Thinking of baking a cake, but don’t have a plan for where to start? Do the butter need to be mixed with the sugar or kneaded? Should the eggs be added to the dough separately or at the same time? And why do I need to blind bake my shortbread before filling? In this guide, you’ll master the 29 biggest baking hurdles, and from now on, you’ll be able to bake any dough with ease. Stay tuned for answers to 29 frequently asked questions on how to make dough!
How long should I bake choux pastry in the pot?
In contrast to yeast dough, shortcrust dough or puff pastry, choux pastry is made hot in the pot. Bring butter to a boil with water and a pinch of salt until butter is melted. Then add flour and stir until it forms a dough dumpling that can be removed from the pot. This process is called burning off. The burning is not complete until a white layer has settled on the bottom of the pot.
Why won’t my choux pastry rise?
Before folding the eggs into your choux pastry, make sure to let it cool (lukewarm). Avoid mixing the eggs into the hot dough! Tip: Spray a baking tray with a little water. The steam will help the dough to rise.
Why is my choux pastry liquid?
If the choux pastry is too runny, you may not have brought the butter and water to a proper boil. Add the flour (all at once!) only after the two have combined. When the temperature is too low, the water cannot evaporate properly. So always work with proper heat.
Why my dough is too runny?
When your dough is too liquid, add some flour or cocoa. It is important to always work slowly. The dough is perfect when it is neither too liquid nor too firm – that is, when it is viscous. Follow the order of the ingredients when mixing. Mix butter with sugar until fluffy, add eggs one by one and fold in dry ingredients carefully.
My dough curdles – what should I do?
Marble cake, lemon cake, chocolate cake – whatever sponge cake you’re baking, your ingredients should always be the same temperature. Cream butter with sugar and beat in eggs one at a time (1 minute each!). To play it safe, stir in the egg yolks and whites separately.
In case your dough curdles, put the mixing bowl in a water bath and continue mixing. This will melt the fat and make it easier for it to combine with the eggs…
Why is my cake falling apart?
In the oven it looked so beautiful… We all know what it’s like: As soon as you take your cake out of the oven, it falls apart – suddenly, just like that. Why is that? Because you probably stirred too much air into your dough. Unlike yeast dough, a sponge dough should not be stirred too long. Beat butter with sugar until fluffy, add eggs one at a time, and – very important – fold in dry ingredients only until just a dough forms.
My cake is still raw – can I bake it again?
A little tip: Before you take your cake out of the oven, always test it with a chopstick. If some dough sticks to the skewer, return it to the oven. If the skewer is clean, take the cake out. But what if you took the cake out of the oven without testing it, and when you cut it, you realize that it’s still raw inside?
Well, now you have three options: You can either separate the baked-through parts from the raw ones and use them to form cake pops and/or rum balls. Alternatively, you can put the cake back in the oven. It’s very important to cover the cake with aluminum foil. Keep an eye on it. The third option is to carefully cut the cake into pieces and place them in the oven for 5-10 minutes. At this point, you can use the pieces to make crumbs.
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Use fresh yeast or dry yeast?
Cubes vs. sachets. Fresh yeast vs. dry yeast – Which is better? In all honesty, it makes little difference between using fresh yeast or dry yeast. You have to mix both types of yeast with lukewarm water or milk and mix them properly before letting them rest.
The advantage of using yeast from a sachet is its shelf life. In contrast to fresh yeast, dry yeast can be kept for a longer period of time and does not have to be processed within a few days. The rule of thumb is: For every 1 kg of flour, add 2 sachets of dry yeast or 1 cube of fresh yeast.
Is it always necessary to make a pre-dough? Should I always mix the yeast?
There is no yes and no answer to these questions. Using pre-dough does not make a yeast dough better or worse – it simply makes it different. Preparing your yeast dough with a pre-dough gives the pores a finer structure. If you leave out the pre-dough, your yeast dough will be less tender.
