Baking Product Expiration Dates

Organic Valley unsalted butter.jpg


Expiration dates or ‘best by’ (aka shelf-life) for baking products, refers to the manufacturers’ recommended date for quality. This does not take into consideration the temperature or environment at which the product is stored.

Storage is a major factor affecting shelf-life.

If the product can be stored at room temperature, there is a wide range of possibilities including humidity levels. Cocoa, for example, if stored in an air-tight container in a dark area  below 70˚F/21˚C, can keep for many years.

Unbleached flour and whole wheat flour can be stored at room temperature, but refrigerating or freezing the flour will extend the shelf-life considerably. (Unbleached flour will gradually loose its gluten forming potential, while whole wheat flour will develop rancidity on improper storage).

If the product requires refrigeration and your refrigerator is opened often or runs more on the upper side of the recommended temperature range, it will shorten the shelf life. Freezers also vary greatly in temperature. Butter, for example, keeps well past the expiration date in a freezer that is -5˚F/-20˚C.

Oxidation is yet another factor in shelf-life and can be retarded by vacuum sealing products such as chocolate.

Contamination is also a factor in shelf life. Corn syrup, for example, can ferment if one dips a finger or spoon into the container.

When it comes to shelf-life, use your best judgment and taste buds and if there are any concerns, contact the manufacturer.

Paper Towels to Absorb a Cheesecake's Condensation

Have you baked a stunning cheese cheesecake, let it cool, used plastic wrap to seal over the top of the pan, and then refrigerated it, only to discover the next day that your cheesecake is now blemished with water splatters on its top?

We have experienced this on more than one occasion.  A solution, which we included in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes and The Baking Bible, is to use  paper towels and a large dinner plate.

The technique:                                                                                                                                      1. Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, drape two paper towels in crisscross pattern or folded together (as pictured) over the rim of the pan, with their curved sides up.          2. Place an inverted plate larger than the cheesecake’s rim to secure the paper towels from drooping onto the cake.                                                                                                                        3. Before serving, carefully lift off the plate, and then the paper towels.

We found that the paper towels absorbed up to 3 grams of water with a damp feel to them, and water droplets on the inverted plate.

What is the meniscus

meniscus |məˈniskəs|

noun (pl. menisci |-kē, -kī| or meniscuses)

Physics  the curved upper surface of a liquid in a tube.

A cup of water, measures 8 fluid ounces, but does not weigh 8 ounces. Look up water in the dictionary. It defines one fluid 8 ounce cup of water as 236.6 grams (8.3 ounces weighed). The volume reading should be taken at eye level and the meniscus--the clear space at the very top--should be above the measuring cup’s marked line.

If one mistakenly measures with the top of the line level with the cup’s, one can be short as much as one tablespoon. Shown below at 223 grams.

(Incidentally, liquid measures are not designed to measure solids such as sugar and flour which need measuring cups with unbroken rims on which to level off the ingredient.)

Capping Your Angel Food or Bundt Pan 12/1/17

 We all have done it, and we all have strategies for not dropping cake batters down the center tube of an angel food or bundt pan. A solution that has worked for us is to "cap" the center tube's opening. We have tried 3 different ways. 

Our favorite, as pictured, is to "cap" the opening with a small piece of plastic wrap and wrap it around the center tube about a half inch down the tube to hold it in place.

A small circle of aluminum foil folded over the center tube or a bottle cap that sits snugly on top work too. Both of these may dislodge.

Remember to remove your "cap" before popping your cake into the oven. 



foil "cap" on bundt pan for making orange splendor butter cake

foil "cap" on bundt pan for making orange splendor butter cake