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Posted: 25 October 2013 07:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Lately my cakes are getting over-baked on the outside. I checked my oven with 3 oven thermometers. Two registered 350 and the other, 360.

Can I be preheating too long? I’m sure it takes me more than 20 minutes to get the cake in the oven. I would think the temp would remain constant regardless of the length of time it was on.

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Posted: 25 October 2013 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The amount of time of pre heating should not be a reason. It is the temp that matters. I never bake @ 350 but 325 and I use a heating core for the center. I test my cakes after 40 mins. If it needs more time I cover it w/ foil loosely and add a few more minutes. What is the size of your pan ?

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Posted: 25 October 2013 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Prettycake,

I baked 2 loaves of Vanilla Pound Cake by Chef Bo Frieberg. The pans are 8 1/2 x 4 1/2. The crumb is perfect but the outside looks almost charred. The recipe calls for about an hour. I checked at 50 and the center was mush. I baked them the full hour.

The oatmeal cake I baked yesterday was also darker than it should be but unaffected in its taste.

I emailed Chef Bo. He is very good about helping with his recipes. I asked him if I could cover the cakes loosely with foil. I also asked if these cakes can be frozen because I want to ship them.

Thank you, dear, so much!

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Posted: 26 October 2013 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Flour Girl - 25 October 2013 07:59 PM

Can I be preheating too long?

Part of the browning occurs because the walls of the oven get hot and will in turn emit infrared radiation that will aid in the browning of your baked goods. If you don’t preheat long enough, the walls don’t get as hot and so won’t radiate as much. So, in principle, the length of preheat can have an effect on the browning.

However, I do think the intent of the preheat is to get the walls of the oven the same temperature as the air, and the recipes count on this aid to browning. That being the case, I don’t think it’s possible to preheat too much unless the recipe was badly constructed.

My first thought is that 350 is too high for a loaf cake; the batter is too deep for the heat to penetrate to the interior very quickly. Like PrettyCake, I’d think 325 would be the better temperature.  Also, how close is the top of your cake to the top of the oven? Or the sides of the oven? I would consider lowering the rack. I also wonder if the top heating element is coming on during the baking process. While these other things can affect the darkness of the outside, I have a hard time thinking that they could cause almost-charring. The top element could.

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Posted: 26 October 2013 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Flour Girl - 25 October 2013 08:51 PM

Hi Prettycake,

I baked 2 loaves of Vanilla Pound Cake by Chef Bo Frieberg. The pans are 8 1/2 x 4 1/2. The crumb is perfect but the outside looks almost charred. The recipe calls for about an hour. I checked at 50 and the center was mush. I baked them the full hour.

The oatmeal cake I baked yesterday was also darker than it should be but unaffected in its taste.

I emailed Chef Bo. He is very good about helping with his recipes. I asked him if I could cover the cakes loosely with foil. I also asked if these cakes can be frozen because I want to ship them.

Thank you, dear, so much!

FLOUR GIRL:
  Good morning. I have this recipe, so I scrutinized it for your benefit. I will tell you “WHY” you sustained a baking disappointment.
I know WHY…. I do not think I know WHY. Consider the fact that your recipe contains a ton of sugar in it. More in weight than the weight of the flour. This is a condition known in prof circles as a “HI~RATIO CAKE FORMULA. It requires a ingredient that you do not have in your pantry….“EMULSIFIED SHORTENING”

Now then my friend, This is the reason why your cake browned excessively around the sides due to the CARMELIZATION EFFECT of the sugar. Also the sugar internally was not being melted because the flour could not absorb all this excessive sugar.

This is neither here nor there but this recipe will bake in a bundt pan because it has 4 sides the excessive amount of sugar will get melted, these pans have a reputation that they will bake out of balance recipes.

Flour Girl my friend, if you wish success reduce the sugar to 11, oz & add 2.5/3,oz of honey right after you cream the butter & sugar. Oh yes reduce temp to 325, degrees.

One other thought for you if you have a food proc or blender throw in the sugar & give it 3, 15, second twirls to reduce the sugar beads diameter so that it will melt easier.

I hope that you will use my fix. I then hope that you will then post your baking sucess with us.

I AM FINISHED NOW.

  Good luck & enjoy the weekend my friend.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 26 October 2013 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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CharlesT - 26 October 2013 12:31 AM
Flour Girl - 25 October 2013 07:59 PM

Can I be preheating too long?

Part of the browning occurs because the walls of the oven get hot and will in turn emit infrared radiation that will aid in the browning of your baked goods. If you don’t preheat long enough, the walls don’t get as hot and so won’t radiate as much. So, in principle, the length of preheat can have an effect on the browning.

