America’s Test Kitchen is a PBS television show that features recipes, product reviews, and tips on cooking and baking. They test what works so you can put into practice their hard work. Read on for baking tips that will make you a better baker and impress family and friends.
Is it okay to bake two cookie sheets or cookie trays at the same time?
According to America’s Test Kitchen this is a no no. Even though you might think it’ll save you time, the two cookie sheets will bake unevenly. In their test, the pan of cookies on the top rack browned more around the edges than the cookies on the bottom rack. They even rotated the cookie sheets halfway through baking.
Bottom Line: Bake one pan of cookies at a time.
Flaky Pie Crust
How do you get tender, flaky pie crust?
America’s Test Kitchen made pie crusts with the aim of a tender, flaky pie crust every time. The test kitchen experts discovered that using water alone made for a tough pie crust. When flour and water are mixed, they form gluten and too much gluten can result in a tough crust. The problem was with the crust being too dry. It needs to be soft so it works out easily under the rolling pin. To solve the problem, they discovered that using one-quarter cup each of water and vodka solved the problem of dry crust. The reason using half vodka works well instead of all water is that gluten is not formed when alcohol (vodka) and flour are combined. Don’t worry. The alcohol cooks away and the pie crust is tender and flaky.
Another tip: Chill the pie crust dough for two or more hours before rolling it out. This added step lets the gluten strands relax.
More PBS Test Kitchen Articles:
Taste Tests — Cinnamon
Taste Tests — Dark Chocolate
Taste Tests — Unsalted Butter