Are you a foodie who loves to bake? Do you find yourself looking for new recipes to try but always seem to come up short? Well, look no further! Today we’re going to teach you how to develop your recipes.
Not only will this make baking more fun and exciting, but it’ll also help you learn about the ingredients and flavors that work well together. So what are you waiting for?
Let’s get started!
Many people believe that some are born with a natural gift for recipes. However, this is not true! Just like anything else in life, practice makes perfect when it comes to recipe development. Recipe development is how home bakers can create their recipes or modify existing ones. However, anyone who has tried baking from scratch knows it can be a bit intimidating.
Developing a recipe can be a well-choreographed dance between research, testing, and tasting.
It typically starts with choosing the ingredients and then considering the method. After that, it’s just a matter of taste testing and tweaking until you have your perfect recipe!
In this post, you will learn tips and tricks to develop your recipes. Then, I’ll walk you through the steps for creating recipes so you can start baking up your creations. So don’t be afraid – get in the kitchen and try it!
To successfully interpret something or create something new, you must first understand what makes a technique or recipe so classic. Once you grasp that, it’s much easier to create something unique and different while also maintaining the integral components of what makes classics, well, classic.
Let’s Deep Dive!
Five Fundamental Pieces To Creating A Recipe:
- Individuals willing to become your taste testers- Have close friends or family (even a house cat if the recipe goes south!) that you can sample your recipes. For better or worse, I always invite friends to taste-test different inventions.
- Learn from your mistakes – If you’ve always wanted to have a signature recipe for a particular dish, but it doesn’t work out the first time, second, or third, don’t give up!
- Look for inspiration everywhere – For this point, I was going to say, “read a lot of cookbooks, blogs, and all that jazz,” but culinary inspiration comes from all places.
- Don’t use ingredients you don’t enjoy – Part of sharing original recipes through your website is knowing something works. If you’re opting to use ingredients you don’t enjoy to impress someone, by request, or whatever the case may be, you’re much less likely to want to bake it again.
- Know the basics – This kind of goes without saying, but knowing standard base recipes (like a basic biscuit) and general basic culinary techniques (like properly creaming butter and sugar) are essential to recipe development.
THE RECIPE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
As a general overview, here’s the process of developing a recipe.
Step 1: Idea & Research
Step 2: Draft a Preliminary Recipe
Step 3: Initial Recipe Test
Step 4: Taste Panel
Step 5: Additional Recipe Tests
Step 6: Final Recipe Write Up
You can refer back to this as a quick guide or reminder. But let’s dive into each step to help you grasp each concept.
1. Idea & Research
This first step is a really important part of the development process. It begins with an idea.
Think back to Phase 1 and how you have already chosen a niche or grouping of products you want to make and sell.
Now it’s time to start developing recipes for those products you want to sell. So whether you’re coming up with a unique and creative take on a classic recipe, want to recreate a recipe you had at a bakery, or are looking to make something healthier, it all starts with an idea.
From there, it’s on to research. Again, it’s essential to research and reference a variety of sources. The research goal is to take note of ingredient ratios, baking techniques, times, and oven temperatures.
I recommend looking at a few reputable test kitchens in addition to cookbooks and blogs. This variety will work as a guideline and encourage you to think creatively. The research step is not meant to drive your development; it’s intended to inform and lay the groundwork for it.
If you’re struggling to find ways to make a recipe your own, think of ingredients that you always enjoy baking with and take note of what’s in season. Sometimes, it’s helpful to take a recipe you know and love to start the development. And change a few ingredients to start experimenting. For example, can you make the recipe using whole-wheat flour? Or maybe try a marinade that’s more citrus-forward instead of chocolate-forward.
2. Draft A Preliminary Recipe
Once you have done your research, it’s on to sift through the recipes. Notice which baking or cooking techniques stand out to you, take note of the ratios of ingredients, and compare baking times and cooking temperatures.
I write and rewrite my preliminary recipes a couple of times before I think it feels right. So find what works for you! I also find using a recipe testing template when writing and testing recipes incredibly helpful. (attached here is a super simple recipe template for getting started).
Sometimes I print off the recipe and make handwritten notes; other times, I work digitally and make changes to the document. So again, do what works for you. Just be vigilant about taking notes!
3. INITIAL TEST
The initial test is where things get fun! You may have a plan written out but be prepared to change.
The ingredient amounts in my initial recipes constantly change, even if just slightly. Ingredients may be increased, decreased, or taken out altogether on the spot. Ingredients might even be added!
Techniques (creaming, melting, whisking, etc.) or ingredient applications (peeled, diced, sliced, etc.) may also be altered during the initial test. This is where you work out the kinks! The takeaway—you may have a plan, but listen to your instincts and change it as needed.
The initial test is also the time to get weight measurements of ingredients (having a digital food scale is essential). It’s beneficial to have measurement options when writing up the final recipe.
