Scrape, Scrape, Scrape… and then Scrape again!!!
Have you ever mixed up a batch of cookies or cupcakes or brownies in the mixer? You carefully follow the instructions… All the ingredients were measured out precisely… You carefully add everything, in order, mix everything for the exact amount of time the recipe says…. and THEN you begin to divide the batter either into mounds on a cookie sheet or into cupcake liners… and as you near the bottom of the mixing bowl, you find half the ingredients just sitting there! Not mixed into the rest of the batter!! You think to yourself, “What did I do wrong?”
Well, the most omitted step (in my humble opinion) in a recipe is the simple act of scraping. In my very first class in culinary school, Baking Foundations, one of the steps that was repeated over and over… and over again, was scraping! We would present our finished products to the chef instructor, knowing that every flaw was about to be pointed out: “See those streaks of raw flour in your poundcake? You didn’t scrape enough!” “Do you notice how crumbly your texture is, when it should be uniform and spongy? You didn’t scrape enough!” So I learned very early on, that taking the time to scrape down that mixing bowl is of utmost importance!!
Here is an example of how I wish most recipes were written… and then below I will give a better definition of what scraping should look like.
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffly
2. Turn off mixer, remove bowl and attachment and SCRAPE down both into center of the bowl. Reattach all.
3. On low speed, add each egg until fully incorporated. Add vanilla.
4. Turn off mixer, remove bowl and attachment and SCRAPE down both into center of the bowl. Also, be sure to turn up the batter from the bottom of the bowl. Reattach all.
5. Add sifted (remember last blog?) dry ingredients, mix until just incorporated.
6. Turn off mixer, remove bowl and attachment and SCRAPE down both into center of the bowl. Also, be sure to turn up the batter from the bottom of the bowl. Reattach all.
7. Mix again, for only 30 seconds until batter is smooth and homogenous.
Yes, the process went from four steps to seven, but I promise that the results will never fail you!
Below are pics of before and after scraping.
Scraping is simply using a rubber spatula or bowl scraper (my personal choice) and making sure that all the batter that has
come up on the sides of the bowl, the batter that is clinging to the attachment and the batter that settles in the bottom of the bowl, get re-centered, if you will. Rarely does that attchement- be it a paddle, whisk or dough hook- ever really reach the bottom of the mixing bowl. This means that whatever settles down there, will never be mixed in with the rest of the ingredients, unless it is given a little manuel help!