TEST KITCHEN

In our test kitchen we create recipes and new products for our own Sugar Fix customers; develop, test, and troubleshoot recipes for Baking Fix clients; and test cookbook recipes. There’s always a curiosity about our test kitchen and people ask how it works.

Cookbook Testing is straightforward – we are given recipes and follow the instructions to find any potential problems. Once the product is baked, we take pictures, evaluate, and write a report. Usually we keep the tangible results (yum!) but occasionally our client asks us to ship it overnight.

Recipe Development is more involved. We solicit our clients’ ideas and expectations, discuss issues such as business (customer demographics, competitors, price points, etc), production capability (equipment, labor, etc), and product requirements (nutrition, flavor, packaging, shelf life). We then develop signature recipes for their businesses and (if part of the contract) write labels, define packaging, and suggest marketing strategies.

Troubleshooting involves looking at problem recipes and, er, Fixing them. Typically, many clients have been using a formula that suddenly goes awry. Several of our clients in this category, however, are not in business; they are home bakers who are having difficulty with a favorite recipe and need help.

When testing, it’s important to keep accurate and complete notes. This written record enables us to refer back to any test for information pertinent to our work. Let’s see how we developed a Lemon Raspberry recipe for one of our clients:

First we divide the batter amongst several different pans.

Smaller cakes have fresh raspberries sprinkled on top and then pressed in.

Larger cakes get several portions of raspberry jam which are swirled into the batter.

Cakes are cooled to room temperature.

Small cakes are coated with glaze which seeps onto the raspberries for a sweet-tart taste explosion. Larger cakes get a string icing which allows the raspberry swirls to peek through.

Before washing the bowl we scraped out excess batter clinging to the inside. Our bonus 4" cake has fresh raspberries in the top layer!

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