Friday, March 31, 2006

How Long Do You Cool Your Baked Goodies Before Removing From The Pan

I received this great question:

"When you are baking something, often the recipe
specifies that it should cook xx minutes before removing the cake/muffins etc. But is there some kind of rule to use when it doesn't specify? If you let it cool "too long" will it be hard to remove from the pan? Or should you let it cool completely."

I really don't consider myself a "real" baker and have lots of screw ups to prove it. So I decided to do some research on the web to see if there was a definitive amount of time (and rationale) to let things cool so they just pop out of the pan.... I got everything from 10 minutes to completely, so not too much help there. Then I went to my trusty Kitchen "bibles" - The Doubleday Cookbook- Complete Contemporary Cooking, Joy of Cookingand The Cook's Companion. They have lots of great advice, but nothing about general rules for cooling, so..............

Here are some things that usually work for me when a recipe is not specific...
1. Always cool things on a rack suspended above your counter. In fact, supporting the rack on inverted glasses or mugs to keep it higher than the little rack legs would be ideal so the heat won't get trapped and turn into steam under the pan.

2. Always "prep" your baking pans unless otherwise stated in the recipe. Three steps work for me
- Grease the pan with a little unsalted butter or vegetable oil;
- Dust with flour (about 1-2 tbsp flour and shake it around the pan and then discard whatever doesn't stick);
- Place a parchment or waxed paper sheet cut to fit on top;

3. How long to cool? Good question - at least until the bottom of the pan is cool to the touch.

I also use parchment paper to line cookie sheets - not so much for the anti-stick factor, but because it makes cleanup so easy.

If there's anyone out there with other ideas, please share them in the comments.

Please email me any of your questions, and if I don't have the answer, I'll certainly try find it for you.
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