STeller Kitchen

Hosted by Rachelle Teller
Group active since Wed, Feb 08, 2012

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art!

As your personal Pampered Chef consultant I love to make you feel pampered while demonstrating delicious new recipes, and tips to make cooking easy!

Here will find, tips, tricks, recipes and more to make your time in the kitchen simple so you can spend more time with your family.

Please enjoy and feel free to share your own tips, tricks, and recipes!


Rachelle Teller
Nov 19, 2013

Paleo Lifestyle

For any considering moving towards a Paleo Lifestyle the following sites are great references:

Rachelle Teller
Feb 28, 2012

Flour Differences

The type of flour used will ultimately affect the finished product. Flour contains protein and when it comes in contact with water and heat it produces gluten, which gives elasticity and strength to baked goods. Different types of flour contain different amounts of protein. Therefore using a different type of flour than what is called for in a recipe (without compensating for this change) will alter the outcome of the baked good. A cake flour is used to make a white cake where a delicate tender crumb is desired. Bread flour is used to make a chewy bread and all-purpose flour makes a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies.

All-purpose flour has a 10-12% protein content and is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. It can be bleached or unbleached which are interchangeable. However, Southern brands of bleached all-purpose flour have a lower protein content (8%) as they are made from a soft winter wheat. All-purpose flour can vary in its protein content not only by brand but also regionally. The same brand can have different protein contents depending on what area of the country in the United States you are buying it. Good for making cakes, cookies, breads, and pastries.

Cake flour has a 6-8% protein content and is made from soft wheat flour. It is chlorinated to further break down the strength of the gluten and is smooth and velvety in texture. Good for making cakes (especially white cakes and biscuits) and cookies where a tender and delicate texture is desired. To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour. Make your own - one cup sifted cake flour can be substituted with 3/4 cup (84 grams) sifted bleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch.

Pastry flour is similar to cake flour, although it has not been chlorinated, with an 8-10% protein content and is made from soft wheat flour. It is soft and ivory in color. Can find it in health food stores or through mail order catalogs. To make two cups of pastry flour, combine 1 1/3 cups (185 grams) all-purpose flour with 2/3 cup (90 grams) cake flour. Good for making pastry, pies and cookies.

Self-Rising flour has 8-9% protein and contains flour plus baking powder and salt. I do not use this type of flour because I prefer to add my own baking powder and salt. Also, if the flour is stored too long the baking powder will lose some of its strength and your baked goods will not rise properly. If you want to make your own add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup (130 grams) of all-purpose flour.

Bread flour has a 12-14% protein content and is made from hard wheat flour. The high gluten content causes the bread to rise and gives it shape and structure. Comes in white, whole wheat, organic, bleached and unbleached. Good for making breads and some pastries.

Store your flour in a cool dry well-ventilated place for up to six months. To prevent insects you can store flour in the refrigerator or freezer making sure the flour is defrosted before using.

Read complete article on the different types of flour at

Linda Kroeck
Feb 28, 2012

This one will make you roll on the floor laughing...lemons!!!

I have a lemon tree in my back yard and they are finally ripe so I decided to bake a Lemon Merangue Pie. I usually buy crusts at the store but just didn't feel like trucking over there so I made a crust from one of my recipe books. I have no idea what I did wrong. The pie looked beautiful but when I tried to cut it, the crust was like cutting cement. I had to get the hammer out to chizzle through the crust. Good thing my teeth are strong! Needless to say, I ended up dumping most of it cause even after it set in the frig and the crust soaked up some of the lemon juice, I still couldn't get the knife through it. Never had this happen before....anyone have any suggestions as to what went wrong? It was a simple recipe. Only has Flour, salt, shortening and water. Made me feel like a candidate for "Worse Cooks In America".

Linda Kroeck
Feb 28, 2012

Bread flour or All purpose flour?

Is there a difference? I have a pizza crust recipe that calls for bread flour. I have all purpose flour in both white and there a difference?

Rachelle Teller
Feb 19, 2012

Solving the Cake-Making Blues

Got a problem with your cake? You'll find the solution here.

Problem: Batter curdles and separates.
Solution: Eggs were not added one at a time and beaten thoroughly after each addition; an electric mixer was set at too high a speed; and/or the eggs were too cold. Try adding 1 Tbs. flour per egg and reducing the speed of the electric mixer.

Problem: Cake didn't rise.
Solution: Too much or not enough fat or liquid in the batter; batter was overbeaten; and/or oven temperature was too high.

Problem: Cake is tough.
Solution: Butter and sugar were underbeaten in the early stages of mixing; batter was overbeaten after the flour was added; not enough sugar; not enough baking powder; and/or not enough fat. Try brushing cake layers with sugar syrup, or filling and frosting the layers with a generous layer of moist frosting.

Problem: Cake crumb is sticky.
Solution: Too much sugar in the batter or sugar was too coarse.

