What Is The Melting Method In Baking?
Baking is a science that involves accurate measurements, temperature control, and a few key methods.
You may want to get creative with this form of cooking but, if you don’t want a soggy bottom or sunken center, we advise you to stick to the rules.
When making cakes and other baked goods, you may notice that some recipes will ask you to mix all the ingredients at once while others may require you to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately.
This is not something the recipe maker chooses based on their mood. They are, in fact, baking methods that need to be followed if you want specific results.
There are a total of 5 cake-making methods in baking, one of them being the melting method. The others are the creaming method, the whisking method, the rubbing method, and the all-in-one method.
So, what is the melting method in baking? The melting method is an easy cake-making method that involves the fat and sugar being melted together before the eggs are added and the dry ingredients folded into the mixture.
Read on to find out more about the melting method, how to do it, why you should try it, and how it differs from the other baking methods!
The Melting Method In Baking
An easy baking technique, the melting method is used for making dense and moist cakes such as rich chocolate cake and fruit cake.
Since there is no beating or whisking involved to aerate the mixture, the cakes made using this method are denser and moister than those made using other methods.
The melting method is a very forgiving method out of the 5 baking methods and is also super quick and easy.
All you have to do is melt the butter and sugar in a pot before adding in the eggs and other dry ingredients.
Also, since there is no beating or whisking involved, a chemical agent such as baking powder is added to the mixture to help the cake rise.
Just make sure to not overwork the mixture as it will cause the gluten to overdevelop, resulting in a cake that is dry and tough.
Some key points to remember include:
- Letting the melted butter and sugar cool to room temperature before adding the eggs and dry ingredients.
- Sifting the dry ingredients together.
- Working quickly when folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Preheating the oven and lining the tins properly.
- Putting the cake in the oven as quickly as possible.
- Inserting a skewer into the center of the cake once it is done to see if it comes out clean.
What Type Of Cakes Are Made Using The Melting Method?
As a general rule, the melting method is used to make cakes that are heavier and moist, such as chocolate cake, gingerbread cake, carrot cake, fruit cake, and brownies.
Cakes made using this method have a stickier consistency, often contain heavy ingredients such as ground nuts, and generally benefit from resting a day prior to serving them in order to help retain moisture.
You will find that many cake-making recipes call for creaming the fats and sugar together before adding in the eggs. In contrast, the melting method involves gently heating the fats and sugar until they have melted together.
Once they have melted properly, they are removed from heat and cooled until they reach room temperature, after which, the eggs and dry ingredients are added to create the batter.
As mentioned earlier, cakes made with the melting method benefit from adding some baking soda since there is no beating and whisking involved, and the soda helps the cake rise.
These cakes may require more time to cook and must be monitored frequently. If they tend to brown on the top, they should be covered with aluminum foil so that the insides can cook properly without the outside of the cake burning.
Other Baking Methods
There are a total of five cake-making methods used in baking. They are:
- The melting method
- The creaming method
- The whisking method
- The rubbing method
- The all-in-one method
Since we’ve already discussed the melting method in detail, let’s look at the other most commonly used methods!
The Creaming Method
Probably the trickiest method of them all, the creaming method is a common technique used to create a variety of baked goodies, especially cakes and cookies.
It requires creaming or blending the fats and sugar before adding any other ingredient to the mix.
It is done by placing softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream it at medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture turns light, fluffy, and pale yellow.
Once that is done, the eggs and the rest of the dry ingredients can be added to the mix.
It is a risky method because other than under-creaming the butter and sugar, there is a chance that the mixture might split once you add the eggs, resulting in a dry, tough cake.
The Whisking Method
As the name suggests, the whisking method involves whisking the wet ingredients, usually the eggs and sugar, to incorporate air and body to the batter.
Once they are whisked to a ribbon stage (which refers to a thick, pale, foam-like batter) the dry ingredients are sieved and folded gently in batches of two or three.
The batter must be folded properly so that there are no traces of flour, but care must be taken to not overmix it.
Also, since there are little to no raising agents in the mix, the rising of the cake depends solely on how well the batter has been whisked.
The whisking method is great for people looking for a lighter sponge or a cake with less fat since these cakes contain almost no butter.
Other popular types of recipes that this technique is used for include Swiss rolls, chiffon cakes, and dishes that contain meringue.
The risk with this method is that if you are heavy-handed and don’t fold the dry ingredients into the wet batter properly, you may end up with a dense, crumbly cake.
The Rubbing Method
A simple baking method that is usually the first one to be taught, the rubbing method works by rubbing the fat, usually butter, into the flour using your fingertips to create a breadcrumb-like texture.
Next, the sugar is added, followed by some sort of liquid, such as milk, to create a dough.
The trick here is to stop working the mixture as soon as the liquid is evenly incorporated into it to avoid a tough texture in the end. Simply form it into shape or carefully roll it out once the dough is ready.
Commonly used for crumbles, pastries, and scones, the rubbing method is used to create a variety of savory dishes as well.
The All-In-One Method
The simplest and most hassle-free method of them all, the all-in-one method is the way to go if you want to save on washing up.
As the name suggests, the ingredients go into a mixing bowl, all at once, and the mixing is done in a matter of minutes.
It is as simple as weighing out the ingredients, dishing them out in a large bowl, mixing them, and then baking!
Now that you know all about the melting method in baking and the type of cakes it is used to make, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!
How do you fix curdled cake batter?
One way to fix cake batter that has split is to add a bit of flour to it until it smooths out again. Make sure to do this gradually, adding only 1 tablespoon of flour at a time.
The flour will help the fats and liquid to come back together and create a smooth, lump-free cake batter.
However, if you notice that the issue isn’t resolving after a few tablespoons of flour, do not add more flour as too much flour can negatively impact the texture of the cake.
What causes a cake to sink in the middle?
Some of the reasons why your cake might sink in the middle are that you opened the oven door before the cake was set or you removed it from the oven too soon.
What happens when you overmix cake batter?
Overmixing the cake batter can cause the dough to become aerated, meaning there is too much air incorporated into the mixture.
It may also result in gluten development that may result in cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, and bread that are unpleasantly chewy and rubbery.
How can you avoid overmixing cake batter?
When the batter is overmixed, it creates baked goodies that are dense and chewy, and no one likes that.
To avoid overmixing the cake batter, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.
Also make sure to carefully read the recipe instructions before starting, understand the baking verbs and techniques, and pay close attention to the batter, stopping as soon as all the ingredients are well combined.
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