However, I do think the intent of the preheat is to get the walls of the oven the same temperature as the air, and the recipes count on this aid to browning. That being the case, I don’t think it’s possible to preheat too much unless the recipe was badly constructed.

My first thought is that 350 is too high for a loaf cake; the batter is too deep for the heat to penetrate to the interior very quickly. Like PrettyCake, I’d think 325 would be the better temperature.  Also, how close is the top of your cake to the top of the oven? Or the sides of the oven? I would consider lowering the rack. I also wonder if the top heating element is coming on during the baking process. While these other things can affect the darkness of the outside, I have a hard time thinking that they could cause almost-charring. The top element could.

Hi Charles,

I remember we discussed preheating when I had an issue with Rose’s Cinnamon Apple loaf from TBB. You pointed out Roses’s note which I had over-looked. It warned of the importance of getting the oven hot to set the structure quickly.  Since then, I have been following your recommendation to not worry about the length of time should preheating be longer than 20 minutes. I have never had that issue since following your advice. Thank you.

This recipe is from a pastry text book. Chef Bo assumes the reader has a base of knowledge. He does not go into how long to beat or which speed to use, etc. I, of course, apply my base of knowledge which is what I have learned from Rose’s books and this forum. 

I made this recipe once before and it was perfect. The crumb was textbook and the crust put Sara Lee to shame. The difference this time is I did not halve his recipe.  The dozen eggs and pound of butter and pound of sugar was making my Pro 600 shake. Anything nearby caught bits of batter as it was flung from the mixing bowl. Still, the crumb is superb.

I wondered if I should lower the shelf. I only do that for Bundt cakes. I thought the height of the pan on a Bundt cake made lowering the shelf necessary. I never considered lowering the temperature because I had previously had perfect results and would expect the recipe from a baking professor to indicate that would be necessary.

I used two different pans. One was William Sonoma’s Gold Tone and the other was Chicago Metallic, which was darker. I never had to lower the temp using the CM before. In RHC Rose recommended the CM and mentioned the temperature did not have to be reduced. So I thought I was following instructions to the letter.

Everyone is still asleep in my house. As soon as they wake. I will post pictures of the cake.

Charles, thank you for your help. It’s means a lot to me.

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Posted: 26 October 2013 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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~FRESHKID - 26 October 2013 06:23 AM
Flour Girl - 25 October 2013 08:51 PM

Hi Prettycake,

I baked 2 loaves of Vanilla Pound Cake by Chef Bo Frieberg. The pans are 8 1/2 x 4 1/2. The crumb is perfect but the outside looks almost charred. The recipe calls for about an hour. I checked at 50 and the center was mush. I baked them the full hour.

The oatmeal cake I baked yesterday was also darker than it should be but unaffected in its taste.

I emailed Chef Bo. He is very good about helping with his recipes. I asked him if I could cover the cakes loosely with foil. I also asked if these cakes can be frozen because I want to ship them.

Thank you, dear, so much!

FLOUR GIRL:
  Good morning. I have this recipe, so I scrutinized it for your benefit. I will tell you “WHY” you sustained a baking disappointment.
I know WHY…. I do not think I know WHY. Consider the fact that your recipe contains a ton of sugar in it. More in weight than the weight of the flour. This is a condition known in prof circles as a “HI~RATIO CAKE FORMULA. It requires a ingredient that you do not have in your pantry….“EMULSIFIED SHORTENING”

Now then my friend, This is the reason why your cake browned excessively around the sides due to the CARMELIZATION EFFECT of the sugar. Also the sugar internally was not being melted because the flour could not absorb all this excessive sugar.

This is neither here nor there but this recipe will bake in a bundt pan because it has 4 sides the excessive amount of sugar will get melted, these pans have a reputation that they will bake out of balance recipes.

Flour Girl my friend, if you wish success reduce the sugar to 11, oz & add 2.5/3,oz of honey right after you cream the butter & sugar. Oh yes reduce temp to 325, degrees.

One other thought for you if you have a food proc or blender throw in the sugar & give it 3, 15, second twirls to reduce the sugar beads diameter so that it will melt easier.

I hope that you will use my fix. I then hope that you will then post your baking sucess with us.

I AM FINISHED NOW.

  Good luck & enjoy the weekend my friend.

  ~FRESHKID.

