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two-stage method

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I tried baking the yellow cake from "Professional Cooking" by Wayne Gisslen using the two stage method, this is a cook book used in my daughters cooking class. It called for emulsified shortening so I ordered Sweetex. The bottom of the cake came out hard and gummy, the rest of the cake came out great. Does anyone know what caused this?

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 12
I hate to see your question go unanswered, there are many professional chefs, pastry chefs, bakers, culinary school students or graduates on this site and I am hoping that one of them will see your question and share their knowledge.
I am not familar with the book or the "Two-stage method" although I am aware of the chef and his books. But I cannot help because I don't have the book or the recipe and am not familar with what is meant by his method.
Perhaps if you made a new post entitled, 'Professional Pastry Chefs, Culinary Students Please Read - you will get responses.
Otherwise if you would like to share more details about the recipe and method, I am sure many people would like to help.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
post #3 of 12
Without knowing the recipe or exactly what you did while baking. The two things that come to mind for me are that perhaps you perhaps didn't mix on low, or mixed too long, or didn't scrape down the bowl enough. With this method it is VERY, VERY important not to overmix.

Also perhaps your oven temperature is off. Try getting an oven thermometer.

Another thing that can cause a soggy bottom is cooling the cake in the pan for too long, without proper air flow
MM & BB.

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post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alien_Sunset

Without knowing the recipe or exactly what you did while baking. The two things that come to mind for me are that perhaps you perhaps didn't mix on low, or mixed too long, or didn't scrape down the bowl enough. With this method it is VERY, VERY important not to overmix.

Also perhaps your oven temperature is off. Try getting an oven thermometer.

Another thing that can cause a soggy bottom is cooling the cake in the pan for too long, without proper air flow


Hi kiddo,
Would you like to fill me in on what is meant by this chef's "two stage method"? It could mean so many things, just am not familiar by his interpretation of the term.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #5 of 12
From my baking text book:
(le cordon Bleu's Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen)

Two-Stage method:
This mixing method was developed for use with modern high-ratio shortenings. High ratio cakes contain a large percentage of sugar, more than the 100% based on the weight of the flour. Also they are made with more liquid than creaming method cakes, and the batter pours freely. The mixing method is a little simpler than the creaming-method, and it produces a smooth batter that bakes up into a fine-grained, moist cake. It gets its name because the liquids are added in two stages.

The first step in making a high ratio cake is blending the flour and other dry ingredients with shortening. When this mixture is smooth, the liquids (including eggs) are added in stages. Throughout this procedure, it is important to follow two rules:
*mix at low speed and observe correct mixing times. This is important to develop proper texture.
*Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently during mixing. This is important to develop a smooth, well-mixed batter.

Note the variation following the basic procedure. Many bakers prefer this variation. It is somewhat simpler because it combines steps 2 and 3.

Procedure: two-stage method

1) Scale ingredients accurately. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

2) Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into the mixing bowl and add shortening. With the paddle attachment, mix at low speed for 2 minute. Stop the machine, scrape down the bowl and beater, and mix again for 2 minutes.

If melted chocolate is used, blend it in during this step.

If cocoa is used, sift it with the flour in this step or with the sugar in step 3.

3) Sift the remaining dry ingredients into the bowl and add part of the water or milk. Blend at low speed for 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater several times to ensure even mixing.

4) Combine the remaining liquids and lightly beaten eggs. With the mixer running, add this mixture to the batter in three parts. After each part, turn off the machine and scrape down the bowl.

Continue mixing for a total of 5 minutes in this stage.

The finished batter is normal quite liquid.

Variation:
This variation combines steps 2 and 3 above into one step.

1) Scale the ingredients ad in basic method.

2) Sift all dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Add the shortening and part of the liquid. Mix on low speed for 7 to 8 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater several times.

3) Continue with step 4 in the basic procedure.
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post #6 of 12
Another thing I notice while looking through my baking book is that all the two stage method cakes listed call for cake flour.

