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Thoughts on North American Baking

The first thing that anyone from Europe will notice: recipes use volume, e.g. cups. I admit there are a couple for recipes that also uses cups but I only really know one. Cups seem to me not very precise, you could use too much, too little etc. I know you are suppose to level it off, but that still does not seem precise to me. I would say that it depends on how you grow up and probably on your personal preferences. I like grams a lot cause I can do 36g if I like (with an electric scale anyway).

Because volume is used there are recipes out there with ml for dry ingredients. Now that just throws me off my game completely. My husband has a cooking book called “Recipes for Young Adults – Metric Editon”. Metric in my book means grams, kilos and so on. All recipes are in ml which is metric but not if you use it for dry ingredients. Of course I use the cups know unless I use a German recipe, still, I am not overly happy with it.

Another discovery I made: butter. Salted butter. Never seen that in my life before. Even the margarine you put on you toast is salty. Ok, so I omit the salt from the recipe which is no problem unless you make buttercreme, then that just doesn’t work. This brings me to my biggest problem: unsalted butter is more expensive in Canada than salted butter. That is just not fair! I am officially protesting here.

Prices in general seem more expensive over here. There are price differences from store to store when it comes to products so I will use an approximate number to make it easy.
An example: 250g butter in Germany cost about 0.99 Euro cent, which is about 1.40 CAN$. The butter you can buy here comes in a bigger package, about 500g. So, 1.40 CAN$ times two makes 2.80 CAN$. How much do I usually pay for my butter? About 5 CAN$ and that’s approximately and before tax. You see my problem?

Btw, the same holds true for virtually any milk product, vegetables, fruits and so on. The only thing that seems really cheap in Canada: pop and chips.

Back to baking: I also found that there is more sugar in the recipes than need be. I usually reduce the amount of sugar I use by 1/4 or 1/2 cup. The recipes you will find here though are original when it comes to sugar. I indicate any changes I make to a recipe. The sweetness thing not only holds true for the cakes itself but also for the decoration of those cakes. The buttercreme recipe I found from Wilton was butter and icing sugar, a lot of icing sugar. Or fondant is pretty much only sugar.

This leads me to yet another difference: decorating. I have to be honest, that is quite an art that exists here, which is truly amazing. You can be sure I will take part in one of Wilton’s cake decorating classes. On the downside, there seems to be little variation to what type of cake you decorate, e.g. chocolate cake, white cake…that’s seems to be pretty much it. (Please tell me if I am wrong, this is merely based on observation.)

Anyway, these are some of the differences I have noticed, and although it seems I dislike that a lot, be assured I get used to it and work my way around it.


2 responses »

  1. Thank you for your thoughts on North American baking :)!
    Dairy products are ridiculously cheap in Germany because they’re state-subsidized.. I usually use vegetable oil for baking cakes, cupcakes, or muffins. It’s not only cheaper, but also healthier and more environmentally friendly. For cookies I use margarine. Maybe that could be a wallet-friendly alternative?
    Although the Anglo American buttercream is a lot easier and faster to make and a lot better for piping, I do prefer German buttercream, because it’s not so sweet and it works well with fondant as well. I, too, reduce the amount of sugar by usually 1/3 (same with German recipes though) and I don’t eat the fondant on cakes. However, I still eat far too much cake and sweets *sighs*… I’d love to travel to North America just to try those original baked goodies! Never been to Canada, but always wanted to. Two years ago I intended to apply for a semester abroad in Vancouver but ended up in Tokyo instead. That’s about the closest I ever got to Canada T_T…

  2. I am from Europe but I spent 14 years in USA and now I am here in Canada. I agree with you on many aspects, there is to much sugar in recipes here, when I make american recipe I always use less sugar… I just found your blog because I was looking for “white cheese” (quark cheese) and I read on your post that I can find it in Superstore. In USA it was easier to find in Chicago area where I lived but here in this city I have not seen yet. I also just found out that Liberte makes them, I have to look for quark cheese in Superstore. If I will not find it I will try to make it from your recipe. Congratulations on your pregnancy:)


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