the hydrogenation of vegetable oil. It is white in color and can be frozen. The stability after frothing is much higher than that of animal fresh cream. The price is much lower. Therefore, most of the cake houses use this kind of artificial fresh Cream to decorate the birthday cake. Also, since it also contains trans fatty acids, it is not recommended for household baking.

## Creamcheese

This is an immature full-fat cheese with a white color, delicate and a slightly sour taste. It is most commonly used to make cheesecakes. Creamcheese is very easy to spoil after opening, and can not be frozen, so eat it as soon as possible.

## Condensed Milk

This is a milk product which water has been removed. It is usually canned and can be stored for a long time.

## Yogurt

Yogurt is a milk product that is pasteurized, added with beneficial bacteria as a starter, and then cooled and packed. It not only retains all the nutrients of milk but also better for people with lactose intolerance. It is also a common baking ingredient and a very good natural toast softener.

# The Difference Between the Various Flours

There are many types of flour, and each has it’s place and specail use. The main difference between types of flour is the amount of protein they contain.

## Plain Flour

Plain, or all-purpose flour, is your best all-round choice for baking. It has an moderate protein level (9 to 12 percent). They are also very suitable for making Chinese dim sum such as moon cakes.

## Low-gluten Flour

Flour with a protein level less than 8.5%, mainly used for baking cakes and biscuits. Due to the low gluten, the finished product will be extra soft and crisp. You can also approximate low-gluten flour by mixing cornstarch with all-purpose flour, mix them in a ratio of 4:1, can greatly reduce the gluten of flour.

## High-gluten flour

Flour with an moderate protein level of about 13.5%. It’s often used to make bread products that require high-strength support. A small amount of very special cakes and cookies also use it.

## Cornstarch

It is made from a series of processes such as crushing, sieving, precipitating, drying and grinding. The protein level is very small. When mixed with plain flour or low-gluten flour, the flour tends to be greatly reduced, and the taste is softer and crisper.

## Glutinous Rice Flour

The glutinous rice flour is made from a series of processes such as immersion, sanding, sieving, pressure filtration and drying of glutinous rice. It is most often used to make dumplings and glutinous rice balls, and sometimes will also be used to obtain different pliable tastes.

# Leaveners

## Yeast

Yeast is a living organism. It needs food and moisture to thrive. There are 2 main forms of yeast: brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast is used primarily in beer making and baker’s yeast is used in baking.

Yeast feeds on sugar and converts it into alcohol and carbon dioxide through fermentation. Alcohol is useful in beer making and carbon dioxide is responsible for stretching and expanding the dough, something we see as the dough rises. Yeast fermentation also provides the flavor and texture you expect in yeast-raised recipes.

There are 2 Main Types of Baker’s Yeast

1. Wet Yeast – Also known as Cake Yeast, Fresh Yeast, or Compressed Yeast.

2. Dry Yeast – Sold as Active Dry and Instant Yeast.


Cake yeast is wet yeast sold in block or “cake” form. It’s active and highly perishable. To use cake yeast, crumble over dry ingredients or dissolve in the liquid used in the recipe.

Dry yeast, on the other hand, has a longer shelf life because it’s been dried out. It’s granulated and sold in little packets or loose in a jar. It is in a dormant state and if the package isn’t opened yet, can be stored at room temperature. Dry yeast requires different liquid amounts and temperatures than cake yeast.

## Baking Soda

Baking soda is a leavener that provides lift to cakes, muffins, biscuits, and other baked goods. When baking soda, which is alkaline, encounters an acidic ingredient (such as sour cream, buttermilk, or brown sugar), carbon and oxygen combine to form carbon dioxide. The tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide then lift up the dough. Baking soda also promotes browning.

## Baking Powder

Baking powder also creates carbon dioxide to provide lift to a wide range of baked goods. The active ingredients in baking powder are baking soda and an acidic element, such as cream of tartar. It also contains cornstarch to absorb moisture and keep the powder dry. Cooks use baking powder rather than baking soda when there is no natural acidity in the batter.

There are two kinds of baking powder. A single-acting baking powder has only one acid combined with the baking soda: a quick-acting acid that begins to work when liquid is added to the batter. A double-acting baking powder (like most supermarket brands) has two acids added to the baking soda: The second acid (often sodium aluminum sulfate) begins to work only when the dish is put in the oven, after the temperature has climbed above 120 degrees.

We recommend using double-acting baking powder in all recipes—baked goods rise higher since most of the rise with
baking powder occurs at oven temperatures. Double-acting baking powder also provides sufficient lift in the oven to allow you to bake frozen dough.

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