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Tag: Baking

Holiday Baking Webinar

It’s not just the raw eggs that cause food safety problems. All kinds of flour are raw and must be baked for safe consumption.

‘Tis the season! Time to bring out the mixing bowls and warm up the ovens for holiday baking.

To help you make your baked goods safe, the Partnership for Food Safety Education is hosting “Holiday Baking for BAC Fighters: Promoting Home Safe Handling of Ingredients” on Tuesday, November 19 at Noon to 1:00pm CST.

The webinar will cover risks of consuming unbaked (raw) ingredients, dough or batter and discuss recent foodborne illness outbreaks linked to raw flour. They will also share behavioral health messages and downloadable resources to promote safe baking practices at home.

Guest speakers are Donald Kautter, senior advisor/consumer safety officer with the FDA, and Sharon Davis, family and consumer sciences educator with the Home Baking Association.

Register online now!

Tricks for Flaky Biscuits

Be gentile handling biscuit dough. Too much mixing, kneading, or rolling will make tough biscuits.

For some, making homemade biscuits is scary. But, they are really quite simple. One key component is solid fat and how it is handled. Biscuits need small pieces of cold fat to create flaky layers and tender biscuits. That keeps the flour from absorbing the fat and the flour actually coats the fat. This also reduces gluten development so biscuits won’t be tough.

Whatever solid fat you use, it needs to be cold, or even frozen. Fat that is frozen can be grated into small pieces. Refrigerated sticks of butter or shortening can be sliced with an egg slicer, a knife or two, a pastry cutter, or even a fork. Work quickly so the fat doesn’t warm up too much.

When cutting the biscuit shapes, resist the urge to turn the cutter. This motion causes the dough to twist instead of being straight up and down. Therefore, the biscuits will be lower in volume. Just press down and up!


November is National Raisin Bread Month!

Glazed Raisin Loaf

Now this is a celebration I can wrap my head around! I consider raisin bread comfort food and have made it often to give as gifts. The aroma of this bread just says comfort!

There are many variations of raisin bread, which typically has cinnamon as an added punch of flavor. Some recipes have raisins in the dough, some have the raisins just in the swirl. The cinnamon can also be used either way. But to truly get that punch of flavor, the spiral with the cinnamon and raisins can hit the spot.

Raisins are little sponges. When baked in bread, they tend to soak up moisture from the dough, making the finished bread dough dry. Soak the raisins in water first to make them plump and juicy, but not mushy.

A cinnamon filling can make a pretty swirl when shaping the loaves. Resist using too much butter as that can cause the swirl to separate and then the bread slices will lose their shape. Add a tablespoon of flour to help prevent this from happening.

However you make this bread, enjoy!


New Yeast for Bakers

If you like the flavor of sourdough bread but don’t want to wait for a sourdough starter to develop, there’s good news!

Red Star® has made a new Instant Sourdough yeast to replace regular yeast in any recipe to give it sourdough flavor. The yeast actually contains a starter culture (Lactobacillus) and rye flour to take the place of a sourdough starter. Simply blend the yeast with the dry ingredients and use liquids at a temperature of 120-130°F. Bread recipes with four cups of flour can use one packet of this yeast.

For more information, including how to request a free sample of this new yeast, go to


Baking with Sprouted Wheat Flour

Have you tried baking with sprouted wheat flour? Here are some tips from the Home Baking Association and Chef Stephanie Peterson.

  • Knead longer or add gluten. Sprouted wheat flour is a bit lower in gluten content. Knead dough longer or add extra vital wheat gluten.
  • Use shorter fermentation time. While long fermentation gives more flavor and character, sprouted wheat flour will not raise as much.
  • Cup for cup. Measure sprouted flour as traditional flour.
  • Avoid rancidity. Store in a cool, dry, dark location, or even in the freezer.
  • Food Safety. This is a raw flour just like all other flours. Wash your hands and clean equipment and surfaces well.

Learn more from the Home Baking Association at


Honey as a Sugar Substitute

Honey is a sweet treasure from Mother Nature. To use it in cooking and baking in place of sugar can take some practice. Here are some tips to achieve success.

  • For baking, start with recipes written specifically for honey instead of sugar.
  • For each cup of honey used to replace sugar, decrease the other recipe liquids by ¼ of a cup.
  • To make measuring and the pouring of honey easier, coat the inside of a measuring cup with a thin layer of cooking oil or water.
  • Honey is acidic (pH 3.70-4.20) and sugar is neutral (pH 7.0). To counteract the acidity of honey, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used in the recipe.
  • When substituting sugar with honey in baked foods, decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Honey tends to make the product brown (burn) at higher temperatures.

Sources: and


National Festival of Breads—a Recap

The 2019 National Festival of Breads is in the books! It was a great event with eight great contestants, many fun and educational speakers, and much more.

This year, there were two divisions, one for home bakers and one for food bloggers. The home baker division winner was RaChelle Hubsmith with her Chai Ube Rosette Rolls. The food blogger division winner was Merry Graham with her Blackberry Ginger Speculaas Danish Wreath.

All eight recipes are now available at

Fire up your ovens and bake!

Many more recipes are available at


What is Osmotolerant Yeast?

There are several types of yeast to use when making a tasty yeast bread. One that is available to professional bakers is a special strain of yeast that requires less water to do its job. Some yeast bread recipes are high in sugar, low in moisture, and can take longer to rise. The sugar will trap the water which makes it unavailable for the yeast to use.

A special strain of instant yeast, called “osmotolerant,” can help. Osmosis is the phenomenon that helps move water through the cell walls of yeast. In a rich sweet dough, the yeast competes for protein, starch, and sugar to get any water it can. Osmotolerant yeast resists this competition to get to the water and help dough to rise. When compared to active dry yeast, these doughs will use less osmotolerant yeast to get good results.

Source: Understanding Baking, 3rd edition, Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees



Mixing Matters

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, October, 2018

How ingredients are mixed together can make or break a successful outcome when baking. Directions are given to combine certain ingredients and should be followed. For example, in making a layer cake, there are two methods, the creaming and reverse-creaming techniques.

The creaming method starts by beating the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. The sugar crystals beat little air pockets into the fat. Then the wet and dry ingredients are added in a dry-wet-dry-wet-dry pattern to reduce gluten development and make a tender cake. During baking the air pockets made during creaming, leaven or lift the cake to give a light airy structure. The top typically has a slight dome.

The reverse-creaming method starts by mixing butter with all of the dry ingredients. The butter fat coats the flour particles making the flour waterproof. The liquid is added but only some flour proteins will get hydrated. This limits gluten development and increases tenderness. Without incorporating air, the cake will be a bit shorter, have a flatter top and will be quite tender. This is better for fancy, multiple layer cakes.


HBA Educator Award

Do you teach baking in a classroom or community program?  You may be eligible to WIN $1,000!

Each year the Home Baking Association awards outstanding educators in classrooms and communities who engage individuals, families and communities with the many educational benefits baking provides for personal, family or professional development.

Professionals or adult and youth leaders and volunteers who teach baking skills in classrooms, libraries, public or private organizations, community youth programs, families, and youth teaching peers or younger ages are all eligible.

Registration deadline is March 31, 2019!

Learn more and apply at