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Keeping Baked Goods

 
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:35 am    Post subject: Keeping Baked Goods Reply with quote

Hi all!
I would like to ask you about your tips for keeping baked goods and preserving their freshness. I use a simple metal box that I usually line with paper towels or parchment paper, but I'm unsatisfied with the results, because my cookies/muffins lose all their crisp the next day: it happened with my banana pecan muffins (the tops had gone soft and a little sticky) and with gingersnaps I made, which by the next day were not very snappy anymore!
Any advice?
Thanks!
Clotilde.
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For crispness I've had better luck with zip lock bags (as thick as u can get) and press as much air out as u can....cookies have to be all the way cool when they go in, obviously....somehow air (so humidity) seems to seep into those tins....but u can retard it by putting tin foil over top before putting top of tin on so it fits really tight. Growing up in Louisiana, we were constantly fighting humidity. Muffins, by their very nature, will get sticky anyway....best bet is the fridge...but then u have to micro them to bring them back around to serve.....fridge is not ideal and robs muffins of some flavor I think...so u should just eat em all at one sitting... oink
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's a thing you can do. You're not doing battle with the external environment of the muffin but with it's nature. It's a moist little cake with a crust that has been formed by the intense heat of the oven. As it sits, the moisture within will simply redistribute itself. The sad truth is the momentary crispness of a freshly-baked muffin has it's own internal clock running from the time it comes out of the oven.

There are two things I can think of that might make some difference. One would be to freeze leftover muffins immediately. That would contain the redistribution somewhat. You wouldn't get the satisfying crunch of the real deal, but the stickiness would be eliminated in the short interval in which the muffin decends to freezing temperatures and ascends to room temp again.

The second thing that I recommend, is to mix up of the dry and wet ingredients and then break them up into and keep them in small increments. That way, you can rather quickly combine one unit of each and bake while you shower to have fresh muffins on subsequent days. I do this for my son who is a muffin fan but is only interested in 2 at a time. I find that I can keep the wet ingredients in my fridge for 3 days with no adverse effect. The dry ingredients will keep indefinitely.
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muffins do seem to be short-lived, especially when they contain moist fruit like bananas. I usually bake only a half-dozen. Freezing as soon as they are cool works pretty well, but take them out of the bag to defrost & then warm them in the oven to crisp up the tops. Not quite as good as fresh, but better than nothing.

Retaining crispness in cookies is a problem here, too. I've never tried this but I wonder if putting a little packet of silica granules in the tin might work. I always find a packet of it in bags of nori & some other foods, with "Do Not Eat" stamped on the little sachet. The purpose, as I understand, is to absorb moisture that might affect the quality of the product.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I freeze all my baking in individual portions. When I fancy something sweet I take it from the freezer, wrap it in foil and warm it in the oven. Other wise I'd eat it all on the day I baked it and I'd be huge!
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Keeping Baked Goods Reply with quote

Rainey pretty much nailed it, Clotilde; there's not a thing you can do about it.

Part of my science background is also in chemistry, where there is a Universal Law called the Law of Opposites. It applies to the eventual stabilazation of materials, all of them.

If it's hot, it will become cold.
If it's cold, it will become hot.
If it's moist, it will dry out.
If it's dry, it will absorb moisture.

These don't specifically pertain to baking, but since baking is a chemical reaction, the do fall under this law.

When I bake, I give what I made 24 hours to enjoy it, and then it's either thrown out or given away to people less exacting to myself. The ONLY thing that I've had luck doing, by the way, is cookies. As soon as they cool, I vacuum seal them into freezer bags and stick them in m deep freeze. They thaw beautifully when taken out; not so with cakes and pies or rolls. Rainey's idea of just baking small amounts seems to be ideal, if you want/need fresh items daily.

By the way, I had written about pre-baking pie crusts before you bake them again. I finally was bored enough to accomplish this and did a double blind bake-off this weekend: I pre-baked a crust and had a raw one, putting the apple filling into each when it was time to bake.

