By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
When the pandemic was peaking, staying indoors and finding little entertainment in other activities was not as therapeutic as home-cooked food provided you. The best of all was splurging on your favourite dessert/and even more fun was making them from the scratch. This also led to the inception of several home bakers, making their creations spread happiness by reaching their extended family and peers.
While the pandemic has loosened its grip and the lockdown lifestyle waning away, the excitement and energy to make large batches of cakes and cookies for extended family and friends have also gone down. It's reduced to your own family and in most cases also you. Not to lose the charm, you are an artist when it comes to baking but a reduction in consumption size can confuse with the number of ingredients required to balance the end product.
To make your dessert truly proportionate while engaging in small-batch baking, Chef Devashree Muni, Founder, of Cocoa Cellar, a dessert kitchen selling alcohol and non-alcohol-infused desserts in Mumbai, shares some tips that you might like and also incorporate the next time that you pick up your spatula to bring those soulful ingredients together.
Use existing household cooking equipment to the fullest - Making the small-batch cooking experience truly universal as they can be cooked in those small utensils that you already have at your home. Be it a jar cake that you want to prepare or just a couple of cookies to be made on an oven-safe plate, your dessert can be baked with existing household kitchenware and you need not go on a shopping spree to get that choicest bakeware.
You must have tried it but cakes turn out to be made just as fluffy and flavourful in a conventional pressure cooker as it does in an oven. A couple of videos online will help you show how to do it ideal if you haven't done it before.
Know and buy which equipment you cannot do without - While small-batch cooking can be fun experimentally, you want the results to be just as you desire them to be. For making them perfect, certain kitchenware like mini spatulas, measuring spoons, muffin trays, etc, for you know your measurements to add baking powder must be perfect to make your cake achieve the ideal fluff and not smell like there's more baking powder used than needed.
Also, a cupcake needs that cake molded silicon tray to get the ideal shape. Small tart pans ranging between 4 and 3/4 inches in diameter can be a good addition to your kitchen. If you are fond of layer cakes, you will want all the layers to sit one above another perfectly, for which a 6-inch cake tin will give you just what you want.
Understand which recipes work in both big and small batches - Given that you are not a beginner in what you do as a scaled-down version of what you are baking, you are good to make most of the smaller versions of actually traditionally-sized baked desserts. Select ingredients recipes can be made in a smaller version without any hassle. Knowing substitutes for eggs in the vegetarian version and the quantity for the same in a small batch is needed. If using yogurt, you must know its consistency of it and what kind of texture you want in your dessert.
The real-time adjustment makes the baked goodies relishing - Baking in general is a cooking process that needs your constant attention. It becomes all the more crucial in the case of small batch cooking as you have made it a scaled-down version of its usual size. Say you are melting butter in a smaller amount in the same pan used for big-sized batches, ensure that the heat applied is lesser in degree and for a lesser time to avoid burning.
If your cake size is small, your container size usually reduces too due to which the thickness increases. In this case, you might want to cook the cake slightly for more time than in the case of large-size baking to ensure even cooking of the cake. Also, scaled-down amounts need to be taken care of with the consistency of the cake batter premix and the optimal use of yeast to avoid a rubber-like texture.
The time of baking remains the same so do not hurry - A scaled-down version doesn't mean the cooking process gets faster. Know that the consistency of the batter is just how it is in the bigger batches, so you hurrying up can leave the batter uncooked, spoiling all your efforts. So relax and let it take time as best things take time to happen. (SJ/IANS)