Hi Everyone ! Thanks for the interesting questions. We have answered them to the best of our knowledge.
1. QUESTION: What could be the alternative to eggs in baking ?
ANSWER: This is a great article for substituting eggs in baking based on what you are baking: http://chefinyou.com/egg-
We have personally tried:
1) Bananas (½ pureed Banana, about 1/4 cup = 1 egg).
Though this will bind your mould and make your cake moist it will impart a banana flavour to your recipe. So, use it for banana muffins and banana cakes.
2) Buttermilk (1/2 cup buttermilk =1 egg)
This will make your cake moist.
3) Vinegar and baking powder
Mix 1 tbsp of white vinegar with 1 tbsp of water and add to it- 1 tsp baking powder. Stir till its blended well. Use this as an egg substitute for your recipe. WORKS only for recipes that call for more than one egg. This also imparts a slightly salty taste to your recipe.
2. QUESTION: Please share a good recipe for fondant and gum paste.
ANSWER: Make your own Fondant:
500 gms icing sugar
1/2 tbsp gelatin
Glycerine- 1/2 tbsp
Liquid glucose 1/4 cup
Keep a little vegetable oil handy to grease your hands while kneading your dough
1) Soak gelatin in water for ten minutes
2) Sift icing sugar in a bowl
3) Dissolve gelatin in warm water and add to it liquid glucose and glycerine
4) Add the gelatin mix to the icing sugar
5) Mix the dough with fingertips until you reach a soft ball stage. Use the oil on your fingertips to help avoid the dough sticking to your fingers
6) Knead the mixture into a smooth dough
7) At this stage you can add colours/flavours to create your own choice of fondant
8) Wrap into cling film and put in a zip lock to avoid drying
If you want to make GUMPASTE (Also called sugar paste or candy clay)
- Use CMC powder (also known as tylose) – ADD 1/2 tbs of this when you add icing sugar and then follow the same steps as mentioned above
3. QUESTION: Sometimes my cakes don’t rise. What could be the problem?
ANSWER: There are several things that can cause this to happen:
Using old or expired baking powder or soda. Check their potency by:
BAKING SODA- put a few tbsp of vinegar and add a tsp of baking soda to it – it should bubble furiously.
BAKING POWDER- put a tsp in some warm water it should make a fizzing noise
Using the wrong sized baking tin for your batter can lead to a cake sinking or not rising well.
Creaming sugar and butter (until its fully blended and almost fluffy white) & aerating your mixture well helps a cake rise.
Your oven may not be hot enough (solution- always pre-heat and use an oven thermometer – these help measure temperature very accurately)
Measure your ingredients accurately- too little liquid and too much flour can make your cake dense which may cause rising issues
4. QUESTION: Are food colours safe?
ANSWER: In baking it’s best to use natural ingredients- they taste best and are safe. However, that said, customers often wish for something more decorative and fun and therefore the need to use artificial ingredients like essences or colours arises. There is nothing wrong in using them; just ensure you are using good tested quality brands (e.g. Wilton). Also, do not overuse when serving to children as it could cause allergies. There are some herbal colours available abroad or try using chocolate to make decorations – it’s safe to use and adds decor and colour.
5. QUESTION: Do you ever use artificial flavours? How can I get natural flavours come out strong?
ANSWER: Yes! We do sometimes use essences when natural ingredients are not available but in general we prefer using extracts ( made from natural ingredients) when available. To help natural flavours come out stronger:
- Always use very high quality ingredients- e.g. very good apples for apple cake/ripe bananas/fresh almonds
- Use good, tested essence brands if you are using artificial colour
- Use high potency of the ingredient you want to infuse – E.g. if you are making a cake with coffee in it and your recipe calls for making coffee in warm water. Add very, good quality strong coffee or double the amount of coffee (till it tastes strong but not bitter). When mixed with other ingredients and stored over a day the flavour improves dramatically.
6. QUESTION: What is tempering? Is there a particular method and temperature for it?
ANSWER: Being a chocolatier tempering is the first thing we learnt in chocolate making. Tempering is a huge topic and there is so much research on it. Putting it in two lines is difficult – but, we will try our best.
