There's an old adage that says "oil and water don't mix." It's usually used to explain people not getting along, but any cook or baker can attest to its literal truth. Bringing fat-based ingredients and water-based ingredients together in your baking requires emulsifiers such as lecithin, found naturally in egg yolks, soybeans and other foods. Adding lecithin to your baked goods improves their softness and keeping qualities, and it's especially useful for special-purpose baking such as low-fat, vegan or gluten-free recipes. Most health food stores stock soy-based lecithin in granular form for bakers.
Measure the ingredients for your favorite recipe, as you normally would.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of soy lecithin for every 3 cups of flour or flour substitutes called for in your recipe. If you're adding lecithin to improve a conventional recipe, 1 tablespoon is usually adequate. If you're making a vegan, low-fat or gluten-free recipe, which will rely more on lecithin for its texture, use 2 tablespoons.
Stir or whisk the lecithin into the dry ingredients, until they're thoroughly combined.
Mix and bake the recipe as you normally would. The lecithin will help the other ingredients combine efficiently, producing a smoother texture and softer crumb.
Tips & Warnings
- For recipes that are minimally mixed, such as muffins or quick breads, some bakers grind their lecithin granules to powder in a spice grinder. This helps the lecithin combine more effectively with the other ingredients.
- Lecithin quickly becomes rancid if it's stored at room temperature. Keep it in the refrigerator if you use it regularly, or in the freezer if you don't.
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