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Is it necessary to cream butter and sugar when baking?

Learn how and why to cream the butter and sugar when baking

By Food Writer - Deanna Martinez-BeyPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Chocolate chip cookies

It's always baking season in my house! From September through January, it is the Holidays, but I bake the rest of the year to prepare for the Holidays. So I guess you can say that my life revolves around the Holiday season!

Today we will discuss why we cream the butter and sugar when baking.

I don't know about you, but I have tried it both ways. I have creamed the butter and sugar, and other times I have not. I noticed a big difference between the two.

You may be wondering why there is a big difference? I am here to share the reason with you.

Why cream butter and sugar when baking?

When you cream the butter with the sugar, it creates tiny air pockets in the mixture. The air pockets aerate the mixture.

In cookie recipes, for example, the longer we cream the butter with the sugar, the more the cookie takes on a cake-like consistency. The less you cream the two, the cookies come out chewier and flatter.

How long should I cream the butter and sugar?

You may be wondering how long you should cream the butter and the sugar. No fear! I am here to provide you with that exact information. The longer you cream them, the lighter and fluffier the mixture will get. For example, if you were to cream the butter and sugar for about one minute, you would notice it still has a grainy texture. However, when you cream for five to seven minutes, the mixture will become more of a whipped consistency.

The best results come when you cream the mixture until pale yellow in color with a fluffy consistency, as I said, about five to seven minutes. But, again, it depends on your mixer. If you have a powerful mixer, it can take just a few minutes. But, generally speaking, cream them for five to seven minutes.

Let's discuss butter temperature...

Butter should be at room temperature when creamed with sugar.

If you forget to take your butter out of the fridge two hours before you are going to bake, pop it into the microwave for ten seconds while still in the wrapper.

If it is not soft to the touch after ten seconds, put it back in for five more seconds.

If your recipe calls for soft butter, it is referring to it being room temperature.

Mixer time!

When I cream butter and sugar, I use a stand mixer. Some recipes will suggest using the paddle attachment to cream ingredients. Instead, I use the whisk attachment to provide a smoother, less lumpy mixture in the end.

To spatula or not to spatula?

I say, spatula! The mixture is going to stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. You will need a firm spatula to scrape the mixture back down into the bowl.

Tip: Turn off your mixer before scraping down the sides. This may seem obvious, but maybe not, so I figured it was worth mentioning.

So, there you have it!

Let's review what we learned:

Creaming butter and sugar creates air pockets that allow baked goods a lighter, cakier consistency

Cream butter and sugar for five to seven minutes, until pale yellow in color

Use room temperature butter when creaming

Use the whisk attachment to cream butter and sugar

Use a firm spatula to scrape the mixture down the side of the mixing bowl

So, the next time you are baking and consider taking a shortcut by cutting out the creaming of the butter and sugar, refer back to this article, and you will be reminded why creaming is essential.

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About the Creator

Food Writer - Deanna Martinez-Bey

I am an author, blogger, foodie / baker, copy editor, photographer, and social media manager. When I am not writing I enjoy running, watching the Food Network, sleeping, coffee, chocolate, and hugs.

You can find my books on Amazon!

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