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Jun 18, 2012 09:49 PM

How do you create a baking recipe?

I do a lot of baking but I follow recipes. How do I compose my own recipes? I have no idea. Thanks so much :-)

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  1. It helps to think not about recipes in baking but about formulas and techniques. Formulas are organized around the percentage of flour in a formula and is called 'Baker's Percentage' . The techniques you mostly already know: ie the muffin method, the creaming method.

    As an exercise: re write a favorite recipe into bakers percentage and I think you will start to see them differently in a way that will free up your creativity.

    Here is a like that explains Baker's Percentage better than I could:

    It also might be a good idea to consider getting a Baking/Pastry textbook. There are some good ones out there.

    Good luck, and I hope I didn't make this sound harder than it needs to be!

    1 Reply
    1. re: AAQjr

      While I don't bake, I do create my own recipes for other things. After having my husband ask, "Hey, can you make this again?" repeatedly and the answer always being no, I've learned to keep some scratch paper and a pen in the kitchen with me while I play. I scribble things quickly, sometimes even with my non dominant hand, while I work. Once I've tasted the finished product, I clean up and start typing my notes in a much cleaner format in Evernote.

    2. In addition to the bakers percentages, it's important to understand your ingredients so you have a good understanding how to swap out fats, or flours, or sugars to achieve the texture or flavor you are looking for. You can start with a recipe you like and know is successful, then switch out ingredients to attempt specific results.

      1. Which are you most interesting in: writing, creating something new, or going beyond the existing recipes?

        Particular in baking, all recipes are variations on existing ones. Are you happy with the recipes that you use? Do you ever make changes to suit your tastes, or just to try something different.

        What, in particular, are you baking? Innovation in bread baking is quite different from innovation in cakes or muffins or cookies. With cakes most innovation is in flavoring, frostings, and decorations. Muffins (and quick breads) let you experiment with different grains, fillings like raisins and nuts, and purees (banana, pumpkin, etc).

        1. I see from your profile that you have asked a lot of questions about different kinds of baked goods, from macarons to rice crispy bars.

          I occurs to me that if you want baking recipes that are quite novel, you need to take a lot of small steps. Start with known recipes that work, and try some variations. Many won't work, but a few might be an improvement (or more to your liking). Record those, and keep experimenting.

          Have you watched or read ATK? It's apparent that they do a lot of research, looking at many variations. Then they test many times. Some improvements are intentional, some are accidental.

          2 Replies
            1. re: mymeowzer

              Americas Test Kitchen - the people who claim to test lots of recipes (and products) and come up with the best. See them on PBS, or magazine rack, or in your public library.

          1. I've done an enormous amount of baking -- but it's far easier to find a basic recipe you like and make a variation than it is to start from scratch.

            I have a standard cookie base, a white cake base, and a brownie base -- and there isn't much you can't do from there.