A lot of ingredients go into the making of baked goods, with the cook mixing things up from time to time. One particular ingredient that can never be left out of the pantry is the baking mix – the foundational ingredient, you may want to call it. Hence, sparing some time to discuss about this important ingredient and its components is very much in order, and could help you plan the process of making your baked goods better.
Components of baking mix and their relevance
Let’s now see the components that are available in baking mixes, and what they bring to the table – or how they affect the outcome of the baked good.
Flour is the main component of any baking mix, and it is responsible for imposing structure on your baked goods. It is flour that causes the whole mix to swell as the reaction between gluten and water takes place. There are, however, gluten-free baking flours. It is possible to go for all-purpose flour or one that is specifically made to bake a specific product type – it is based on this that we can have cake baking mix, pancake baking mix, and so on.
The baking powder is categorized as a leavening rising agent, and it provides the carbon dioxide that makes baked goods to rise. There is no need to add any acidic ingredient if your baking mix contains baking powder. Additionally, baking powder will promote the airiness of your baked goods in the long run. However, if you’re making your baking mix at home, you should be mindful not to add too much of it as this could result in your baked tasty delight having a slightly bitter taste. Alternatively, baking soda or baker’s yeast can also be added as a leavening agent in a baking mix.
It’s very likely that an individual who is not so into baking see no good in sugar than the sweetness it delivers. But sugar does a whole lot more when applied in baking. For one, sugar contributes to the rising of baked goods, especially in the instance where yeast is used as the rising agent. Again, sugar makes the baked goods more tender while reducing the activity of the gluten in the batter. And, for lovers of baked goods such as pancakes, muffins, and so on; the availability of sugar in the baking mix helps in the browning process – FYI, the reaction describing this is called Maillard reactions. Despite the sugar that may be in the baking mix, bakers may still choose to add sugar while preparing the batter.
The right proportion of salt in the baking mix will, no doubt, add taste to the baked goods. But that’s not all; it also helps in some ways to ensure that the gluten network in the batter is well-established. There are occasions whereby salt aids in slowing the rising of the pastry mixture – it does not allow the mixture to rise too early.
Shortening is wholly fat, and it is usually solid at room temperature. Shortening is another component of the baking mix that promotes the fluffiness of your baked goods.