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Baking 101:
The Creaming Method

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Creaming is one of the most commonly used methods in baking. A tender cake or chewy cookie most likely has the creaming method to thank for its success. This method is a mechanical leavener in baking. In other words, by creaming something, a baker incorporates air into the dough while mixing to help make the cake or cookies rise, usually with the additional assistance of a chemical leavened such as baking soda or baking powder. You’ll bake with success if you follow this process:

Steps for the Creaming Method
Photo by Jonathan Boncek
Cream together butter and sugar. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.

STEP ONE
Cream together butter and sugar.

Mixing sugar into butter helps produce air bubbles that will expand during baking due to vaporization of liquid. This helps make the final product rise. The butter and sugar will lighten in color and expand in volume.

Notes

  • All ingredients should be at room temperature because the temperature of the batter or dough should be between 68 and 70 degrees for the best volume.
  • Creaming can be done by hand but will take a lot of elbow grease! A mixer works best (using the paddle attachment) because creaming can take as long as 8 to 10 minutes. Also, keep the mixer at a lower speed because a higher speed heats up the fat and loses volume.

STEP TWO
Add the eggs one at a time.

The eggs help stabilize the butter and sugar and create a more elastic structure for air bubbles so they will expand and not collapse when baking.

Note: Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. If too many eggs are added at once, the emulisification in the batter breaks down causing it to break, and again you will loose volume.

STEP THREE
Add dry ingredients.

Sifting-Dry-Ingredients_JonathanBoncek-900x450
Add dry ingredients. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.

The flour is a stabilizer and helps add more structure to the batter or dough.

Notes

  • Sift together any dry ingredients and incorporate. Sifting mixes the ingredients like flour and leaveners (such as baking soda or baking powder), removes any clumps and also aerates the dry ingredients.
  • If a liquid such as milk is being added to the batter, add ⅓ of the dry then ½ of the wet and repeat. This keeps too much liquid from being added at one time, which can make the batter break which will then cost you volume in your final product.
  • Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl several times in this process to insure all of the ingredients are being thoroughly incorporated.

Test Your Creaming Method

Strawberry Filled Cake with Fresh Strawberry Buttercream
Cowboy Christmas Cookies
Orange Ginger Poundcake
Linzer Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies
Apple Cider Poundcake with Cider Caramel Sauce

Mentioned in this post:
Jonathan Boncek