Good Morning FRESHKID,

I was thinking the same thing! That sure is a lot of sugar. The only thing is that this recipe worked for me previously. Perhaps, based on your reasoning, because of the volume (I made the complete recipe instead of halving the recipe as I had previously done) the ingredients were never fully incorporated. The recipe calls for the flour to be folded by hand. I broke my arm 4 months ago, have a prevailing soft tissue injury, and found folding that quantity of flour (14 oz) to be difficult for me. I still cannot open bottles or use can openers.

I need to get this recipe right. I am going to make it again this week.

Thank you, my friend!

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Posted: 26 October 2013 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Flour Girl - 26 October 2013 10:15 AM

I had previously had perfect results and would expect the recipe from a baking professor to indicate that would be necessary.

Agreed. Unless there is a typo, the recipe is probably fine. And as I pointed out, most of these issues would only result in some degree of overbrowning, not an almost charred exterior. But it is true that an item placed too close to the top can burn; I destroyed several roast chickens that way a few years ago. grin I don’t see an immediate causal relationship with the fact you didn’t halve the recipe.

But I still return to the idea the top coils are coming on. Some ovens, when preheating, use the top and bottom coils. Some ovens, too, have a “preheat” position on the knob and baking with it in that position would produce the problem you describe. I assume the almost-charring is mainly on the top?

Your pictures will be helpful.

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Posted: 26 October 2013 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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CharlesT - 26 October 2013 10:54 AM
Flour Girl - 26 October 2013 10:15 AM

I had previously had perfect results and would expect the recipe from a baking professor to indicate that would be necessary.

Agreed. Unless there is a typo, the recipe is probably fine. And as I pointed out, most of these issues would only result in some degree of overbrowning, not an almost charred exterior. But it is true that an item placed too close to the top can burn; I destroyed several roast chickens that way a few years ago. grin I don’t see an immediate causal relationship with the fact you didn’t halve the recipe.

But I still return to the idea the top coils are coming on. Some ovens, when preheating, use the top and bottom coils. Some ovens, too, have a “preheat” position on the knob and baking with it in that position would produce the problem you describe. I assume the almost-charring is mainly on the top?

Your pictures will be helpful.

Oh no! I can see that happening with chicken because of the fat. I once had a fire in the oven and burnt-out the element but that was when it was set to broil. For roast chicken I use Zuni Cafe’s Roast Chicken and Bread Salad. Have you ever tried it? I roast that on the lower third shelf in a cast iron skillet. Awesome!

I’m not sure if the top or bottom or both coils heat. The oven shares a broil function, which is always from the top. I will have to take note of which coils heat while baking. That is good information to know. Thank you!

Yes, charred is a stretch grin  I would call it overbrowned. Also, the cake is dry. As I cut into it I saw a little moist or rubbery spot at the apex. Rose talks of a rubbery band at the bottom when unbleached flour is used. This is not that. I wonder if it could be from insufficient incorporation of the flour??

Charles, I usually have no problem baking a recipe for two loaves. The problem in this situation is the vast quantity of ingredients which spilled out of the mixer. That has never happened before. I did mix it on number 4. I have recently begun mixing at that speed. In the past I creamed on number 2. During the mixing of this cake, I alternated from 4 to 2 to stop the batter from shooting out.

Attached are the pictures. Thank you grin

 

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Posted: 26 October 2013 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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From the looks of it, it is the amount of baking time. When I make pineapple/banana bread, I always use a heating core w/ is the decorating nail used in piping Roses for cake decorations, and it works for me. Since the cake is dense heat do not penetrate towards the center as well as the outside or walls of the cake. And towards the end, I cover the top losely with foil and I just constantly check every 5-6 mins..

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Posted: 26 October 2013 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Mmm, ok, that is an interesting pattern of browning. Forget everything I said. The browning isn’t consistent with the top coils coming on or excessive radiation from the top or walls.

It looks like the overbrowning is mostly associated with the parts of the loaf in contact with the pan. There is a line of darkness near where the loaf split, but I see that a lot in bread; separated bits of dough dry out more easily and turn dark quickly. There are also a few isolated dark spots on the top, but in bread, I associate those with bubbles below the surface. Again, they dry quickly and turn brown.

It’s really the edges and sides of the loaves that are most evenly dark. To me that suggests the pans were too hot, as if the bottom coils were coming on too often. An insufficient preheat could cause this, or some other problem with the temperature regulation of the oven. Any texture problem you have might be due to the exterior setting too quickly.

An interesting problem.

I’ve tried the Zuni chicken, Thomas Keller’s chicken, and Cooks Illustrated. None of them have come out with crisp skin. It might be due to the fact I can’t find small chickens here. Most of these recipes recommend something like a 3 lb chicken, but I can’t find much less than 4 lbs. When I watch the chicken in the oven, I can see juices exuding from the large breasts all the way until the end of the cooking time, keeping all the skin damp. It won’t ever get crisp that way.

