This Is Why Your Eggs Need To Be At Room Temperature When Baking
It pays to be extra precise when baking a cake.
“Baking is a science” is the oft-mentioned excuse when something goes wrong with a recipe. Many are more comfortable with the casualness of cooking because you can add a pinch of this and that at different stages of the cooking process and usually, end results will be the same. Baking, however, requires more precision, from the measurements of each ingredient to the exact temperature of the oven when you finally put your batter to be baked.
Being precise is particularly important when it comes to temperature. Whether it’s your ingredients or your oven, how hot or cold something is plays an important part in baking.
Take eggs, for example: Eggs react better when these have been allowed to sit out and come to room temperature than if it were used straight from the refrigerator. While there are cases when this doesn’t matter, more likely than not, it can matter.
Room temperature eggs are easier, and will more easily, incorporate into a batter and become airy versus a cold egg. That’s because the cold helps keep the proteins tight (and that’s why whole eggs are easier to separate when cold). Imagine yourself as the egg: you are more likely to curl up into a ball when cold to stay warm. That’s what the egg proteins are doing: curling up tight against the cold. However, when an egg is warm or at room temperature, the warmth “melts” or loosens the consistency of the egg. This is why egg whites are more easily whipped to stiff peaks when warm.
Plus, when eggs are present in a batter, it not only acts as a binder, it also acts as a leavener. The air trapped in the beaten and whipped eggs will help with the final texture of the baked good. It’s not just the baking soda and baking powder that help cakes rise; so too do eggs. Angel food and chiffon cakes are perfect examples of eggs’ leavening abilities.
The butter that you beat with sugar should also be warm enough to be softened, usually at around room temperature. That’s because when you add a cold egg to a creamed butter mixture, the cold can “stiffen” the already softened and warmed butter, making you work harder to warming up the mixture again.
For your next baking session, ready your ingredients, including your eggs, so you not only have a cake batter that will easily come together, you won’t have to work harder to get your ingredients to work together, too.