The sweet spot. It’s not always a single point – there’s a little bit of room just above, below, or to the sides, but it’s undeniably there.
No, I’m not talking about sports, or about sugar, but I am talking about baking. Yes, there are sweet spots in baking.
How do you know when your yeast bread has risen enough? How do you know when your batter is properly mixed, or when your shortening is properly creamed with the sugar? How do you know if you should add more water to dough? Or when your flaxseed gel is ready to use? How do you know when your baked goods are done?
These are just a few of the sweet spots in baking, and – as with all things – once you find the sweet spot, you will recognize it. Of course, the best way to get really good at the science of baking is to practice. I think of every baking project as a science project, but it’s actually a series of science experiments rolled into one larger science project – baking.
It also helps to have a really great recipe that not only gives you specific times for key steps, but the visual cues to go along with it. For example:
If your gluten-free yeast bread starts to develop tiny pock marks during proofing, you are just outside the sweet spot – get it into the oven, now! (and reduce the proofing time in the future).
Your flaxseed gel is ready to use when it is a gloppy consistency (like an egg). If you mix it in with while it’s still too wet you may not get the texture you want.
Jam (made on the stovetop) is done when you can draw a spoon through it and – for just an instant – it leaves a track in the pan.
Do you have a baking sweet spot you are trying to find? Leave a comment with your question and I will do my best to answer it.