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Techniques - Baking

DK Publishing logoDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks


Prepare and line a cake pan

Greasing, flouring, or lining your pan ensures that baked layers turn out cleanly and easily

Melt unsalted butter (unless your recipe states otherwise), and use a pastry brush to apply a thin, even layer over the bottom and sides of the pan, making sure to brush butter into the corners, if applicable.

Sprinkle a small amount of flour into the pan. Shake the pan so the flour coats the bottom, and rotate the pan to coat the sides. Turn the pan upside down and tap the center to remove the excess flour.

If using a paper liner, instead of flouring, place a fitted piece of parchment paper directly on the bottom of the greased pan.

Parchment Lining To create the liner, stand the pan on the parchment and draw around the base with a pencil. Cut out just inside the pencil line.

Make pastry

Pastry dough can be used directly after resting, stored for up to two days in a refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, or frozen

By hand

Mix 1 2/3 cups of unsalted, room temperature butter with 1 egg yolk and 11/2 tsp salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix 2 tsp sugar with 7tbsp whole milk, also at room temperature, then gradually stir it into the butter mixture.

Sift 4 cups pastry flour into a bowl, then gradually stir it into the butter. When all the flour is added, continue mixing with a wooden spoon, or gently combine the ingredients with your hands.

Dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Using the palm of your hand, lightly knead the pastry until it forms a soft, moist dough. (This recipe will make enough pastry for 4 tarts.)

Shape the dough into a ball (or balls), wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Allowing the gluten and flour to relax during chilling will prevent the dough from shrinking when in the hot oven.

In a food processor

Fit the metal blade into the food processor. Put the butter, salt, egg yolk, sugar, and milk into the processor bowl, and process until smooth. Sift the flour into a separate bowl, then add it to the food processor.

Using the pulse button, process the mixture until it just starts to come together and stop when the pastry has formed a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Blind bake a tart shell

Tart shells should be prebaked unfilled if they will contain moist fillings, such as custard, to prevent them from becoming soggy

Once the pastry is fitted in the pan, prick the bottom with a fork. This will allow trapped air to escape during baking. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Cut out a circle of parchment paper slightly larger than the pan. Fold the parchment in half 3 times to make a triangular shape, and clip the edges at regular intervals with scissors to ensure a close fit against the rim.

Place the parchment circle into the pan, and fill it with an even layer of dried beans or ceramic baking beans. Bake the shell in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the beans and parchment when cool enough to handle. Return the shell to the oven for another 5 minutes for partially baked, or 10–15 minutes for fully baked pastry. Cool on a wire rack.

Decorate pie crust

Before baking pies and tarts, remove excess pastry, and decorate the edges for a finished look


Roll the pastry out, then press it gently into the bottom of the tart pan and against the sides. Firmly roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim off the excess pastry.

Forked edge

Using a fork, press the dough to the rim of the pie plate. Repeat around the edge at even intervals.

Rope edge

Pinch the dough between the thumb and the knuckle of your index finger, then place your thumb in the groove left by the index finger, and pinch as before. Repeat around the edge.

Fluted edge

Push one index finger against the outside edge of the rim and pinch the pastry with the other index finger and thumb to form a ruffle. Repeat around the edge, leaving an even gap between each ruffle.

Make a pizza base

Rotating the dough when rolling it out is important in order to achieve a thin, even crust. See basic pizza dough recipe

Make a well in the center of the flour and add the liquid ingredients, gradually incorporating the flour to make a dough.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until smooth. Set the dough aside in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface. Working from the center outward, roll the dough into a circle, rotating it by one-quarter turn each time.

Carefully transfer the dough to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Pinch the edges with your thumb and index finger to make a shallow rim.

Mix and knead yeast dough

Dough should be well combined and kneaded to a silken and elastic finish

Place the flour, yeast, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and gradually add the liquid ingredients.

Using your fingers, mix the wet and dry ingredients together, digging into the bottom of the bowl, and pressing the dough between your fingers to make sure all the liquid has been incorporated into the flour. (Or use a spoon if you wish.) The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Leave to rest according to the recipe used.

Before starting to knead, wash and dry the bowl and oil the insides. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and fold it in half towards you.

Using the heel of your hand, gently, but firmly press down, and away through the center to stretch and knead the dough.

Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn. Repeat the folding, pressing, and rotating until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until dough has doubled in size, about an hour.

Return the dough to the floured surface and knead briefly to invigorate the dough. Shape the dough as directed.

Glaze pastry

Melted jelly, diluted egg, or chocolate can be brushed over pastry to produce a shiny finish

Fruit tarts

For fruit tarts, apply melted jelly or light caramel over the fruit in a baked tart to give it a lustrous appearance.


For turnovers, brush with an egg wash (1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp water, and a pinch of salt) before baking to give the turnovers a rich, golden color, and a glossy glaze.

Pie edges

Pie edges can be sealed and tops made glossy by being brushed before baking with an egg wash.

Baked tart

For a baked tart, thinly glaze the base of a baked tart shell with melted dark or white chocolate, and allow to set to stop the crust from softening once filled.

Make brioche dough

Since the dough is very sticky, use a standing electric mixer. See Brioche for ingredient quantities

Pour the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add instant dry yeast and superfine sugar. Mix on medium speed and gradually add half the eggs. Mix until smooth, then add the remaining eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

Once the dough is mixed and begins to come away from the edges of the bowl, add the salt and diced, unsalted butter (at room temperature). Continue mixing until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl again, and is silky in texture.

Transfer the dough to another large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to rise at warm room temperature for 2–3 hours, or until doubled in size. The risen dough will be very sticky.

On a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough. Return the dough to the bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in a refrigerator and let it rise for 2 hours or overnight. Deflate once more, then shape into balls and bake.

Make blinis

For serving with caviar or smoked fish, these yeasted pancakes are perfect little appetizers. For blini quantities and recipe, see Smoked Salmon Blinis

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Whisk in the milk and egg yolk. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white gently into the batter.

Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick pan. Spoon small disks of batter into the pan and cook, undisturbed, until the edges brown, and bubbles appear on the surface. Flip over, and cook for 2–3 minutes longer, or until golden. Remove from the pan, transfer to a plate, and cover. Repeat with remaining batter.

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