You Asked It!

Tag: Baking

Where’s the Yeast?

Kneading Dough - Canva.comInstant bakers are now in about every home kitchen. That has created a demand for certain ingredients, including yeast. Manufacturers are working hard to replenish the supply. But, buyer beware!

There are reports that bulk packages of yeast are divided into smaller quantities, repackaged, and then sold online or in stores. This is inappropriate and unacceptable.

Yeast is a living organism and when repackaged, that can compromise the yeast and the shelf life. And, once out of the original package, the shelf life is only 3-5 days. These repackaged products are being sold at very high prices, which is unethical.

What can the consumer do? Be patient, store shelves will get restocked. Call your store to find out when new supplies will arrive. Some stores may also carry fresh cake yeast, usually in the refrigerated dairy section.

Source: Red Star Yeast Facebook page, https://redstaryeast.com/contact/

 

What is a Dough Conditioner?

When making yeast bread, sometimes the dough just needs a little boost. One method to do that is adding a dough conditioner or dough improver.

These ingredients look like flour, but are not. They help improve gluten development to give higher volume and finer texture. Commercial bakeries use them because of the automated equipment which can be hard on bread dough. They are also added to frozen dough to withstand the damage ice crystals impart on gluten structure. Using dough conditioners can shorten mixing time and speed up fermentation.

Examples of dough conditioners include vital wheat gluten, amylase enzymes, ascorbic acid, and emulsifiers.

Source: How Baking Works, by Paula Figoni

 

Practice Now for the Fair!

Whether or not county fairs happen this summer, take advantage of this time to practice baking for the fair!

While there are millions of recipes to try, not all recipes are safe for the fair. Research now so it is not a last minute decision. Practice recipes to learn how they bake with your equipment and in your home oven.

That practice can also help improve measuring, mixing and shaping skills. Take notes to help you remember what worked well, along with what didn’t work. Another idea is to video yourself so you can see your progress.

Use fresh ingredients. Leavening agents, such as baking powder, baking soda, and yeast, can expire and loose their leavening action. Whole grain flour and fats can become rancid if not stored properly. Old spices will not produce optimum flavors.

If you made a great product, freeze it! Cool it completely, double wrap and freeze. This works best up to four weeks prior to the fair.

Source: Home Baking Association

 

Virtual Baking Instruction

It seems that flour is flying off of grocery store shelves these days! Baking is a great way to incorporate STEM education during these days of online education and school at home.

To help in this endeavor, the Home Baking Association has a vast list of resources at the click of your computer mouse. Resources are grouped by age category including Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary ages.

The Home Baking Association strives to teach essential living skills while connecting with agricultural and food science, retail baking, milling and baking engineering and technology.

Learn more at www.homebaking.org/distance-learning/.

Many recipes can be found at www.homebaking.org/recipes/

2020 HBA Educator Award Contest

Do you teach baking in a classroom or community program?  Enter a baking lesson or baking activity to be eligible to win $1,000 and a trip for two to the 2020 Home Baking Association Annual Meeting.   Whether you teach in the classroom, community programs, organizations, or at home, anyone teaching baking to others is encouraged to enter. All entrants will receive teaching resources.

Entry deadline is March 31, 2020!

Learn more and how to apply for this award at www.homebaking.org/educator-award/.

 

Feeding Your Future

Do you know a high school student interested in grain science education in college?

Sign up now for a FREE, hands-on Feeding Your Future Discovery Day to learn about different areas of grain science including baking, feed and milling science.

This event will be held Saturday, February 8, 2020 on the K-State campus. Current students will lead you through the program with the help of faculty and staff. Explore labs, milling facilities, and compete in a judging competition.

Register now! Contact Brenda Heptig for more information at bheptig@ksu.edu or 785-532-4051.

 

Hudson Cream Flour Festival

Like to bake? Like to enter a fun competition? Then this event is for you!

The Hudson Cream Flour Festival is set for Saturday, March 28, 2020 in Hudson, KS. There will be a baking contest, other contests, kids activities, tasty food, and more all centered around wheat.

The baking contest will have adult and youth divisions. This is a great event to start trying recipes to enter into your local county fair.

Follow updates on the Hudson Cream Flour Facebook page.

The Stafford County Flour Mill in Hudson, KS has been milling flour for over 100 years!

 

Apples and Baking

Apples are a popular fruit for baking tasty treats. But not all apples a suitable for baking. Some are better for a healthy snack. With so many varieties, which ones are best for baking?

Tart, firm flesh varieties are best for baking. Some examples include Braeburn, Cortland, Honey Gold, Honey Crisp, Jonathan, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Haralson and Newtown Pippin. Mix together different varieties for a well rounded flavor and texture.

When baking a double crust pie with fresh apples, it is best to slightly pre-cook the apples before putting them in the pie crust. This helps the apples cook completely and helps the top crust to stick with the apples when they shrink. This prevents a large gap between the top crust and apples.

For more information about different apple varieties, see https://extension.wsu.edu/maritimefruit/apple-varieties-for-cooking-baking-cider/ and https://bestapples.com/varieties-information/varieties/

 

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!