Cranberries

 

Cranberries– Cranberries make their debut in late October through December and then virtually disappear. Like the blueberry, I like to stock up during their peak season and then store them in the freezer so I can enjoy them year round.

Cranberries freeze especially well, they hold their shape nicely and are basically unaffected by the deep freeze.
Unlike the blueberry though, as I explained above, it is not necessary to freeze for any other purpose except to ensure its availability year round.

Your cranberries do not burst upon handling nor will they discolor your recipes of scones or muffins simply from mixing them in.

You can interchange fresh and frozen in a recipe though just the same.
1-12 ounce (340 grams) bag = 3 cups whole
Cranberry- 1 cup= 112g

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Eggs

 

Eggs- Egg sizes ranges from jumbo, extra large, large, medium, and small.

In baking I always use Large Eggs, but for a more consistent end result you are wise to weigh your eggs in a recipe.

In baking it is best to use eggs that are at room temperature. To do this quickly you can simply submerge your eggs (IN THE SHELL) in very warm-hot water for about 20 minutes.

When deciding to use a white shelled egg or a brown shelled egg, there is no difference in the egg yolk and white inside. The color of the shell is determined by the breed of the hen.

In the USA eggs must be refrigerated and will be good for up to one month.

A quick test to see if your egg has spoiled, place it (in the shell) in some salted water- if it floats, it’s gone bad.

To store unused egg whites, I find the best way is to keep each one in an ice cube tray. Once frozen you can store each “cube” in a Ziploc bag for up to 2 months

Egg yolks are not that easy. The gelation property of egg yolk causes it to thicken or gel when frozen, so you need to give yolks special treatment. If you freeze them as they are, egg yolks will eventually become so gelatinous that they will be almost impossible to use in a recipe. To help retard this gelation, beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar or corn syrup per 1/4 cup of egg yolks (about 4 yolks). Then freeze in a container labeled with how many yolks are inside.
1 Large Egg- 50g
1 Egg Yolk- 18g
1 Egg White- 30g

If you’re an American, you probably store eggs in the refrigerator. Yet, the US is one of the only countries where chicken eggs are kept refrigerated. In much of Europe, eggs are often stored right on the counter, at room temperature.

This is because most eggs from U.S. supermarkets must be refrigerated due to their lack of protective cuticle, likelihood of contaminant exposure and need for longer shelf life. This lack of protective cuticle is a result of egg-washing which is banned in most of Europe.

To read more about eggs produced in the USA and speak out against Factory Farming CLICK HERE
Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/doctor.health Dr. Mercola

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Flour

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Flour- Here I am talking specifically about wheat flour. Now of course there are many other types of flours such as nut flours and flours ground from seeds. Some types of flours available are: barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, oats, potato, rice, rye, and soy.

But here in my recipes I use only a few of the main wheat flours: All Purpose, Cake Flour, Bread Flour, Pastry Flour and at times, Whole Wheat Flour.

A whole grain of wheat, sometimes called a wheat berry, is composed of three layers:
The bran
The germ
The endosperm

The bran is the layer where you’ll find most of the fiber, and it’s the hard outer shell of the kernel. The germ is the nutrient-rich embryo that will sprout into a new wheat plant. The endosperm is the largest part of the grain (83 percent), making up most of the kernel, and it’s mostly starch.

White flour is made from the endosperm only, whereas whole-wheat flour combines all three parts of the wheat berry.

All-purpose flourhas a 10-12% protein content and is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. They can be bleached or unbleached. And whether it is bleached or not, it is interchangeable in your recipe without much difference. You will notice I use AP flour a lot in cake recipes that I find need more strength and structure. Good for making cakes, cookies, breads, and pastries.

What’s the deal with Bleaching?
Why do they do it?
Flour needs age to soften it so it can be used for baking and cooking. Unbleached flour will age naturally in a few months but bleaching the flour makes it ready within weeks. Time is money, and it is cost effective for a big company to keep product moving rather than tying up warehouse space, being vulnerable to critters and bugs over months rather than weeks. So bleaching the flour accelerates the natural aging of the flour.
Bleached flour has less protein than unbleached. Bleached is best for pie crusts, cookies, cakes, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. Use unbleached flour for yeast breads, Danish pastry, puff pastry, strudel, éclairs & cream puffs.

Cake flour generally has 7% – 8.5% protein. It is beached so therefore weakens the proteins and results in a more delicate flour, in turn offering more delicate products like chiffon and angel food cakes.
** To make your own version of a softer Cake Style Flour: Measure out 1 cup (125g) of all purpose or plain flour. TAKE OUT 2 Tablespoons (15g) and return it to the bin. Next add 2 Tablespoons of Corn Starch (15g).

Sift this mixture 2 times through a fine mesh sieve and you now have 1 Cup of Cake Flour to use in recipes calling for such.
For those weighing your recipes- 110g All Purpose or Plain Flour + 15g Cornstarch

Pastry flour contains 8.5% – 9.5% protein. It is used in delicate cakes and pastries, pie crusts, cookies and muffins. Absorbs less liquid in recipes. It is from soft red winter or soft white winter wheat for use in biscuits, pancakes, pie crusts, cookies, muffins and brownies.

Bread flour has a 12-14% protein content and is made from hard wheat flour. The high gluten gives it shape and structure. Good for making breads and some pastries.

