Creaming method is commonly used in baking especially while making whole wheat cakes and other cakes and cookies. In this method, as the name suggests, the cream is made by blending shortening fat and sugar together. This is the reason why it is also called the sugar-shortening method.
In this technique, ingredients of whole wheat cake (or any other end product) having high-fat content are mixed together so as to give aeration to these contents. Butter and sugar are beaten together to incorporate air in them.
Creaming can be done either manually by using a spatula or mechanically by using hand beaters or stand mixers.
What happens during Creaming?
In creaming, as we begin to cream sugar and fat with a spatula or a hand beater, it may be dense. After a minute of beating, it becomes like clay and it keeps getting softer. It is so because air pockets are created with every turn. The more we beat, the stronger the network gets.
When sugar crystals with sharp edges are beaten with butter, tiny air pockets are created and are trapped in fats. The quantity of air pockets increases if the crystals are smaller and the texture of the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
Since caster sugar has smaller and sharper crystals, it can hold more air pockets and is this preferred over granulated sugar and icing sugar.
Why are air pockets important?
During baking, the air pockets that were created while creaming would expand and give a light and fluffy texture.
The air pockets also expand on:
- the release of carbon dioxide when baking powder and baking soda react
- getting heated to a definite temperature
- getting filled with steam that is created by the liquid ingredients
WHEN SHOULD YOU STOP CREAMING?
Butter won’t stick to sides of the mixing bowl as you begin to beat butter and sugar together, but gradually when you keep on mixing both, it will start sticking to the sides and will become pale in colour. The texture will now be fluffier and this is the time when you should be creaming no more. Continuing this process may turn the cream into butter.
Also, your end baked product may be dense, greasy, and flat if you overdo creaming.
CURDLING OF THE CREAMED MIXTURE
When the fats are separated from the liquids, it is known as curdling.
Why does it happen? It happens mostly because:
· The fats and the liquids used are not having the same temperature
· Liquids or eggs are been added really fast to creamed mixture
It is important to add the eggs really slowly to the creamed mixture because egg yolk coats the air cells which are formed during the creaming method and help them in expanding. This enables them to be able to hold the liquid ingredients like milk, egg whites, etc.) without getting curdled.
If you would be too quick in adding the eggs, the egg yolks would not be able to coat the air cells properly. This would not let the air cells hold the liquid ingredients. This would ultimately result in the curdling of the mixture.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Make sure that the butter/ shortening you will be using for creaming while making a whole wheat cake or refined flour cake or cookies should be at room temperature, probably around 20 ̊C – 21 ̊C. This is important because since the cold butter is not very soft it can’t trap the air quickly and if the butter is warm it would be so soft that the friction would be created and the air pockets may burst.
High speed while creaming using a hand beater or a stand mixer may burst the air pockets so keep the speed at medium.