One thing that can cause a tough cake is the wrong type of flour; did you use cake flour or AP?
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post #7 of 12
That is interesting. I've heard of a different mixing method that is gaining in popularity, but can not remember details. It does sound familiar, but it specifically had to do with butter and not shortening. I wonder if they are related.

Google is providing some help.. Nothing regarding shortening in this article, just butter...

Quote:
Quote:

The solution: What we ultimately tried on our yellow cake was a different way of mixing, known as the two-stage method. Here the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt are combined, the butter and about two-thirds of the milk and eggs are added, and the batter is beaten until thick and fluffy, about a minute. In the second stage, the rest of the milk and eggs are poured in and the batter is beaten for half a minute more. It is touted for the tender texture it promotes in cakes. Upon trying it on our working recipe for yellow cake, we produced a cake that was indeed more tender. In addition, its consistency was improved; no longer crumbly, the cake was now fine-grained and melting, and, interestingly enough, it did not seem overly sweet.
While our recipe development involved more than just switching from the conventional to the two-stage method of mixing, we were, needless to say, pleased with these results. The two-stage method also has the advantage of being simpler, quicker, and more nearly foolproof than the conventional creaming method. Though not nearly as widely used as the conventional method by most home bakers, it certainly has a lot to recommend it.
post #8 of 12
Another mention of the two stage method. It helps explain it a little more:

"the amount of mixing affects gluten development. In the creaming method, the sponge method, and the angel food method, the flour is added at or near the end of the mixing procedure so that there is very little gluten development in properly mixed batters. If the batter is mixed too long after the flour is added, the cakes are likely to be tough.

In the two-stage method, the flour is added in the first step. But it is mixed with the high ratio shortening, which spreads well and coats the particles of flour with fat. This coating action limits gluten development. It is important to mix the flour and fat thoroughly for the best results. Observe all mixing times closely. Also high-ratio cakes contain a high percentage of sugar, which is also a tenderizer."


And about high ratio shortening and other fats:

"Different fats have different emulsifying abilities. High-ratio shortening contains emulsifiers that enable it to hold a large amount of water without curdling."

And about the balancing of recipes:

"A normal starting point in discussing cake balancing is old-fashioned pound cake. This cake is made of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs in equal parts. As bakers experimented with the basic recipe over the years, they reduced the quantities of sugar, fat and eggs, and compensated by adding milk. This is the origin of the modern butter cake.

The general rules for balancing creaming method cakes made with butter or regular shortening are as follows (all ingredient quantities are, of course, by weight):

*the sugar is equal to or less than the flour.
*the fat equals the eggs.
*the eggs and liquids (milk and water) equal the flour.

With the development of emulsified shortening, it became possible to increase the quantities of eggs and liquids. The general rules for balancing high-ratio cakes (using emulsified shortenings) are as follows:

*the sugar is more than the flour (110 to 160%)
*the eggs are more than the shortening.
*the liquid (water, plus the water in milk and eggs) is more than the sugar."


Not all of this is explicitly pertinent to the discussion, but I think it helps with understanding.

icon_smile.gif

I hope I'm not being too long winded!
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post #9 of 12
hn87519:

I think what they are doing is combining a reaming method recipe with the two stage method mixing, as a kind of extra insurance. The butter coats the flour, inhibiting gluten development, and making a finer crumb. But it's not a sweet as a high ratio cake.

And it is easier. There was also a similar mention of two stage method at about.com because of its simplicity.

At http://busycooks.about.com/library/archive/blcakesci.htm

Quote:
Quote:


"ONE BOWL CAKES
It was a big deal in the 1960s when home economists discovered that cakes could be made by simply combining all ingredients in one bowl and beating them together for an extended period of time (4-5 minutes on high speed) to incorporate air, instead of the method of creaming the shortening and alternately adding liquid and dry ingredients. Many cake recipes use this method. There is also the two-stage method of cake making, a variation of the one-bowl cake. The dry ingredients are combined in a mixing bowl, the fat and liquid are added, then eggs are beaten into the batter. This method 'greases' the proteins in the flour in the first step, so it's harder for them to combine with each other, making a very tender cake."



