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ginger in baking recipes

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  • A Fish Called Wanda Nov 29, 2004 02:45 PM
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I have a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that calls for ginger (I think they mean the dried powder ginger that is sold as a spice). Can I use finely grated fresh ginger (I can get it to the pureed consistency using a microplane grater)? Would the proportions be about the same?

Thanks :)

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  1. p
    pecan pie wife

    Ginger in baking recipes refers to dried ginger. And dried ginger has a totally different character than fresh (it has less bite and more subtle spiciness), so I wouldn't really recommend the substitution, especially in something delicately flavored like a pumpkin cheesecake.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pecan pie wife
      p
      petuniaprufrock

      I worked in a bakery where we made ginger cakes and muffins. I always used a combination of fresh, powdered, and usually threw in a handful of bakers cut crystalized ginger chunks for extra added gingerlicious flavor and a fun texture suprise.

    2. I think that would be very interesting to use fresh ginger, but you need a lot more of it-- like 3 or 4 times as much as the dried version is the general rule, I think. I have some dried whole ginger root at home, and they are about 1/3 the size of a fresh ginger root. Incidentally, these are a great option -- they don't get stale like already ground ginger, and it grates to a powder very easily with a microplane.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jess
        c
        culinary nerd

        Powdered dried ginger has less flavor than fresh--I know that in most leafy herbs, the flavor is concentrated by removing the water in the drying process, so it is suggested that one use 3-4 times as much fresh herb as dried.

        This does not carry over into fresh ginger root garlic or onion--in those cases, the dried versions have much less flavor. Try tasting them side by side.

        3-4 times the amount of fresh ginger as ground in a cheesecake recipe would be distinctly overpowering.

        1. re: culinary nerd

          I would have agreed with you a month ago, before I got my whole dried ginger root from Penzey's. I was stunned at how potent the freshly powdered stuff was. a teaspoon of fresh ginger would not be as strong as a teaspoon of what I had. It's definitely a different taste, though, and you're right, 3 to 4 times as much is too much (9 teaspoons!). And if you're talking about already ground, fresh is stronger.

          I would go at LEAST one to one, probably more, but I really like ginger.

      2. b
        babette feasts

        I would use fresh ginger, but not three or four times the amount dried, unless you REALLY like ginger. I think you would be safe using the same amount as is called for dry. And of course, start with a small amount, taste, and adjust.

        Incidently, too much fresh ginger can curdle milk when heated together - I found this out a few years ago when I was working on a ginger creme anglaise recipe and trying to get it extra-zingy by adding fresh ginger juice. Not to worry you, cheesecake batter would probably be a lot more difficult to curdle.

        1. Another point: it shouldn't make much difference in something like pumpkin pie or cheesecake, but as I learned the hard way, using fresh ginger in a recipe designed for powdered or crystallized adds extra moisture, which may affect some recipes.