The objective of tempering or pre-crystallizing is to set the cocoa butter and suspended dry ingredients (cocoa solids, sugar, milk powder, etc) in the most stable form – known in the industry as V form.
This produces the characteristic “snap” when you bite into it and a shiny (moulded chocolate) or satin (enrobed centres) finish. Well-tempered chocolate is also resistant to developing chocolate bloom (sugar/ fat bloom – leaving a greyish finish on your chocolate- this does not affect taste too much but does affect appearance. However, your chocolate is safe to eat.
METHOD FOR TEMPERING AND SPECIFIC TEMPERATURES
- Temperature- I learnt the hard way – but always check on the couverture chocolate manufacturer’s pack you are using. It mentions the suggested temperature curve.
SEEDING METHOD- Easier and Cleaner way
1) For 1 kilo chocolate – Melt 80% chocolate and reserve 20% seed (tempered chocolate- as sent to you in your manufacturers pack- however, please ensure it is not melted / stored/ transported to you in very high, heat conditions- in this case the pellets won’t work as seed, since they will be unstable)
- Melt your chocolate to 40-46 degree Celsius to melt all stable beta crystals in the chocolate
- Once melted add 20 % reserved seed slowly to your melted chocolate
- Stir vigorously
- Once the chocolate cools and reaches (29- 30 degree Celcius for Dark and 28-29 degree Celsius for milk/white) – stop!
- Heat and bring the temperature of the chocolate up to 31-32 degree for Dark and 30-31 degree Celsius for Milk/White
- This is stable temperature for your chocolate
- At this point test your chocolate at an ambient room temperature of 18-20 degree Celsius on acetate sheet. It should start setting in 2-5 minutes. If your chocolate sets without streaks – it is now tempered and ready to use.
- Remove lumps by using a hand blender
- For 1 kilo chocolate
- Melt your 1 kilo of chocolate up to 40-46 degree Celsius to melt all stable beta crystals in the chocolate
- Take about 80 % of the melted chocolate and spread it on a cool, clean marble slab
- Agitate your chocolate by moving it around and cooling the temperature to (29- 30 degree for Dark and 28-29 degree Celsius for milk/white) – stop!
- Now take this chocolate and add it to your reserve warm chocolate
- Stir well and raise the temperature back up to 31-32 degree for Dark and 30-31 degree Celsius for Milk/White
- This is stable temperature for your chocolate
- At this point test your chocolate at an ambient room temperature of 18-20 degree Celsius on acetate sheet. It should start setting in 2-5 minutes. If your chocolate sets without streaks – it is now tempered & ready to use.
7. QUESTION: I’m starting a small venture. What are the must-haves for me?
- A good business plan
- Competition analysis
- Why you are different? & stick to it
- Your suppliers’ contacts and information (very important in India)
- Finances and cash in hand for 6 months of your business
- A good festive season marketing strategy (your peak season)
- Good and very well tested recipes
- Learn from experience of others in the field – You will never know about power failures, workers taking leave on important days, not finding your supplies from your trusted suppliers when you need it most (therefore you need more contacts).
- Lots of PASSION & HARD WORK and most of all enjoy what you do!
8. QUESTION: How can I make my own sprinkles?
We have never tried to. Being a business it is not operationally efficient to spend time making sprinkles. However, if you wish to try them at home – here is a famous food blogger who tells you how to : http://www.thekitchn.com/
9. QUESTION: What brand of cream and cream cheese do you use?
Being in confectionary business- one needs to maintain consistency in recipes. With the limited choices we have in India -we use and have been satisfied with:
- Amul Cream
- Philadelphia and Britannia cream cheese
10. QUESTION: I want to know what brand of chocolate tastes best while making chocolates.
ANSWER: Oh wow! Having had tasted and tested over 200 brands of chocolates in the world it’s hard to name few. Keeping in mind you are in India. Your choices are:
1) Couverture chocolate – Barry Callebaut (hands down for me is my favourite choice of chocolate taste wise and to work with). Other very good brands include- Valhrona & Puratos ( Belcolade)
2) Compound/ Confectioners
All answers were provided by Sinfully Yours – a Delhi based Home Bakery.
URL : http://www.sinfullyyours.in/