Ever bake a cake that turns out flat? Muffins that look more like pancakes? Baked goods that puff in the oven, then cave when they cool?
That's lift and it's created by beating, the addition of beaten eggs, and chemical leveners like baking soda and baking powder.
Here's the rundown on how air gets added to your baked goods so they rise when you bake them, and don't fall too far when you take them out.
Photo by Cake Spy
BEATING & CREAMING
Don't minimize the importance of this step. While you can achieve a good mix by hand, electric mixers have greatly simplified the task of beating sugar, butter and eggs into a light and creamy emulsion for cake and cookies. Read the description in a recipe from a reliable source of how something should look when it's creamed, and work until you achieve that result.
One key to good beating and creaming - don't beat at top speed! In fact, higher speeds create unstable air bubbles and may cause your batter to deflate. Low to medium speed is plenty for everything but whipping, where you use your whisk attachment. This is especially try with SideSwipe. You never will need to use anything higher than medium speed to achieve good creaming.
Follow the recommended mixing time with a standard beater. When using SideSwipe, cut that time in half and check for consistency. If you're not sure, err on the low side.
When adding dry ingredients, mix only until combined for most recipes. Recipes using oil will often call for longer mixing after the dry ingredients to add some air to the final batter.
FATS & FAT TEMPERATURE
The way you incorporate fat into a dough or batter also increases the amount of air you add. Creaming ROOM TEMPERATURE butter and sugar together incorporates air, both through the action of the beater, and because jagged sugar crystals "grab" air as they come to the surface. Vegetable oil will produce a heavier product because it just doesn't contain as much air as butter. Also, the water in butter, when heated in the oven, expands and turns to steam; this also helps create a lighter baked good.
EGGS & EGG TEMPERATURE
Most recipes calling for eggs have them beaten until they're light and lemon-colored; that's the signal that they've incorporated an appropriate amount of air. Egg whites can be beaten until they've ballooned with air and become meringue. And if you beat eggs together with fat (as with creaming eggs and butter), you produce an emulsion that can hold more air than either alone.
Most recipes turn out lighter when the eggs are room temperature, as they can achieve their best lift when they are warmer.
source of basic information: King Arthur Flour
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