I’m not talking about laundry folks, I’m talking about baking – as in, how to fold in ingredients. Folding is a simple technique that I often overlooked or ignored when I first started cooking. Then, I saw Ina Garten prepare a Blue Cheese Souffle on Barefoot Contessa and realized how essential it is when preparing light and fluffy dishes.
The goal of folding is to delicately combine two ingredients or mixtures that weigh differently, while incorporating air. If you simply stir ingredients together, instead of folding them, you’ll end up with a dense, deflated final product. Imagine a souffle that didn’t puff up or a birthday cake as thin as a pancake?!
Since you may be whipping up a baked good or two for your Valentine this week, I want to share a few quick steps on how to fold. Your specific recipe may vary slightly, but this is the general concept:
1. Separate your light mixture (i.e. flour, baking powder, salt) and heavy mixture (i.e. sugar, eggs, melted butter) into two bowls.
2. Pour 1/3 to 1/4 of your light mixture on top of your heavy mixture.
3. With a large rubber spatula, cut down the center of the mixtures. Be sure the spatula glides along the bottom of the bowl.
4. Pull the spatula along one side of the bowl, scraping along the side and bottom.
5. As you pull the spatula out of the bowl, allow the some of the heavy mixture to fall on top of the light mixture.
6. Turn the bowl one quarter clockwise and repeat until the ingredients are combined.
The final product should be fully combined without any remaining streaks. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the final mix, but you get the picture…)