Today’s baking tip may sound rather odd, but it’s one I use almost every time I bake. For whatever reason, my mixing bowls are always cold. Even during the summer. The kitchen itself doesn’t feel cold, but the bowls are. Maybe because they are metal? I also experienced this at my sister’s house–which is 2 states away. So, I’m guessing that other people may be experiencing “cold bowl syndrome.”
The reason bowl temperature is important when mixing batter, especially cake batter, is that you want any butter and eggs you’re beating to become fluffy. This is particularly important in gluten-free baking, when you want the butter and eggs to contain as much as air as possible to allow the leaveners, like baking powder, to work well. Also, you want the butter and eggs to combine nicely. But neither of these things will happen if your bowls are too cold–because bowl temperature will affect the temperature of your ingredients. And cold butter won’t become fluffy. Also, if your butter and eggs aren’t mixing well, they will look curdled. Then your batter will not be smooth. And, your resulting baked item won’t be as uniform as you would want.
Note: Of course, all of this assumes that you bring your ingredients to room temperature before starting your mixing process–which you should always try to do.
Anyway, I have learned that I often need to bring my bowls to room temperature before mixing my batter. Do do this, I run the outside of the mixing bowl under very warm water for a few seconds. I then dry off the bowl and proceed with my recipe. Sometimes I need to do this in the middle of the mixing process. If my butter and eggs for cake batter look curdled together during the mixing process, it means that my ingredients, and my bowl, are too cold. If this happens, I will take the bowl, with the ingredients, and run the outside of it under the warm water again. Then I dry off the bowl and proceed with the mixing process.