Originally Posted by AnnieCahill
What I do, is determine what I want to bake, then find several top rated recipes for that item. I read through EVERY review-what people liked, didn't like, changed, etc. Then I make notes and combine elements from all of those recipes. For example, last night I baked a pan of caramel apple cheesecake bars. I combined four different recipes I found on the web. I ended up deviating from the original recipe (Paula Deen) entirely. I have some good solid recipes that I found in cookbooks or on the web to which I have only made slight changes. Unless you know baking science well, it will be difficult to develop a brand new recipe from scratch. I don't know many people who do that.
I totally agree. One more thing I suggest which I did was to read baking science textbooks that explain the 'why.' Understanding bakers ratios also helps A LOT. Once you know the function of each ingredient, and how to balance different quantities of it relative to the other ingredients to get a specific result, creating your own recipe would be a lot easier.
Another important aspect of recipe development is the method. How is it put together? That makes a HUGE difference in the result you get. Many times the recipe isn't as important as the method. I've heard that one can post a recipe but the method/instructions would be 'privileged' information. Knowing when to add what, how to add it, for how long to mix, and at what temp to bake etc make such a difference that two bakers can use the same recipe and end up with different tasting results. This happened once in class (I'm in Pastry school); same recipe and each group had different cakes.