Cooking Techniques | Essential News

cooking techniquesWilliams Sonoma

I will reiterate all of these concepts the same way we do in our bakery through the actual recipes that follow, but there are a few points I would like to emphasize before I start cooking.


The most accurate method of measurement is by weight, as we do in professional kitchens. We tested the recipes in this book by volume because most home chefs are used to measuring by volume (eg, teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups). (We always need weights for certain ingredients, like fondant, to help you be as accurate as possible and advise your purchase.) When using a measuring form, use a spatula or straight-edged knife to level the dry ingredients. If necessary, use your index finger, but be careful not to brush too much.


Because most people don’t know how many variables there are in the mix, it’s arguably the least understood and underestimated part of the cooking process. It’s not just about putting all the pieces together; it’s about getting them to come together properly.

Unless a recipe calls for hot or cold ingredients, it’s best to keep everything at room temperature. “This is especially the case with butter and eggs, the temperature of which has a big impact on how the dough comes together.”

Also be careful not to overmix: in many recipes, the dry ingredients are added last; stop mixing as soon as they are mixed together, or you may end up with a tighter, harder and chewier end result than you want. Why is that? Overmixing the flour activates the protein and can cause air bubbles.”

Be sure to use the right attachment for each recipe: the hook, paddle, and whisk all have different effects and are needed for different reasons.”


A sheeter, a powerful motorized piece of equipment that rolls dough, sometimes in large quantities, into flat sheets, is found in almost every bakery these days. There is nothing wrong with using a laminator because it is fast and reliable. When I was younger, however, every baker I knew could accomplish with a rolling pin what most young bakers need today.

Home cooks don’t have the luxury of using a rolling pin, so if you want to cook to a set level, you’ll have no choice but to get good with a rolling pin, which in my opinion, is a fantastic thing. A real connection to the craftsmanship that has defined many great home bakers and my craft in the past, and still does today in our bakery and other traditional bakeries.” Rolling the dough has an impact on everything from cooking uniformity to finished product texture and appearance.


In our bakery, we have a saying: bakers scratch. In other words, every time we mix something, we pause the machine to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, making sure that no dry or unmixed ingredients escape from the hook, whisk or the palette. When using a stand mixer at home, I recommend loosening the bowl so you can place your spatula under the mixing attachment. “One of the most important aspects of handling a pin is to avoid flouring it. It looks good, but it doesn’t really help until later.” Instead, flour the work area under the dough as well as the dough itself.

When rolling out pie dough with a straight pin, start rolling up and down the center, then turn the dough to the side and roll once more in the center. Then drive slightly to the right of the center (around 1 or 2 a.m.), then slightly to the left of the center (around 10 or 11 a.m.). Finally, unroll the dough on the pie pan after having rolled it on the pin. “Roll the dough onto the spit, flour the work area, then roll out the dough so that the side that was in contact with the work surface is now facing up.” Starting at the end and pulling the pin towards you, roll it towards you, then work your way back, first down the middle, then out the sides. Continue in this way, turning the dough over and re-flouring your work surface (and the pin if the dough starts to pull or tear) until you reach the desired thickness.

Use your oven to its full potential

Home bakers have my respect. I take for granted how difficult it is to cook at home because I work in a professional bakery. “Our ovens are works of art in our bakery. They look primitive: large square boxes heated from below. However, their secret to success is rotating shelves which reduce hot spots; this is especially crucial with larger items like cakes, which are more affected by hot spots.

While your home oven may not be as stunning to look at as our ovens, you and it can generate beautiful music together if you get to know it well and learn its strengths and quirks. Here are some pointers.

• Keep it tidy. When was the last time your oven was cleaned? “Um, well, I’m not really sure…that’s the typical response from most home cooks. (I guess 99% of you have self-cleaning ovens, so that’s doubly awful) This makes it much easier.” Cooked foods, especially pieces that look like lumps of charcoal fused to the wall or bottom of the oven, can emit smoke, which can affect the flavor of your products. of bakery. So make sure your oven is clean and don’t forget to scrape the grates, which can trap food before it reaches the oven floor, especially cheese and other sticky items.

• Close it. Hot air escapes from an oven, just like from your home, if it is not sufficiently insulated. This will probably have little effect on your heating bill, but it will delay your cooking time. The cooking times given in this book are based on maintaining a constant temperature throughout the cooking procedure. “One way to be certain is to use a well-sealed oven. Another option is to avoid opening the oven door during cooking and instead rely on oven light and visual cues to monitor the cook as long as possible without letting the heat escape When you open the oven door, close it quickly.

• Plan ahead. Before you start cooking, preheat the oven so that it’s ready for what you’re cooking. Make sure the rack is in the desired location before preheating (usually in the center).

• Avoid cramming. It is recommended to bake only one dish of cookies or pastries at a time. To ensure even cooking, use only one rack. Cook when you can cook each plate on its own for optimal heat circulation.

• Support your oven. Use trays and pans smaller than oven racks if you have a small oven. Use pans that do not completely cover the oven rack, as this will prevent hot air from moving freely. As your oven is equipped with hot zones, it is advisable to turn the sheets of biscuits or pastries halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.

Also, do not bake partially filled cookie or baking pans; the heat will not be distributed evenly and you will end up burning your baked goods. “If you have a small batch, gather the pieces in the center of the pan.