The Scoop on Flour

Our test kitchen shares everything you need to know for successful baking.

Mary Allen Perry
October 2004: From Our Kitchen

Quick Bread Techniques
Several different methods are used when mixing the batters for muffins and quick breads, and each produces a unique texture. Beating softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy helps to create the delicate cakelike crumb of Lemon Tea Bread.

Parmesan Cheese Muffins and Whole Wheat Date-Nut Bread have a coarser, more breadlike texture. In this method, the liquid and dry ingredients are first stirred together in separate bowls. Making a well in the center of the dry ingredients creates a space so the two can be quickly and easily combined without overmixing.

A pastry blender makes fast work of cutting butter or shortening into small pieces and combining them with flour for light, high-rising Homemade Biscuits. When the dough is baked in a hot oven, the butter melts, creating tender, flaky layers.