Cooking techniques

The preparation directions in a recipe indicate exactly how to mix the ingredients. It is important to know the difference between words such as beat, cream, fold, and stir. They do not produce the same results. For example, recipe directions say to “fold” when it is necessary to mix a light, airy food with a heavier one, whereas “beating” makes a mixture very smooth. Likewise, recipe directions say to “cream” when it is necessary to work the food until it is soft and creamy, whereas “stirring” combines the ingredients in a mixture until they are evenly distributed.

Fold
Use a rubber spatula or a flat spoon and gentle motions when “folding.” Never use an electric mixer to fold. It is important to keep the mixture light and airy.

  1. Pour or spoon the lighter mixture on top of the heavier one.
  2. Cut down through the center of the food to the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Slide the spatula across the bottom and up the side of the bowl, bringing some of the heavier food to the top.
  4. As the spatula reaches the top, turn it back toward the center of the bowl.
  5. Turn the bowl a quarter turn.
  6. Cut through the center again, fold, turn the bowl and repeat until mixed.

Whisk
Use a wire whisk to beat lightly and quickly with a wrist motion.

Adding Eggs
Add an egg to the ingredients very carefully. Break one egg at a time into a small dish, and check that it is fresh before adding it to the mixture. Never break an egg over the mixing bowl because if the egg is not fresh, everything in the mixing bowl will have to be discarded. A rotten smell or greenish egg whites are clues that the egg is not fresh. Discard it. If the recipe calls for more than one egg, add each egg to the mixture in the mixing bowl before breaking another egg into the same dish.

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