We refer to On Baking: 3rd Edition by Labensky, S. et al. as our baking bible. As a matter of fact, we have a paper copy for our pastry chef to make notes, and we have a digital copy to access in the go.
Every baking business needs this book. Almost any question you have can be answered by the book, and it has hundreds of recipes for inspiration.
Today we are going to focus on mixing methods, and why these different techniques are important for you.
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What is mixing?
The point of mixing is to accomplish a few different things. The technique in which you mix the ingredients accomplishes different tasks. For example, if you need to combine ingredients, the recipe instructions might tell you to stir, but if you need to incorporate air, then the recipe may call for you to whip the ingredients.
There are 9 different methods for mixing. Each method adds something to your baking process, and each method is accomplished differently.
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9 Different Mixing Methods
Take a moment and see if you can think of a time you have used these different methods.
Now think about why these techniques were important for the baking process in that specific recipe.
Let’s talk about each method, what the purpose of the method is in the baking process, and the tools required for that specific method.
Why These Methods
Beating: This is the process of creating air or gluten by quickly mixing ingredients. You accomplish this by using a spoon or the paddle attachment on a mixer.
Blending: This is used to distribute the ingredients in a batter or mixture evenly. Several tools can be used to blend a mixture. You can use a spoon, rubber spatula, whisk, or the paddle attachment on a mixer.
Creaming: This is when you incorporate air while combining softened fats and sugar. Use the paddle attachment of the mixer on medium for creaming.
Cutting: This is done to mix fats into dry ingredients such as butter into pie dough. Depending on your final product, you can cut a mixture with a pastry cutter, your fingers, or the paddle attachment on your mixer.
Folding: Folding is used to mix delicate ingredients like whipping cream or whipped eggs into a dough or batter. When folding in ingredients, use a rubber spatula or a balloon whisk.
Kneading: This is done to create gluten in your product. Gluten provides the structure for your finished product. Use a dough hook for kneading. If you must do it by hand, fold vigorously in a rhythm to encourage the gluten forming process.
Sifting: This process removes lumps from dry ingredients and aerate the ingredients. To accomplish this, my a rotating sifter or mesh strainer.
Stirring: This is mixing the ingredients by hand using a rubber spatula, spoon, or whisk.
Whipping: This is when you beat a mixture vigorously to incorporate air. To whip a mixture such as American buttercream icing (grab our delicious recipe here), use the whip attachment for your mixer or whisk.
So, these are how the different methods are used and what tools to use for each method, but it doesn’t help you understand the final result. Let’s talk more about that.
Methods And The Final Results
The purpose of mixing ingredients for a recipe is to accomplish certain goals.
Distribute the ingredients evenly
Breakdown and mix fats and liquids
Activate the formation of gluten
Incorporate air into the mixture
Depending on your final goal, you may use a few different techniques in your mixing process. Fats can add flakiness to a dough. Gluten is the foundation of dough and can make the product soft or hard, while air creates fluffiness in a product.
It is crazy to think that in a recipe, you not only need to pay attention to the types of ingredients but also you must pay close attention to the mixing method if you want to reach your desired results.
If you really want to dedicate yourself to understanding the science and technique behind baking, then we HIGHLY, HIGHLY suggest you get your own copy of On Baking: 3rd Edition by Labensky, S. et al.
Want to see how we incorporate these mixing methods into our recipes? Then check out some of the recipes we use in our business.
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