ASK Blaise the Baker 02/17/15

Happy Tuesday! Hope your week is going well. Here in Indiana it is a HIGH of a whole EIGHT degrees! If you are reading this from one of the places in the US being hit with this terrible cold wave – stay safe and warm!

I have been getting a lot of “ASK Blaise the Baker” questions, so I am answering them here…

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Q: Where can I find all of your “Chew This” column features and recipes?

A: You can find them in a number of places. I pin them on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/blaisethebaker), as well as here on my blog (search “Chew This” in my search box) – OR you can check them out on “The Courier-Times” website here – http://www.thecouriertimes.com/search/?t=article&nsa=eedition&q=blaise+doubman

Q: How much salt is in a stick of salted butter?

A: There is roughly 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a stick of salted butter. It really depends on the brand and quality of butter you use – but this is a rough idea. I use “Land O’Lakes” butter most of the time – but I also use different butters from across Europe.

Q: Why do you recommend your cookie dough be refrigerated overnight before baking?

A: I find that it really helps develop the flavor for a more flavorful cookie.

Q: What is your exercise routine? Do you have one?

A: I get this question a LOT – and I am not really sure how to answer it. I do not really have an exercise “routine”. I just try and move more if I eat more. I probably SHOULD have some kind of “routine” put in place, but I do not. I also try and remember – everything in moderation – and that includes moderation! 

Q: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?

A: Baking SODA is known as “sodium bicarbonate” and contains one ingredient – itself. It creates gas that helps baked goods rise. Baking POWDER is actually a mixture of baking soda, acid and cornstarch. It is all very scientific – which can be boring – so there is a difference – use what the recipe lists.

Q: Do you always sift your flour?

A: Actually – no. I know everyone recommends it (some recipes are very specific about sifting the flour) but unless I am making delicate types of pastries – I never sift the flour. I just “fluff” up the flour with my measuring cup before measuring. Oh – and when I have all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, I use a whisk and whisk the dry ingredients some – this has the same effect as sifting.

Q: How many cookbooks do you have?

A: Too many to count. If I were to guess though, the number would be well into the thousands.

Q: How do you melt chocolate for a recipe?

A: There are a LOT of ways to melt chocolate, temper chocolate, with a thermometer, without a thermometer, in a pan, on the stove, in a water bath, over simmering water – A LOT OF WAYS! But the easiest way and the way I ALWAYS do it – is in the microwave. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and place it on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir, and return to microwave for 15 seconds – and stir – and repeat until melted perfectly. Use as desired. Sometimes I add a bit of solid vegetable shortening to the chocolate before melting. 

Have a question for me? Email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com and watch here for more answers.

Thanks for asking!

Blaise

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