Who doesn’t like gooey, fudgy, delicious brownies? Baking the perfect brownie is an art and a science. Simply put, brownies are a combination of four main ingredients: egg, chocolate, butter, and flour. However, chefs and bakers confess that using quality ingredients is the key to a good brownie, and the choices you make can make or break the result.
Things You Must Know About Baking Fudgy Brownies
1. Couverture Vs. Compound
Baking brownies involves using two types of chocolate: the couverture and compound. While couverture contains cocoa butter and cocoa mass as main ingredients, in a compound, cocoa butter is replaced with hydrogenated vegetable fats like Dalda.
Couverture chocolate is actual chocolate, while compound chocolate is artificial chocolate and is banned in many parts of the world. However, it is used widely in India.
Although couverture is expensive, professionals prefer couverture for coating, dipping, moulding, garnishing, and creating fudgy brownies. Of course, you need a considerable amount of quality chocolate to make good fudgy brownies.
2. Good Quality Ingredients
To get a tasty batch of brownies, every ingredient is essential. Before you choose the ingredient brand, you must know the quality of each ingredient and how it will affect your brownies. Just like good quality chocolate, you should use a good brand of flour for baking the brownies. Commercially, bakers use maida (white flour) for baking. Alternatively, you can use half a measure of maida and half a measure of atta.
Another essential point in baking is measuring the ingredients. You should measure the ingredients accurately and, ideally, use a scale. In baking brownies, precise measurements are vital for achieving the right flavour and texture.
Sifting breaks up the lumps in the dry ingredients and aerates them, ensuring the brownies are not dense. By sifting flour with dry ingredients like cocoa powder, it helps to mix them well before you combine them with wet ingredients. Sifting ensures no lumps in the dry mixture and makes it easy to incorporate them into the wet mixture.
5. Mix It Up
If you fail to take care of the mixing, your brownie can be a disaster. When you don’t mix your ingredients properly, your batter gets uneven, affecting your finished product. Bakers use the cut and fold method or the cut and pour technique to blend the mixture.
Overbeating the batter after the eggs have been added can break your brownies. Hence, do not continue mixing after your wet and dry ingredients have been blended well. Electric beaters are considered suitable to ensure consistency.
6. Sugary Matters
Granulated sugar is commonly used in baking. Since the fine crystals in granulated sugar don’t cake together, it is easy to measure, sprinkle onto food and dissolve into drinks. Using granulated sugar for baking brownies can spoil the product as granulated sugar caramelizes on baking and ruins the texture of the brownies. Although you can use powdered sugar instead of castor sugar, ensure you sieve it before mixing it with the brownie batter. There are no hard rules when it comes to adding sugar into your brownies. If you don’t want sugar, you can altogether avoid it in the mixture or reduce it.
7. Salted Butter vs. Butter
A major query most aspiring bakers have is about the use of butter. Unsalted butter is all cream, and the salted variety has salt added. Salted butter has a longer shelf life in the refrigerator than unsalted butter. If your brownie recipe specifies salted or unsalted butter, try to use it as prescribed. You can use unsalted butter if no type is mentioned, as it has a neutral yet creamy texture.
If you want to make brownies and you have only the salted butter, don’t worry. You can use salted and unsalted varieties interchangeably. For example, if you’ve only unsalted butter and your brownie requires salted butter, use unsalted butter and add salt in the recipe by 1/4 teaspoon for every 1/2 cup of butter.
8. Add Liquids In Batches
Milk can lend a smooth texture and flavour to your brownie, and it is preferred over others like water. When adding the liquids or milk into the mix, do not empty it in one shot. Instead, pour it in batches so that the mix doesn’t turn loose. Condensed milk can give a fudgy texture to your brownie. You can use mixed fruit juice instead of milk or include a tablespoon of coffee if you love the aroma.
9. Parchment Paper
Lining a baking pan with parchment paper is the easiest way to save time and energy when making brownies. Oil your parchment paper before you pour the batter. This way, after baking, you can lift the parchment paper and slice the brownies easily. Before putting the parchment paper, grease the pan or plate to prevent parchment paper from curling or moving in the pan or plate while pouring the mixture.
People often get confused over which side of parchment paper they should use. Since there aren’t any right or wrong sides to parchment paper, you can use any side as you prefer. The only thing to ensure is using a fresh sheet of parchment paper for each pan of brownies to get the best results.
10. Preparing The Oven
A common mistake people make while baking brownies is overbaking or underbaking them. For the perfect amount of fudginess in the brownies, you need to bake them for the exact amount of time mentioned in the recipe. Your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the bottom of the oven.
Also, while baking, ensure the heat is coming from the bottom of the cooking space and not from the top. Most ovens have two heating elements, one at the top and one at the button. During preheating, both heats up, but when baking brownies, the heat should come from the bottom.
11. Secret Of Ageing
It’s pretty tempting to take out the fudgy brownies from the oven and indulge in them directly. However, it would be best if you reined in your temptations. It is vital to let the brownies cool for 10-15 minutes before you take them out. Seasoned bakers use the trick of ageing the brownies at least for a day. You can prepare and keep the brownies one to three days in advance to have a better texture, and the flavour is enhanced.
It’s A Wrap!
Now, you have all the details required to make the most delicious fudgy brownies in town. If you like a reliable platform to help you in your baking journey, the workshops over at GoSocial are a perfect start. You not only pick up much-needed skills with live interactive workshops but also get a chance to learn in collaboration with your favourite creators. If you want to expand your brownie-baking skills into an impressive passion project, you know where to go!