I think the OP's difficulties might have stemmed partly from over mixing. But mostly due to oven problems or not cooling the cake properly, as the two stage method is quite simple.
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post #10 of 12
Well I am going to take a guess from a home baker's point of view, a home baker with home not commercial equipment that has experimented with commercial baking recipes, so bear with me folks. My youngest took a commercial baking course and used floor mixers etc. and humongous recipes. This is mainly why I stay away from commercial recipes and books on this sites because the majority of people here are really doing home baking, not commercial. So commercial methods and quantities etc. are not necessarily a good idea for the home baker who doesn't use this equipment of large quantities.
Where I am heading with this one is I have noticed recently a few posts where folks are talking about long mixing times, like 15 minutes for this, 10 minutes for that. Though there is the odd domestic cookbook recipe like perhaps a cheesecake where you have to beat the egg yolks for 10 minutes, those kinds of lengths of times for creaming and mixing are not common in regular recipes that we domestic bakers would use.
So I am inclined to agree with my pal Alien Sunset here and think that this was indeed a mixing problem. It sounds like the area at the bottom of the cake didn't get mixed in well. I am wondering if you scraped down your bowl.
I also am wondering if you are cutting down a commercial recipe for a domestic mixer. If you are doing so, remember commercial recipes are weighed not measure, that makes one huge difference. Then remember that mixing times are way off the charts for a stand mixer we use and a floor mixer used in a commercial establishment. With a stand mixer you do not need extended periods of mixing because you are not mixing that volume.
I also am aware of this chef and I am told that he also has domestic baking books or so I have heard. This might be more appropriate if you are not using commercial equipment.
And yes, now thanks to you folks, I understand what method is being referred to. It is also called the High-Ratio method(edited to add this). I don't bake with high ratio shortening mainly because my recipes are not meant for it and I would have to play around and make a lot of adjustments with liquids and such. I use it for icing only because I cannot see the cost factor making it worthwhile for me in a domestic baking situation.
I wanted to be careful here because what is considered a method in domestic and commercial baking can often be two totally different things. This is a commercial method developed for use with high ratio shortening and though there are adaptations being recommended for use with regular shortening and butter, there doesn't appear to be enough evidence showing that there is much of a difference in following this method in domestic baking when not using high ratio shortening. I think in domestic you are best off following the method recommended in the particular recipe you are using. Or trying this high-ratio or two stage method as an experiment to see how you like it.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
post #11 of 12
Squirrelly, I didn't even think of that! You are so right. Often times the mixing times are completely different for large mixers compared to small home mixers.

And also, yes, almost all commercial baking recipes are completely by weight.
Did you know that a cup of sifted flower only weighs about 4 ounces?

This is an especially important thing to keep in mind, as even a few ounces off can mess up a recipe.
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post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alien_Sunset

Squirrelly, I didn't even think of that! You are so right. Often times the mixing times are completely different for large mixers compared to small home mixers.

And also, yes, almost all commercial baking recipes are completely by weight.
Did you know that a cup of sifted flower only weighs about 4 ounces?

This is an especially important thing to keep in mind, as even a few ounces off can mess up a recipe.


Haha, er yes, I found that out when my daughter took a commercial baking course and I, er, tried out one of her recipes, haha! Hhmn, called for 8 ounces of flour, so dummy here used a cup. Found out very quickly that it meant 8 ounces by weight and that my little kitchen scale was not, well, calibrated either, haha!
Also, to further confuse issues, even measurements are not the same everywhere. Take Australia, their teaspoon is 5 ml the same as most places, but their tablespoon is 20ml, which means that their tablespoon has an extra teaspoon in it since a tablespoon elsewhere is 15ml. Their metric measuring cup is a bit off too. Measuring cups and tablespoons from China are similar to the Australian system. Haha, I found that out when I bought a cheap set at a dollar store that was made in China. I thought that tablespoon looked huge and sure enough.
Commercial flours are different too, so are many ingredients. Then, the ingredients are different in different countries too.
All serves to keep us on our toes, doesn't it, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly
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