It depends on whether you use fresh yeast or dry yeast whether you have to mix the yeast. You can add dry yeast to the rest of the ingredients without mixing. The fresh yeast needs to be mixed with sugar and milk or water and left for 10 minutes.
Why should I knead my yeast dough?
Knead, knead and knead again – that’s the secret to fluffy, light yeast dough. As a general rule of thumb, knead until your wrists go limp – about 10-15 minutes. But why is that? Well, because the gluten strands in your dough will strengthen as a result of the kneading, building a framework for the many tiny glass bubbles. These bubbles are filled by the yeast and give your dough its elasticity.
Why do I have to let my dough rise? And for how long anyway?
Making a yeast dough is not magic. It is not possible to prepare a yeast dough quickly. Generally, a yeast dough has to rise twice. First, after you’ve kneaded it together, and then again before you put it in the oven – in other words, after you’ve shaped it.
These two steps often take 1.5 to 2 hours. It is important to always (with one small exception) let the yeast dough rise in a warm place, for example in your oven. For this purpose, preheat the oven to 40 °C, switch it off and place the dough in the oven with the door half open.
Why does my yeast dough need to rise overnight in the refrigerator?
Craving a French baguette? Or an Italian pizza? Well, then your yeast dough needs to go in the fridge overnight. “But then my yeast dough won’t rise at all – or will it?”
That’s how your yeast dough rises – just a little slower. While the pores become finer, the dough will be more elastic, and the flavor will be more intense. This means perfect Baguettes and pizzas for you. For know-it-alls: Leavening overnight in the refrigerator is called long leavening or cold leavening.
My yeast dough does not rise. What can I do?
You have kneaded your dough, allowed it to rise in a warm place and still it won’t rise? If so, there are several reasons for this. Perhaps you didn’t knead your dough long enough or you let it rise in a cold place. The yeast fungi also cannot tolerate heat. At temperatures above 40 °C, the fungi slowly start to die. Or maybe you added too much salt or fat to your yeast dough.
Something else that helps now is sugar. Just knead it into the dough, cover it and let it rise in a warm place. With a little luck, you’ll be able to enjoy a light and fluffy yeast dough after a few hours. Otherwise, there’s only one thing to do – remake it.
My yeast dough is much too sticky. What do I do now?
Is your yeast dough sticky and sticky and sticky? Well, then add some flour little by little. But beware: If you add too much flour to your dough, it will quickly become dry and firm.
Why doesn’t my sponge dough rise?
It is quite simple: beat the egg yolks with the sugar until foamy, then beat the egg whites until stiff and stir them in. Combine flour with starch and baking powder and fold in carefully – do not stir, never stir! It is very important to bake the dough immediately. Then you will get a light and airy sponge cake.
Why does my sponge cake dough collapse?
In the oven, it’s still light and airy, but when I take it out, it’s flat as a flounder. Why is that? Chances are, you didn’t bake your sponge cake all the way through. Simply leave it in the oven a few minutes longer and cover it with aluminum foil. This will prevent it from getting dry or brown. You should always bake your sponge cake at 200 °C top/bottom heat.
Why does my sponge cake roll break?
It has happened again – your sponge cake has cracked when you roll it up. Have you baked your sponge at convection and not at top/bottom heat? Or perhaps you left it in the oven too long. You should always keep an eye on the baking time and take your sponge cake out of the oven a few seconds too early instead of too late. The other possibility is that you didn’t let your sponge cool. Only after your sponge has cooled completely, spread it with cream and roll it up into a roll.
Why doesn’t my puff pastry rise?
There are many layers of puff pastry – 244 layers to be exact. When you roll out your dough too much, you press the individual layers together. The same thing happens if you cut your dough with a blunt knife. So always cut into pieces with a sharp knife. Please note: If you brush your puff pastry with an egg before baking, always make sure that the egg does not run to the edge of the pastry. If it does, the pastry will stick together and not rise properly during baking.
Small tip: always bake puff pastry in a hot (!) oven, wet the baking tray with a few splashes of water and do not open the oven in between.
Why puff pastry is still raw on the inside after baking?