Cup measurements are often just fine, but weight measurements are beneficial for baking recipes and make it easier for you to purchase ingredients sold by the pound. Grams are more accurate; we will use grams to cost out your recipes. If you use a previous recipe, convert the cups to grams with a baking scale for more accuracy. (In the next lesson, we will cost out your recipes; grams are the best for that).
Don’t forget to record the times and temperatures! Accurate bake times are important to creating a successful recipe. But I would argue that visual & smelling cues are just as important, if not more. Some ovens just run hotter than others, which can completely change the outcome of a baked good. This is why visual cues are essential.
In your initial test, be vigilant about taking notes on what is happening to the food at specific steps in the baking process.
- Did you mix the dough just until it came together? Or did you mix it until everything was thoroughly incorporated?
- Did you pull the cookies from the oven when their edges were set and their tops were still soft or did you pull them when their edges were pretty dry and their tops yielded to pressure?
- How has the smell changed? Is it toasty? Or “fragrant” (often used to describe when garlic and dried herbs are done cooking)?
- Has the color changed? Are the tops golden or deep brown?
The in-depth descriptors will not make it into the final written recipe, but they will help you write clear and concise instructions. They’ll also be an excellent reference for the additional recipe tests to come.
4. Taste Panel
This is where you evaluate whether or not the recipe was a success. This can include everything from process and timing to ingredient amounts when ingredients are added and the recipes that may be missing.
RECIPE CHARACTERISTICS TO EVALUATE (THIS IS JUST A STARTING POINT):
- Is there enough salt?
- Does it need more acid?
- Or a dash of savory to offset the sweet?
Balance of flavors
- Is there one flavor taking over the dish?
- Or is a spice not coming through enough?
- Could something be enhanced by an additional ingredient currently not in the recipe, like lemon juice?
- Is the dough baked throughout?
- Are they overbaked?
- Is it too grainy?
- Too greasy?
- Is it smooth where it should be chunky?
- Maybe it’s too dense or too airy?
- Is there enough icing for each serving?
- Are the serving sizes big enough, or maybe too big?
- What are the ratios of ingredients? For example, too many dried cranberries to nuts? Maybe you have too much-dried fruit?
- Could this recipe benefit from broiling at the end?
- Maybe creaming the butter would be better than melting it?
- Should the zest be added earlier? Or maybe it should be added later so it doesn’t burn and become bitter.
5. Additional Recipe Tests
Keep testing until the recipe passes the taste panel! A few tricks of the trade—half batches are magic, and testing multiple variables in one test can save time and cost.
Testing a half batch is pretty self-explanatory. So how do you test multiple variables? Here are a few examples:
When testing muffins:
Test a quarter of the batch with paper lines, another with nonstick spray, some with nonstick spray plus flour, and some just bare.
When testing cookies:
Split a batch of cookies and bake at different times or temperatures. For example, bake half the batch for 12 minutes and the other half at 15. Or try baking half at 325-degrees and the other half at 350-degrees.
Then, Draft, Test, Taste—& Draft, Test, Taste Again! (& Again!)
6. Final Recipe Write Up
This last step is where it all comes together. This should be pretty easy if you have taken good notes during testing! Rewrite the recipe with fresh eyes and focus on accuracy and instruction tone.
SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT
What Equipment Do You Need to Make Your Bakery Products?
- Stand Mixer Or Hand Mixer
- Rubber Spatula
- Mixing Bowls
- Bench Scraper
- Spinning Turntable
- Offset Spatula And Straight Spatulas
- Silicone Mat
- Baking Sheet Pans
- Cooling Rack
- Parchment Paper And Wax Paper
- Muffin Cups Or Cupcake Liners
- Muffin Tins Or Cupcake Pans
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
- Sauce Pots
- Oven Mitts
- Kitchen Towels
- Baking Scales
- Ice Cream Scoop With A Trigger Release
- Cake Pans
- and so many more…
Start with the actual equipment & supplies you need to make your product, and then you can add on to your wish list and buy others as required. But don’t fall for the one that’s so cute that you must buy it for your business and then never use it.
- Get creative, think outside of the box, and don’t be tempted to copy (not cool!).
- Writing a preliminary recipe will keep you focused and organized. A good recipe offers both cooking times and visual cues.
- Something might taste good, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. Ask yourself questions about a recipe’s taste and texture and the process and ingredient list.
- A recipe “passes the taste panel” when there isn’t anything you would change about the recipe.
- Write out all the ingredients & steps so you can easily replicate the recipe again and again.
- For the recipe development template, CLICK HERE to download it.
You May Also Enjoy:
- How to Build a Cake Like a Pro in 4 Steps
- DIY Cake Decorating Starter Kit
- Baking & Cake Decorating Terms You Should Know
Are you a foodie who loves to bake? Do you find yourself looking for new recipes to try but always seem to come up short? Well, look no further! Today we’re going to teach you how to develop your recipes. Not only will this make baking more fun and exciting, but it’ll also help you learn about the ingredients and flavors that work well together. So what are you waiting for?
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