To Beat Or Not To Beat?

Baking By Lemmers Updated 8 Aug 2011 , 9:45am by Claire138

Lemmers Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 12:38pm
post #1 of 11

Hi all!

I'm really trying to get my general cake knowledge down to a T, but one area still throws me off course- mixing your batter.

I have read sooooo many recipes over the last year or two, and some say "beat on high..." whereas others say "mix on low to avoid overbeating...."

So, what is everyone's opinions, and is anybody able to explain what effect each method will have? I know not to overmix muffin batter as I have had tough cakes as a result, but for regular cakes and cupcakes I have yet to experience a 'disaster' either way to help me decide!

Any help (as always) very much appreciated!

10 replies
leah_s Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 12:56pm
post #2 of 11

You are going to get different explanations on this. I use large scale professional recipes that are frankly quite forgiving. I mix in a 20 qt Hobart, set it on "2" speed and go prepare my pans, clean the counters, whatever. I just don't pay attention to time for mixing. If you know your recipes, you'll know what happens with different mixing times. With mine, the more mixing the better. I'll let them go for 10 minutes sometimes.

Well, that probably wasn't any help.

Lemmers Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 1:05pm
post #3 of 11

Not at all, it does help to hear from a professional!

TBH most of the cakes I've done I HAVE mixed for a long time or on high speed, and have had no problems- I guess I just wodnered if there was a reason I keep seeing ones that state "don't over mix".

Thanks for your reply!

scp1127 Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 1:24pm
post #4 of 11

I'm the opposite. I tend to mix as little as possible. BUT... as Leah said, we know our recipes. I think I gravitate toward cakes that respond to less mixing. That being said, I doubt you will get a definitive answer on this because different recipes respond differently.

This is my general advice. Don't go on the internet to find your recipes. It is full of everyone posting every recipe they can find, regardless of taste and texture. Look for highly rated recipes with detailed descriptions of method. A great professional baker who shares recipes is a great place to start. Soon you will find that the similarities and differences will start to make sense. There really is no shortcut. Without the underlying knowledge, you won't know what to do with each recipe you encounter.

leah_s Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 1:25pm
post #5 of 11

Remember pound cake.

The hallmarks of a great pound cake are the domed top and a very fine crumb. Now how do you get that dome (on a loaf cake or ring cake the way we used to do pound cakes)? Largely from the strong flour. (generally all purpose). But that fine crumb? That's from loooong beating. Most recipes tell you to beat for at least 15 minutes.

scp1127 Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 2:28pm
post #6 of 11

My pound cake is long beating too, no leavening. Grandma's recipe.

Lemmers Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 2:55pm
post #7 of 11

Thank you very much for your advice!

I too agree that just picking a random recipe online can be a recipe for disaster (excuse the pun) so I only ever use a recipe which has tried and tested user ratings, and better yet, comments about how it turned out. I don't have the cash to waste trialling cakes if they're going to taste like cardboard! icon_lol.gif

I have yet to have a cake turn out bad which I found on this website, unless I failed to follow instructions word for word which is of course my own fault then!

scp1127 Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 3:03pm
post #8 of 11

I think those online recipes are one of the biggest factors in people giving up on scratch baking. That's why I try to point that out. It makes bakers think the result is their fault if it isn't great. I think we gravitate to recipes we like and that dictates our methods. When I first learned to bake the southern standbys, I found that they will take all kinds of abuse... cold ingredients, not emulsifying each egg, over/under baking and mixing. As I progressed to other styles, I found that my methods needed to adapt to each type.

cakestyles Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 3:57pm
post #9 of 11

Every one of my recipes is different. Some of them would be heavy and chewy if I over beat them because of the over development of gluten.

Some of my recipes I add the last of the flour and finish mixing by hand because that's what I've found to work best.

The longer you bake your recipes the more you'll understand exactly what you should and shouldn't do to them.

There is no right answer to "how long do I beat?" because we all use different recipes.

This is why baking is so tricky, it's not just pour everything in the bowl and beat the heck out of it...some recipes are temperamental.

Lemmers Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 9:01am
post #10 of 11

All good points, thank you!

Thinking about it, most of the recipes I tend to use are quite runny recipes and these do suggest lots of beating- which is good for me as it leaves time for clear up in between icon_lol.gif

Claire138 Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 9:45am
post #11 of 11

Interesting about the pound cake bc I've had mixed results. I'll make another and mix for longer now that I know as I always avoid making them (also due to the sad line).

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