The Science of Baking

The kitchen is full of mysteries. Many recipes call for the same ingredients, however, they make completely different things. Variations in amounts and preparation allow for some creative results. There are a few key ingredients that make baking seem like a magical experience. Take a look at how they can work for you.



Yeast is used to make breads and rolls. It is used to help the dough rise and double in size. Breads would be extremely dense without this important ingredient. Yeast is usually added to a recipe prior to anything else. The most common method of yeast use is to pre-soak the dry yeast in a bowl of warm water. It takes about 5 minutes for water to fully activate the yeast. The rest of the items are then added and left to rise in a warm spot. Yeast needs both water and heat to perform properly.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Baking powder and soda also add to the fluffy texture of baked goods. Cookies and cakes often call for these ingredients. It is easy to tell when it gets left out. Cakes made without these ingredients will be dense and flat, often sinking in middle. The sodium hydrogen carbonate in baking powder becomes carbon dioxide gas, causing cakes to fluff up. Take the time to read your recipe carefully. The two are often mixed up and are not always interchangeable.

Eggs and Oil

Eggs act as the glue of your baking project. Boxed baking mixes often call for eggs and oil. These items add the moisture necessary to keep the dry ingredients together. Too much moisture will not allow for the items to cook thoroughly, however. Exact measurements must be followed.

Egg whites are often substituted for health reasons. Many recipes offer alternate amount details for those that wish to pursue this option.  Improper moisture causes crumbling and destruction of the final product. These conversions help to maintain the stability of the product and are considered binding agents.


Flour is a staple product of baked goods. Sweets and breads, alike, depend on flour to shape the product. The structure and shape of baked items depend heavily on the flour. It is like the building blocks of your dessert. Flour acts a sponge, absorbing the wet ingredients. This is why mixing well is so important. If lumps of dry flour are left behind in the mix, the item bakes ineffectively. Dry patches of will be scattered throughout. Invest in a good mixture to help flour do its job.

Baking is the highlight of many celebrations. Understanding how ingredients work can help you to become a better chef. You learn to trust your instincts when a dough or batter does not have the right consistency. Simple reactions occur from many baking products. These reactions dictate the final result.

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