The Fresh Loaf

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Scaling up my cookie recipe

beccad18's picture
beccad18

Scaling up my cookie recipe

I was hoping someone could help me with my cookie recipe and scaling it. The cookie comes out great at dose 1, but not so great at dose 10 (though delicious). What's a way I can tweak it to get better results? The cookie on the left was a test batch and was a dose 1 recipe. The cookie on the right was a dose 10 cookie. I had to bake the cookie a little longer to get it to fully cook through in the middle. It's still tasty but it seems it is giving off a little extra butter (and yeah it got way darker).

Also, I will just say, the test cookie on the left was baked right away from the dough and the one on the right was baked from frozen.  Both at 350 in a blodgett convection oven.

BUT I've been having a problem with this cookie and scaling it, so I do believe it's the recipe and not how it was baked.

LP14's picture
LP14

I don't consider The Kitchn a go-to source for baking advice, but they have a post on things to consider when scaling up a cookie recipe. From what you and they say, it sounds like you might look at your baking soda (indeed, looks like the one on the right rose fast and fell), ensure you're not over mixing, and (maybe) cool your pans in between batches. I would also weigh all the ingredients, including salt and baking soda, because volume inaccuracies might make a huge difference when you're scaling up 10x.

http://www.thekitchn.com/8-things-you-need-to-know-before-doubling-a-cookie-recipe-226141

beccad18's picture
beccad18

According to the site then, I maybe should only be using 4.5 tsp baking soda?  1/4 tsp baking soda to 1 cup flour (though dose 1 is 1.8c flour and .75 tsp and works well).  So 2180g of flour is a little over 18c, so divide by .25 and comes to 4.5.  

It's a dense chewy cookie, so it should fall a little bit.... but maybe that's why my edges are browning and melting so quickly.  I'm just so nervous dropping it that much that it also won't work. 

So maybe is there any way of fixing this dough? Lol.  Or am I screwed on the whole batch?

(Also, as the recipe is in grams I do weigh, and everything goes on a fresh sheet pan).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

instead of number of eggs, go by weight of eggs.  Many times this is where x times the recipe gets into trouble.  

To get the weigh of one egg, remove the shells and weigh 3 eggs, then divide by 3.  If you are careful, you can then separate the yolks out and weigh them, dividing by 3.  Might as well do the whites at the same time and write down for reference for whatever sized eggs you are using.

Lechem's picture
Lechem

When you measure by volume, (teaspoons or tablespoons in your recipe), x1 may be a little off but x10 will be a lot off. You've got some accuracy in the recipe going by weight but volume can throw the recipe especially when scaling up.  

beccad18's picture
beccad18

It was tricky trying to weigh baking soda as it's so light.  I bought a gram scale for more accuracy but it was getting confusing.  I saw another article somewhere that said 1-1.5% leavening agents to a recipe so I might try that.  I'm thinking of making a dose 1 batch with no baking soda and mixing it with an equal amount of dose 10 dough to effectively halve the amount of baking soda and see how that is.

Late Night Baker's picture
Late Night Baker

It could be a scaling problem but what about the frozen vs. fresh dough? Have you tried freezing the dose 1 cookies and baking them? I've had problems with certain doughs when you freeze them, including the leaking butter problem you mentioned. 

beccad18's picture
beccad18

Hmm. Did you find a fix?  Do you know why?  Being a bakery I can't really just be making small batches of dough everyday.  Not exactly time efficient. 

Late Night Baker's picture
Late Night Baker

I only had problems with a specific recipe, ginger snaps, and didnt have time to deal with it so took them off the menu. I'm glad thawing the dough is helping.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Re: the frozen dough

Was the dough frozen into pre-portioned balls and the balls put into the oven frozen?  Were the pre-portioned balls defrosted at all? Completely? A little?

OR

Was the dough frozen into a batch lump and then defrosted before portioning into balls?

RE:Baking Soda

Google came up with a wealth of info on the effect of baking soda in cookie dough and scaling it.

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/14591/what-is-the-purpose-of-baking-soda-in-chocolate-chip-cookies

http://thecookieblog.com/scaling-your-cookie-recipes/

You have to read through but there are nuggets of info. I couldn't find 1 definitive resource but I'm sure there is one out there.

To summarize-there is a sweet spot when it comes to using baking soda in a recipe nd it does not scale up in a linear fashion. The trick is to find the formula for that. One of the sites suggested that to scale a cookie recipe up x10, to decrease the baking soda as much as 50% (the Cookieblog).