Once again, always bake puff pastry in a hot oven. The dough puffs up during the baking process, the water in the butter layers evaporates and the individual dough layers rise. When the oven is not properly hot, the water cannot evaporate and will settle as condensation in the dough. The result: mushy dough at the core.
Why my puff pastry is too hard?
Puff pastry consists of flour, salt, water and butter – a lot of butter. Ratio of butter and flour is 1:1, so you want to save calories and you cut down on the amount of butter and flour? This is not a good idea! It will make your puff pastry hard and splintery. Therefore, always use as much butter as indicated in the recipe.
How do I pull my strudel dough through the back of my hand?
Well, it should be thin enough that you can read a newspaper through it. This is quite a challenge. Mainly because such a strudel dough tears quite fast. The only possibility is to pull it over the back of your hand. And how do you do that? Very simple!
Flatten the strudel dough on a floured work surface with the heel of your hand and roll it out thinly with a rolling pin. Raise the rolled out dough with both hands, pull it over the back of your hand and gently push the dough from the inside to the outside. In between, keep putting it down and starting over.
My strudel dough tears – what can I do?
All of a sudden, your dough is torn. It was just wafer-thin and now it’s nothing more than a shred of dough with holes in it. The most important rule: always make strudel dough calmly. It will take a few minutes to roll out your strudel dough and pull it over the back of your hand. Other than that, unfortunately, the only rule here is that practice makes perfect.
Egg White Mixture/Meringue
Why won’t my egg whites stiffen?
You beat and beat, but your egg whites just won’t stiffen? Perhaps your mixer and bowl aren’t grease-free. Or you slipped some yolk into the whites when separating the eggs. You should always add a pinch of salt or a few drops of lemon juice to the egg whites. Another option: Wipe the beaters with vinegar and then rinse them clear.
My dough is sticky – what to do?
Working quickly – that is the be-all and end-all for a buttery shortcrust pastry. You should process the ingredients – from the refrigerator – quickly. However, if your shortbread is still too sticky, add a little flour.
Why my dough sticks to my hands?
Dough sticks to dough. Which means you should keep wiping your hands clean of dough residue. And in between, dust with a little flour.
My dough crumbles – why?
Is your dough crumbly and dry? If so, it’s probably due to the fat. Make sure the butter is neither too hot nor too cold. Room temperature is optimal. Equally important is the ratio of flour, butter and sugar. As a general rule: 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter, 1 part sugar – in other words: 300 g flour, 200 g flour, 100 g sugar.
My dough crumbles when I roll it out – what should I do?
Mix the ingredients together and chill for at least 30 minutes – this will guarantee that nothing crumbles. Be careful that the butter does not melt between your hands or on the work surface. If this happens, refrigerate. To be on the safe side, add milk instead of water to your dough.
How do I roll out my shortcrust pastry thinly and evenly?
Rolling out shortcrust pastry sounds so easy, and so hard at the same time. It all comes down to a sturdy rolling pin. One good option is to use a rolling pin that has no handles. That makes it easier for you to roll out your dough thinly without a lot of pressure. It is important to always dust the rolling pin and work surface with flour. This keeps dough residue from sticking. Another thing that helps is to put a nylon stocking over your rolling pin or to roll out the dough between two layers of cling film.
Why do I have to blind bake my shortcrust pastry?
Blind baking means nothing more than pre-baking your dough. Would you like to fill your dough with cream or fruit? Then pre-bake your dough! In this way you strengthen the dough and prevent the bottom from becoming soft. The bottom of quiches, tartes and pies should be crisp and crumbly, not sticky and mushy.
After kneading the dough together, roll it out, place it in the pan, cover with baking paper and top with blind baking balls, dried lentils, peas or beans. Put in oven for 15 minutes and remove baking paper plus blind filling. In case your bottom gets only a cold filling, put bottom in the oven once more. This way it will be crispy and brown.
In this article of Gazettely, we tried to answer the complete list of question on how to make dough and different types of it. But if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below.