The pre-baked and then re-baked crust was indeed "crispy" in the bottom, but the taste....blech! I served both samples to friends and they hands-down preferred the one that was just baked once. As one of my friends said, "The pre-baked one tasted like apples on Matzo crackers!"

Live and learn.
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ejm



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 51
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if the method we use for bread would work for gingersnaps, Clotilde. I often make two or three loaves of bread at a time - but there are only two of us. So some loaves go in the freezer. They are double bagged in plastic - as airtight as possible.

We thaw the bread on the counter in it's wrapper. When the bread is thawed, we preheat the oven to 450F. Then turn the oven OFF. The bread is unwrapped and put in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The crust gets crusty again but the crumb is not compromised. When it comes out of the oven, it's basically the same as the day that it was baked.

Do you think this might work for the gingersnaps? And who knows? Maybe even the muffins.

-Elizabeth
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with most of the comments posted. There isn't much that can be done for muffins.

With biscuits I usually wait till cold and seal them in plastic containers. You can buy some of them that have a little rubber o ring around the lid and they stop all air from getting in once sealed. Fabulous, but expensive, and I don't want to be the blame for you having to sacrifice yourself and go shopping for more kitchen equipment (although if you feel you must, can I come too??? I only live around the corner, and my husband won't let me kitchen shop on my own as I can't be trusted to only look and not buy... sniff, sob).

If they are going to be eaten within a day or so, or you are taking them anywhere I usually zip lock bag them. (I love zip lock bags!!!) In Australia I used to zip lock all my baking before freezing. The best thing is that the bags come in all sizes so you can portion control. ..otherwise I would look like Jabba the Hutts wife...
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ejm wrote:
I don't know if the method we use for bread ...
We thaw the bread on the counter in it's wrapper. When the bread is thawed, we preheat the oven to 450F. Then turn the oven OFF. The bread is unwrapped and put in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The crust gets crusty again but the crumb is not compromised. When it comes out of the oven, it's basically the same as the day that it was baked.


This was going to be my suggestion. I have also used the microwave oven with bread when I want a crisp crust. If you heat a piece of bread in the microwave, it comes out soft and warm/hot. If you let it cool, it develops a crust.

I also store baked items inside the oven and let the pilot light keep them above room temperature and in a low-humidity environment.
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Katya



Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Fontainebleau, France

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Clotilde,

there are a couple of tricks you can use to keep dry goods crunchy, espeically those gingersnap cookie from Chez Panisse. I had the opportunity to bake them as well.

1. Run the soggy gingersnaps through the oven another time right before serving them. Gingersnaps are very prone to burning, so keep the oven at 175C and stay near by to watch them. As soon as they get hot to the touch, you can pull them out and cool them on a cooling rack. They should become crisp again, unless you've kept them for two weeks. Smile

2. Another trick that we always use in the trade is to purchase dessicant. I don't remember the french name for this product. It comes either in a jar, or in individual sachets, which are a little more convenient for the home cook.

Dessicant is a chemical product, that looks like fine gravel rocks. Its basic function is to absorb moisture from the air. It is perfectly fine to use with food, so you should not worry. When you use it in containers with you cookies, it absorbs the excess moisture and keeps the cookies crunchy for a while.

The way to use loose dessicant from the jar, is to line the container in which you will keep your cookies with a fine layer, about 0.5 cm thick, and then cover it with cooking paper. Place your cookies in the container and seal tightly. If you container does not have a tight-fitting lid, wrap the box in plastic film. Use the sachets in the same way - one is enough for a medium box, but you don't need paper anymore, since the product is already enclosed in the sachet.

The beauty of dessicant is that you can re-use it. Just pass it through a low temp. oven for about 30 minutes, and it's ready to use again, once cold. You can find it in many professional catalogs or on the internet.

I hope this helps! BTW, congratulations on your wonderful website. I enjoy reading it every chance I get. You certainly deserve all the recognition you receive for the hard work you put into making this beautiful blog.
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