Baking soda reacts with both the water (butter and eggs) and acid (brown sugar) in your recipe to produce gas to leaven the cookie. It also affects the pH and quickens the Maillard reaction, hence the enhanced browning. Since your butter is melted, I would think most of that water is driven off but there is still the eggs. Freezing and thawing activates more water/baking soda interaction and I believe that is why you are seeing more browning on the frozen cookie. I think the center being last cooked may be a shaping issue. A quick,slight flattening before it is baked may help that. Otherwise the frozen dough bakes faster around the edge than the big lumpy middle.

So my recommendation (DISCLAIMER:from someone who has never done this but has a little understanding of how the ingredients work) would be to decrease the amount of baking soda as you scale up and flatten the frozen cookie dough slightly before baking. How much to decrease the BS requires more research but I believe that is where you need to look. There were a few sites that suggested Baking Powder instead of soda, esp if freezing the dough. I didn't dig any further on that.

Good luck!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/12/the-best-gingersnap-cookie-recipe.html

Here is an actual formula:

http://www.thekitchn.com/8-things-you-need-to-know-before-doubling-a-cookie-recipe-226141

3. Do some math before doubling the baking powder or baking soda.

       Ninety-nine percent of the time, I find that baking soda and baking powder can be simply doubled in cookie recipes. It's that last one percent that can sometimes mess up an otherwise awesome batch of cookies. Baking powder and baking soda are tricky and don't always scale up quite as nicely as everything else. Using too much can mean your cookies will rise impressively, but then collapse and flatten toward the end of cooking or once you pull them from the oven.

       To be on the safe side, use the following ratio: For every cup of flour in your recipe, use 1  to 1 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. If your recipe uses both baking powder and soda, then try to maintain the ratio of one to the other as best you can.

algebread's picture
algebread

Baking soda accelerates the reactions that produce browning; an excess of it could be responsible for the much darker color of the cookie on the right.

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Your scaling is fine; it's not like you're trying to convert a cupcake recipe to a layer cake. You're still baking them in small pieces, so you don't want to alter any of the ratios.

I suspect it's the frozen dough; you need a slightly lower temperature to allow the cookie to spread so that it's done by the time it's browned sufficiently. Your photo indicates that the exterior of the dough ball thawed and melted, while the interior was slow to follow suit.

beccad18's picture
beccad18

Letting my dough defrost a bit is helping it bake more evenly.  It's still excessively dark though so I'm thinking baking soda is still a problem.  I did a test yesterday and mixed some of my big batch dough with a new small batch with no baking soda, effectively halving the leavening, and it really helped the coloring.  So I think that's how I'm going to fix it going forward.

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Alkaline doughs brown more easily than acidic ones, but given that your non-frozen dough works fine, the excessive browning is due to the longer baking time of the frozen dough.

If you intend to bake from frozen dough, then reducing the baking soda makes sense, ** although you could add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to accomplish the same thing **, without losing the leavening.

Or you could replace the baking soda with extra baking powder. (Takes 4x as much baking powder as baking soda.)

 

 

beccad18's picture
beccad18

Replying to all, 

 

Letting my dough defrost a bit is helping it bake more evenly.  It's still excessively dark though so I'm thinking baking soda is still a problem.  I did a test yesterday and mixed some of my big batch dough with a new small batch with no baking soda, effectively halving the leavening, and it really helped the coloring.  So I think that's how I'm going to fix it going forward.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

"One of the sites suggested that to scale a cookie recipe up x10, to decrease the baking soda as much as 50% (the Cookieblog)."

http://thecookieblog.com/scaling-your-cookie-recipes/

beccad18's picture
beccad18

I think for this cookie, it's a combo of too much baking soda as well as baking.  Letting the dough thaw helps it bake more evenly.  It's still over browning though.  I'll be cutting the baking soda in half though going forward for my large batches.  I'm going to fix the batch as well by making a new large batch with no baking soda and mixing it together to halve the baking soda in the cookie.

This is all making sense though.  My very first large batch of oatmeal raisin cookies I made spread too much and I was perplexed thinking I mismeasured the flour.  So i added more flour to the remaining dough to "fix it" and it was ok, a little more dense than they're supposed to be.... but then I made a small batch the other day and they came out perfect.  And now that I realize that baking soda contributes to spreading as well, it's all connecting the dots.

I'm commenting here for prosperity should someone else be searching for a solution!