I’m also a bit skeptical of this idea of cooking whole chickens. I really don’t think there is ever a way to ensure that a whole chicken is equally done throughout. The white meat needs to reach a different, lower internal temperature than the dark. While there are tricks to make this happen, every chicken is different. I’ve found that by the time the large breasts are done, the dark meat is way, way over optimal temperature. My view is that if you want to ensure that all the pieces are done to perfection every time, you need to roast parts, rather than a whole. Still, that doesn’t solve the problem of crisp skin.

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Posted: 26 October 2013 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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prettycake - 26 October 2013 01:42 PM

From the looks of it, it is the amount of baking time. When I make pineapple/banana bread, I always use a heating core w/ is the decorating nail used in piping Roses for cake decorations, and it works for me. Since the cake is dense heat do not penetrate towards the center as well as the outside or walls of the cake. And towards the end, I cover the top losely with foil and I just constantly check every 5-6 mins..

Hi Prettycake,

I checked at 50 and the center of the top was soupy. However the rest of the top was browning. I normally bake loaves for 50-55 minutes maximum. This loaf was not ready to come out of the oven at 50 or 55. It needed the full 60 minutes. That makes me feel Charles’ recommendation that the pan was too hot is accurate.  Can a baking core be used in a loaf?

I think your idea of foil is something I should try next go at it.

Should I put the foil on at 45?

This recipe was expensive and took a lot of time and effort. A bain marie for the eggs is required. Having the eggs reach 70 degrees took time. That is why I thought I preheated too long.

Thank you so much grin

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Posted: 26 October 2013 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Flour Girl - 26 October 2013 12:32 PM
CharlesT - 26 October 2013 10:54 AM
Flour Girl - 26 October 2013 10:15 AM

I had previously had perfect results and would expect the recipe from a baking professor to indicate that would be necessary.

Agreed. Unless there is a typo, the recipe is probably fine. And as I pointed out, most of these issues would only result in some degree of overbrowning, not an almost charred exterior. But it is true that an item placed too close to the top can burn; I destroyed several roast chickens that way a few years ago. grin I don’t see an immediate causal relationship with the fact you didn’t halve the recipe.

But I still return to the idea the top coils are coming on. Some ovens, when preheating, use the top and bottom coils. Some ovens, too, have a “preheat” position on the knob and baking with it in that position would produce the problem you describe. I assume the almost-charring is mainly on the top?

Your pictures will be helpful.

 

 

Oh no! I can see that happening with chicken because of the fat. I once had a fire in the oven and burnt-out the element but that was when it was set to broil. For roast chicken I use Zuni Cafe’s Roast Chicken and Bread Salad. Have you ever tried it? I roast that on the lower third shelf in a cast iron skillet. Awesome!

I’m not sure if the top or bottom or both coils heat. The oven shares a broil function, which is always from the top. I will have to take note of which coils heat while baking. That is good information to know. Thank you!

Yes, charred is a stretch grin  I would call it overbrowned. Also, the cake is dry. As I cut into it I saw a little moist or rubbery spot at the apex. Rose talks of a rubbery band at the bottom when unbleached flour is used. This is not that. I wonder if it could be from insufficient incorporation of the flour??

Charles, I usually have no problem baking a recipe for two loaves. The problem in this situation is the vast quantity of ingredients which spilled out of the mixer. That has never happened before. I did mix it on number 4. I have recently begun mixing at that speed. In the past I creamed on number 2. During the mixing of this cake, I alternated from 4 to 2 to stop the batter from shooting out.

Attached are the pictures. Thank you grin


U probably mentioned it. Is your oven electric ? I have gas and I can control the heat easily. With some adjustment, I think it will come right next time.

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Posted: 26 October 2013 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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CharlesT - 26 October 2013 01:49 PM

Mmm, ok, that is an interesting pattern of browning. Forget everything I said. The browning isn’t consistent with the top coils coming on or excessive radiation from the top or walls.

It looks like the overbrowning is mostly associated with the parts of the loaf in contact with the pan. There is a line of darkness near where the loaf split, but I see that a lot in bread; separated bits of dough dry out more easily and turn dark quickly. There are also a few isolated dark spots on the top, but in bread, I associate those with bubbles below the surface. Again, they dry quickly and turn brown.

