Clever and useful tips for your kitchen.
Yeast doughs need to be left in a warm, draught-free place to prove after kneading (known as the bulk prove), and usually again after shaping (known as the final prove). Proving is important as it ‘exercises’ the strands of gluten, making them stronger and helping to develop the structure of the bread. It also develops flavour. Yeast is active between 0.5°C–54.5°C but is at its happiest between 25°C–28°C.
This means, depending on the weather and the temperature of your kitchen, you may need to create a warm micro-environment to prove your dough, particularly on very cold days. There are a number of ways you can do this for the bulk and / or final prove stage:
- Pour some hot tap water into a saucepan and place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl over it, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl and replacing the hot water as it cools.
- Place dough in a covered bowl or container in your microwave and sit a jug of boiling water beside it (not touching the bowl though). Shut the door and leave to prove. You can also use a sealed styrofoam box with this method too.
- Turn just your pilot light on in your oven to heat your oven very gently. Place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl on the middle rack, close the door and leave to prove, making sure the temperature doesn't reach over 28-30°C.
- Place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl on a wooden board on top of a preheated oven.
- Place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl in a sunny windowsill or a spot outside in dappled sunlight (as long there is no draught).
When baking individual tarts place them on an oven tray before putting them in the oven, especially when using tins with a removable base. It will make it a whole lot easier and more efficient (and far less fiddly) when you need to take them from the oven to remove the blind baking beads and to add the filling.read less
Here’s why: read more
When whisking eggs for your baking it is always best to use the freshest eggs possible.
Eggs, when fresh, are acidic and this acidity means that the egg proteins are tightly knit. You can see this egg is fresh because the yolk is plump and round and the inner white is clearly defined and is holding onto the yolk tightly – an indication that those protein bonds are keeping it from spreading on the plate.
As an egg ages, it becomes more alkaline and the proteins start to pull away from each other, causing the yolk to lose it's form and the white to become thinner and more likely to spread on a plate when cracked.
So why is this important when whisking eggs? Less fresh eggs will whisk to a foam more quickly than fresher ones, and you’ll achieve a slightly greater volume, but the resulting foam will be less stable than one made with fresh eggs. A fresh-egg foam will be more stable thanks to the strong protein bonds and therefore more likely to holds its shape and retain the air you have incorporated through whisking.
Pic: @neelashearerread less