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How Ingredient Temperatures Affect a Recipe

Ice

The temperature of ingredients can play a big part in whether you have a successful day or a really bad day in the kitchen. Let's learn how temperature can help or destroy the outcome of a recipe. 

Cold Eggs

  • Are much easier to separate
  • Produce a lower volume and takes longer to whip egg whites
  • Can create a curdled mixture if mixed into room temperature butter

Room Temperature Eggs

  • Blends easily into creamed butter
  • Provides higher volume when whipped
  • Creates a more stable meringue

Cold Cream

  • Whips faster creating yummy dessert toppings
  • Will harden cooking caramel too quickly when trying to make a sauce

Room Temperature Cream

  • Curdles when you try to whip it
  • Is great for producing homemade butter quickly

Cold Butter

  • Is great for providing flakiness to pie crusts and biscuits
  • Makes it hard to produce good volume in creamed butter
  • Increases mixing time when using a creaming method recipe

Melted Butter

  • Increases spread in cookies
  • Provides great moisture to muffins and quick breads
  • Shortens mixing time, but changes mixing method
  • Can not trap air to give volume to a product

Granulated Sugar

  • Creates air cells for volume in creaming butter
  • Can be used in a decorative manner
  • Helps to stabilize common meringues, but stability does not last long

Cooked Sugar

  • Can be used in a multitude of applications depending on temperature
  • Is where caramel comes from
  • Creates a stable meringue

Fresh Fruit

  • Is fragile and can break apart in mixing
  • Can stain batters creating unappetizing color
  • Provides great flavor
  • Provides a beautiful appearance to end product
  • Is best when in season

Frozen Fruit

  • Thickens batters quickly when mixed in
  • Sometimes breaks down when thawed
  • Can be used year round

When dealing with temperatures in a recipes, know that items of similar temperature blend together easier. If the recipe specifically gives the direction to blend ingredients of two different temperatures, there is usually a technique to do so. The most common is called tempering. In the case of making a custard, the hot cream is poured into room temperature eggs. This is done by tempering so the eggs do not coagulate in the mixing process.

Tempering - the process where a cold or room temperature ingredient is slowly heated by gradually adding in small amounts of a hot liquid

Want to learn more? Check out our baking course

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