It’s really the edges and sides of the loaves that are most evenly dark. To me that suggests the pans were too hot, as if the bottom coils were coming on too often. An insufficient preheat could cause this, or some other problem with the temperature regulation of the oven. Any texture problem you have might be due to the exterior setting too quickly.

An interesting problem.

Hi Charles,

I noticed the Gold Touch pans do darken the edges more than my Magic Line. I bake every day. The only hint of over-baking occurred when I baked Baked’s Oatmeal Cake the other day. I used a light-colored Wilton pan with a non-stick coating. The only reason I used that pan is because it has a lid and the cake is not removed from the pan. Baked’s times are not that accurate for me. I think I could have removed the cake sooner and averted the problem.

Do you think an aluminum pan would work better than the Gold Touch?  Magic Line does not make an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan. Any suggestions for a pan? This one is not coated:

CHICAGO METALIC COMMERCIAL TRADITIONAL

If an aluminum pan doesn’t help, I will call for service on the oven.

I’ve tried the Zuni chicken, Thomas Keller’s chicken, and Cooks Illustrated. None of them have come out with crisp skin. It might be due to the fact I can’t find small chickens here. Most of these recipes recommend something like a 3 lb chicken, but I can’t find much less than 4 lbs. When I watch the chicken in the oven, I can see juices exuding from the large breasts all the way until the end of the cooking time, keeping all the skin damp. It won’t ever get crisp that way.

I’m also a bit skeptical of this idea of cooking whole chickens. I really don’t think there is ever a way to ensure that a whole chicken is equally done throughout. The white meat needs to reach a different, lower internal temperature than the dark. While there are tricks to make this happen, every chicken is different. I’ve found that by the time the large breasts are done, the dark meat is way, way over optimal temperature. My view is that if you want to ensure that all the pieces are done to perfection every time, you need to roast parts, rather than a whole. Still, that doesn’t solve the problem of crisp skin.


I agree about the parts. I usually never roast a whole chicken.

I didn’t realize you were going for crispy. I, too, could not find the small chicken. I used a 5-pounder. It cooked very well in the cast iron skillet but I didn’t care about the skin (I don’t eat it downer ) . I really loved the bread salad.

Thank you so much!

 

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Posted: 26 October 2013 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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prettycake - 26 October 2013 02:37 PM
Flour Girl - 26 October 2013 12:32 PM
CharlesT - 26 October 2013 10:54 AM
Flour Girl - 26 October 2013 10:15 AM

I had previously had perfect results and would expect the recipe from a baking professor to indicate that would be necessary.

Agreed. Unless there is a typo, the recipe is probably fine. And as I pointed out, most of these issues would only result in some degree of overbrowning, not an almost charred exterior. But it is true that an item placed too close to the top can burn; I destroyed several roast chickens that way a few years ago. grin I don’t see an immediate causal relationship with the fact you didn’t halve the recipe.

But I still return to the idea the top coils are coming on. Some ovens, when preheating, use the top and bottom coils. Some ovens, too, have a “preheat” position on the knob and baking with it in that position would produce the problem you describe. I assume the almost-charring is mainly on the top?

Your pictures will be helpful.

 

 

Oh no! I can see that happening with chicken because of the fat. I once had a fire in the oven and burnt-out the element but that was when it was set to broil. For roast chicken I use Zuni Cafe’s Roast Chicken and Bread Salad. Have you ever tried it? I roast that on the lower third shelf in a cast iron skillet. Awesome!

I’m not sure if the top or bottom or both coils heat. The oven shares a broil function, which is always from the top. I will have to take note of which coils heat while baking. That is good information to know. Thank you!

Yes, charred is a stretch grin  I would call it overbrowned. Also, the cake is dry. As I cut into it I saw a little moist or rubbery spot at the apex. Rose talks of a rubbery band at the bottom when unbleached flour is used. This is not that. I wonder if it could be from insufficient incorporation of the flour??

Charles, I usually have no problem baking a recipe for two loaves. The problem in this situation is the vast quantity of ingredients which spilled out of the mixer. That has never happened before. I did mix it on number 4. I have recently begun mixing at that speed. In the past I creamed on number 2. During the mixing of this cake, I alternated from 4 to 2 to stop the batter from shooting out.

Attached are the pictures. Thank you grin


U probably mentioned it. Is your oven electric ? I have gas and I can control the heat easily. With some adjustment, I think it will come right next time.

Yes, it is electric. But I bake every day without incident.

 

 

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Posted: 26 October 2013 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Hi FG, yes heating core can be used with loaves. I think that’s when you will need it the most considering how deep the pan is. I always bake with a heating core because I like tall cakes.

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