Taking the BOO-HOOs Out of Baking – Pan Preparation

You’ve taken time out of your busy schedule to do something extra special for your family—perhaps, something like baking a well-loved special treat.

The dusty family cookbook or recipe file comes out of hibernation.

“Now, where is that recipe for Grandma’s banana bread?” you mutter to yourself. “It’s got to be here somewhere! Ahh, there it is!”

You follow the recipe “just like Grandma made it.” Your expectations of this delicious love gift are as high as the quick bread that is rising in the oven. As you peer through the oven door’s glass into the well-lighted oven cavity, you are so very elated that you haven’t forgotten how to make this family-treasured snack. Out of your mouth pleasingly pops, “Yes! Yes! I can still make it just like Grandma did!”

But after the timer dings, and the beautiful loaf of banana bread is removed from the oven to cool slightly, a “horse of another color” is about to ride into town.

“Why won’t this bread come out of the pan?” you vocalize in frustration as you try to turn out the bread onto a cooling rack. “Maybe if I shake the pan really rapidly, the bread will pop right out of there. After all, this never happened to Grandma!”

And then, as the lovingly made loaf of banana bread falls out of the pan not as a single loaf but into a myriad of pieces with some still stuck to the bottom of the pan, your words of frustration turn into growly “Grrs,” with exclamations of  “Rats!” or “Bummer!” or “How did this happen?” Or worse!

The Forgotten Step – Pan Preparation

Often recipes—especially family favorites that have been passed from generation to generation–forget to include a step that is so important to the success of the baking mission—prepping the pan.

“How in the world do I prep a pan,” you might ask? 

Let Miss NiNi help you solve this dilemma!

Fat-based cakes and quick breads made with butter, shortening, or oil need greased inside pan edges to ensure a clean release after baking.

Miss NiNi, along with many other bakers, takes this prepping a step further though. After greasing the inside edges, I “flour” the pan in order to create a barrier that keeps the fat from melting directly into the batter when it’s introduced to a hot oven. It’s as simple as sprinkling some all-purpose flour into the pan and shaking it around the greased edges. Turn the pan over and tap it onto a sheet of waxed paper to remove the excess flour. The pan is then ready to receive the batter.

Dear Readers, greasing and flouring the pan is especially important to do when making a Bundt cake. All of those beautiful curves and edges in the pan that will make your finished product a show stopper need adequate preparation for the cake to slide risk-free from the pan.

Your Secret Weapon

Now, catch this! There is a great product in your supermarket’s baking aisle that gives lightening speed to the above greasing and flouring pan prep process. It’s nonstick spray with flour. Look for it the next time you roll that grocery cart down the aisle. Miss NiNi and her team use this product at Miss NiNi’s Desserterie time after time. It works like a charm! Just ask the Miss NiNi bakers!

Do all baking pans need to be greased and floured before receiving batter, Dear Readers? No siree!

Foam-based cakes, such as angel food, sponge, and chiffon cakes, need the air that is trapped in egg foams or meringues for their volume. By no means, should those inside pans edges be “dressed” with a fat! It would make for too slippery a pole for the little “dears” to climb! The batter needs to stick to the sides of the pan for additional support and structure as the cake bakes.

Oh yes, remember, Dear Readers, when a foam-based cake is removed from the oven, turn the pan upside down. Rest assured, the cake will not fall out of the pan as it is cooling!

By remembering the answers to this important “To-Grease-or-Not-To-Grease” question, your time and effort in creating a gift of love in the kitchen will be highly rewarded with gleeful “Hoorays” rather than sorrowful “Boo-Hoos.”

Miss NiNi