Self-Rising flour has 8-9% protein and contains soft flour similar to a cake or pastry flour plus baking powder and salt. I do not use this type of flour.
Note: If you do choose to use self rise flour you run the risk of it being stored too long both in the market and in your own pantry, causing the baking powder to lose its power and your baked goods will not rise. * I do not use self rising flour and I do not recommend you use it in my recipes.  However, many of you will insist, and so if you DO use it here please note that you may not get the exact result that my recipes are intended to come out as.  Self rising flour has approximately 1 –  1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and roughly 1/4 teaspoon of salt  and per 1 cup of flour.  So if you decide to use self rise in place of my specified ingredients, please adjust the baking powder and salt accordingly.

Whole Wheat Flour– protein levels are higher for whole wheat flour than white flour, but about 3 to 4 points of that percentage is in the germ and the bran, so it doesn’t add to the dough strength. Whole wheat flour is brown in color, and is derived from the complete wheat kernel (the bran and germ). When used in bread baking, it gives a nutty flavor and a denser texture when compared to all-purpose flour. Bread does not rise as high in whole-wheat breads, which is why a mixture of both whole-wheat and white flour is often used when baking.

*Many people ask if they can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour in recipes and the answer is not exactly 100%. Wheat flour is heavier and more dense than all white flour and will absorb alot more liquid than white flours. So while it is always a better idea to stick to the recipes as they are written, if you do decide to give it a go, reduce the total flour amount by ¼. For example if the recipe calls for 1 cup of white flour, you will use ¾ cup of wheat flour

1 cup AP flour= 125g
1 cup Bread Flour= 130g
1 cup Pastry and Cake Flour = 120g
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour= 130g

A NOTE ON FLOUR IN THE UK:

In the UK self raising flour is called self raising flour. It consists of flour, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and cream of tartar. It can have other ingredients to improve the carbon dioxide eg tartaric acid, calcium phosphate, no salt!!! It is genrally called baking powder. It is heavier than cake flour.
Plain flour has no leavening = All Purpose, is heavier than cake flour

Cake flour plain = Extra fine flour 00 grade without leavening, either made by McDougals or Home Pride
Cake flour self raising = Extra fine 00 grade with leavening also made by McDougals/ Home Pride
Extra fine 000 grade used for making sauces, custards, gravy
dusting fish for frying. Looks almost like corn flour/corn starch

Quickest acting baking powder in the UK is Dr Oekter which is activated when wet even at room temperature.
In the USA Rumford’s baking powder contains calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate and corn starch which is an anti caking agent.

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Heavy Cream

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Heavy Cream – Also known as Heavy Whipping Cream. Due to the fat content of 36-40%
Not to be confused with plain Whipping Cream or All Purpose  which only has a fat content of 30%
So the best for making Whipped Cream for icing cake, piping and decorations is the Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream.

You can go for the regular Whipping Cream or All Purpose Cream for recipes such as Caramel Sauce or for making Ganache.
Cream – 1 cup (8fl oz) (240 ml) = 232 grams

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Molasses

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Molasses– To make molasses, the sugar cane plant is harvested and it’s juice is extracted by crushing or mashing. The juice is boiled to concentrate it, which promotes the crystallization of the sugar.

The result of this first boiling is first molasses, which has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the source.

Second molasses is created from a second boiling and sugar extraction, and has a slight bitter tinge to its taste.

The more boiling you have, the less sweet molasses becomes until you get down to three or more boilings. By this time, the molasses known as “blackstrap” has almost no sweetness, but the highest nutritional value.

In baking we rely on molasses because it adds a lot of brown sugar flavor without making a recipe too sweet.

Molasses attracts moisture so your recipes that call for it, will tend to stay moist for longer periods of time.

Molasses can be sulphured or unsulphured. In the past sulphur was added as a preservative and to kill unwanted bacteria although it is uncommon now.

Molasses: 1 cup (liquid measure) = 9 ounces = 260 grams

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Nuts

Nuts– I mainly use almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts in my recipes.
As you may know Woodland Bakery is PEANUT FREE which actually happens to not be a nut at all, it is a legume, so therefore I will not include it in this discussion for both reasons.
Technically, acorns, chestnuts and hazelnuts are the only “true” nuts by definition.
Almonds, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios and walnuts are “seeds”.
In baking, whenever nuts are used in a recipe it is almost always desirable to toast them to bring out their flavors and also gives them a bit of a crunch.
Unless otherwise specified in the recipe, it is nice to roast the nuts. In a single layer on a sheet pan at a low oven temperature of about 300 degrees F for anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the nut and the degree to which you want it toasted. Always cool the nuts before adding them to your recipe.
Almonds1 cup Whole = 140g / 1 cup slivered = 120g / 1 cup sliced = 85g / 1 cup coarse chopped = 85g / 1 cup fine ground = 100g
Hazelnuts1 Cup Whole = 140g / 1 cup coarse chopped= 80g / 1 cup fine ground = 95g
Pecans1 cup halves = 100 grams / 1 cup coarse chopped = 110 grams / 1 cup fine ground = 75g
Walnuts1 cup halves = 100 grams / 1 cup coarse chopped = 110 grams / 1 cup fine ground = 75g

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