choosing apples look for well-colored, firm apples with a fresh smell,
never musty. Apples should be smooth and free of soft spots or
holes. When baking with apples using a blend of tart and sweet or
spicy and mild will give your baked goods added flavor, texture and
dimension. Apples can be baked, frittered, poached, saut?d,
Powder and Baking Soda
Both baking powder and baking soda are chemical
leavening agents that cause batters to rise when baked. The
leavener enlarges the bubbles which are already present in the batter
creaming of ingredients....
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Most of the blueberries sold in grocery stores are cultivated.
When choosing blueberries look for firm, plump, fragrant, dark blue
berries with a dusty white bloom. The white bloom is the
blueberry's natural protection against the sun and is a sign of
freshness. Always check the underside of the container for any wet
spots or staining. Discard any soft, moldy, or crushed
berries.....More on Blueberries
Butter is produced by churning cream until the fats
separate from the liquid (buttermilk) and the butter is in a semi-solid
state. In North America butter must contain at least 80 percent
butterfat, a maximum of 16% water and 2% milk solids....
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Chocolate is made from a blend of different types of cocoa beans.
The blends with higher amounts of Criollo and/or Triniatrio beans will
have a more aromatic and complex flavor.....
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Cocoa Butter Cocoa
Powder Couverture or Chocolate Coating
German Sweet Milk
Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet
This small, firm,
smooth-skinned, shiny red, round to oval-shaped berry is also known as
craneberry, bounceberry, bearberry, cowberry, or lingonberry.
The tartness of the cranberry make it one of the few berries never to be
eaten raw. They are used in both sweet and savory dishes, as
well as juices.......More on Cranberries
Cream is the fat that rises to the top of whole milk.
Heavy cream or heavy "whipping" cream, has 36 - 40% butterfat and when
whipped it holds its form and doubles in volume. Heavy cream is used for
filling and decorating pastries....
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Eggs, as well as flour, are the
structural ingredients in baking. Eggs provide leavening; add color,
texture, flavor and richness to the batter. They are very important in
helping to bind all the other ingredients together. Beaten eggs are a
leavening agent as they incorporate air into the batter, which will
expand in the oven and cause the cake to rise....
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When used in baking flour contributes
body and structure, texture and flavor to baked goods. The type of flour
used will ultimately affect the finished product. Flour contains protein
and when it comes in contact with water and heat it produces gluten,
which gives elasticity and strength to baked goods....
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When choosing lemons look for ones that
are fragrant with brightly colored oily yellow skin, no green spots or
blemishes, firm, plump, and heavy for their size. Avoid lemons
that have blemishes, soft spots, or are hard and wrinkled. If
removing the outer rind (zest) make sure you wash the lemon thoroughly
(soap and water is best) as some commercially sold lemons are sprayed
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Nuts are sold in various forms: shelled and unshelled;
raw, toasted, toasted and salted, smoked, candied and with various
flavorings. To toast the nuts, spread on a baking sheet and bake in a
350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for anywhere between 8-20 minutes....
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Also, information on
Brazil Nuts Cashews
Hazelnuts Macadamia Nuts
Pine nuts Pistachios
When choosing peaches
look for fragrant, smooth, firm and brightly-colored fruit that gives
slightly to gentle palm pressure. Avoid hard wrinkled peaches or
ones with soft spots, blemishes or green tinges (a sign that the fruit
was picked too early). The amount of red blush on a peach is a
sign of its variety, not its ripeness....
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choosing pumpkins look for ones that feel solid and are heavy for their
size, free of blemishes, cracks, and soft spots. In a cool, dry
place they should keep for about a month........More
When buying raspberries look for
fragrant, deeply colored, plump and juicy berries without the cores
attached. If the core is still attached the raspberry was picked
too early and the berry will be sour. Avoid berries that are soft
and mushy or have any bruises, black spots or mold. Always check
the underside of the container to make sure there are no squashed
berries or red stains................More
you find in markets today can be either field grown or hothouse grown.
Field grown rhubarb is identified by its bright rosy red and green
tinged stalks with green leaves and has a very pronounced tart flavor.
It is available from late winter to early summer. Hothouse
rhubarb, on the other hand, has pale pink to pale red stalks and yellow
green leaves. The stalks are not as tart as field grown but has
the advantage of being available year round..........More
When choosing strawberries look for fragrant, plump, firm, uniformly
sized, bright-red berries with no white or green "shoulders" at the stem
end. The green leaf-like cap or hull should still be attached and
not brown or wilted. There should be no soft spots, bruising or
mildew.... More on
When using sugar most people think of
it only as a sweetener. For example, adding a teaspoon to your
coffee or sprinkling a little over strawberries. But when sugar is
used in baking its role becomes more complex as it also adds volume,
tenderness, texture, color, and acts as a preservative....
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Vanilla, is the
fruit of a thick green orchid vine (v. planifolia) that grows wild on
the edge of the Mexican tropical forests. Pure vanilla, with its
wonderful aromatic flavor, is the most widely used flavoring in
pastries, confections, and other desserts. It is the second most
expensive spice in the world, after saffron. The three most common
types of vanilla pods (beans) are: Madagascar or Bourbon- Madagascar
vanilla pods, Mexican vanilla pods, and Tahitian vanilla pods.
Vanilla is sold in different forms: extract or essence, pods (beans),
powdered, or mixed with sugar called vanilla sugar.....More
Baker's yeast, like
baking powder and baking soda, is used to leavened baked goods (breads,
Danish pastries, brioche, croissants).
The difference between these two leaveners is that baking powder/soda
react chemically to produce the carbon dioxide that makes the baked
goods rise. Yeast, on the other hand, is a living organism and the
carbon dioxide it produces is the result of the yeast feeding on the
dough. The two forms of baker's yeast are; compressed cakes (also
called fresh yeast) and dehydrated granules (dry yeast)......More