Problem: Top crust is hard.
Solution: Oven temperature was too high; cake was overbaked; and/or cake was baked too close to the top of the oven. Try slicing off the top of the cake layer before frosting.

Problem: Cake sinks in the center.
Solution: Too much fat and/or sugar or leavening; batter was overbeaten; cake pan was too small; the filled cake pan was tapped too roughly on the countertop; the oven door was banged shut; or the oven temperature was too low. Try cutting out the fallen center and treating the cake like a tube cake; or fill the depression with fruit or extra frosting.

Problem: Cake peaks in the center.
Solution: Wrong type of flour was used (contained too much gluten); batter was overbeaten; too little fat and/or sugar in the batter; and/or oven temperature was too high. Try slicing the peaked center off the cake, then frost the cake.

Problem: Tunnels run through the cake.
Solution: Not enough fat in the batter; batter was overbeaten; or wrong type of flour was used (contained too much gluten).

Problem: Crust is unevenly colored.
Solution: Too much leavener and/or sugar in the batter; not enough fat in the batter; oven temperature was too high or too low; oven heats unevenly. Try camouflaging with frosting.

Problem: Cake rose unevenly.
Solution: Cake layers were crowded on the oven rack and heated unevenly. Bake each layer on its own rack. Trim the layers to even them out and camouflage with frosting.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion, (Time-Life Books, 2000).

Rachelle Teller
Feb 16, 2012

Cream vs Milk

Varieties of cream are defined by how much milk fat they contain.

- Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are different names for essentially the same thing: cream that is 36% or more milk fat, and which doubles in volume when whipped.

- Light whipping cream is between 30 and 36% milk fat, and can also be whipped.

- Light cream, table cream, coffee cream or single cream are names for cream that is around 18% to 30% milk fat and will not whip.

- Half-and-half is a mixture of cream and milk, and contains about 10 1/2 to 18% milk fat and will not whip.

- Evaporated Milk is canned whole milk that contains at least 6.5% milk fat. Due to how evaporated milk is processed, it will whip for a short time.

What’s the difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk?
Both have a large percentage of water removed from the milk (60%) so it’s condensed, but evaporated milk doesn’t have sugar added to it like condensed milk does (condensed milk has about a 40% sugar content). They are not interchangeable in recipes but you can add quite a bit of sugar to evaporated milk to substitute it for sweetened condensed milk (about 1.25 cups of sugar per 1 cup evaporated milk–stir together then heat to dissolve sugar then refrigerate).

What’s half and half cream?
It’s 50/50 whole milk and cream, this doesn’t whip but you can use it as a substitute in baking for heavy cream (to reduce fat).

Rachelle Teller
Feb 16, 2012

Butter, Shortening, Margarine or Oil?

Butter, shortening, and margarine are all types of fats. It’s the type of fat they contain that you need to consider when choosing the one that’s best for your health and the one that’s best for whatever you are baking or cooking. Butter comes from an animal source, so therefore contains cholesterol and saturated fat. It is great for baking, as it adds nice flavor and great texture for cookies and pastries. Shortening is made from vegetable oil, and then is made solid by the process of hydrogenation. Because the oil used comes from plant sources, it does not contain cholesterol, but may contain some saturated fat. It also works well in pastries and cookies, but doesn’t add the nice flavor that butter adds. Margarines vary a lot in the types of oils used, so you need to look at the labels. Those that contain higher amounts of fats are best for baking, as those with less fat will contain more water and will cause tougher baked products. Flavor varies with margarines too, so you need to find one that you like.

I do admit to a prejudice for butter. The flavor of butter is better and you avoid the hydrogenation in shortening. By melting butter, you can substitute butter for oil in most bread product recipes—though I do admit to making plenty of muffins with oil instead of butter. Butter, oil, or shortening--what are the advantages of each?

There are some products—many pastries for example—where only butter will do. You would hate to be without olive oil for some breads. (Olive oil is a healthier oil that you can use where the flavor is appropriate.) But in many baked goods, you can choose which fat product you want in your breads, cookies, or muffins.

Muffins and Quick Breads
You can make lighter muffins by creaming the butter or shortening with the sugar since you are entraining air into the mixture that will help the muffins rise during baking. Muffins made by the creaming method—with either butter or shortening--tend to be lighter.

Shortening tends to make a light, tender crumb. You can substitute part of the shortening with butter to retain some of the butter flavor.

Muffins made with oil will keep longer. If you are using the muffin method of mixing, oil is convenient.

Which makes for the better muffin? That depends on the recipe—some recipes tend to work better with one than the other.

Don’t assume that the recipe developer made the best choice. The developer may have started with butter, made an acceptable product, and never tested further. If you are not perfectly happy with your recipe, try substituting. You can always substitute oil for butter and vice versa.

Yeast Breads
If you are making breads outside of a bread machine, you have a lot of latitude. Melted butter can be substituted for oil. You will get the flavor of butter with most of the tenderizing effect of oil. Unless you use unsalted butter, the butter will add a touch more salt but it’s unlikely that you will be able to tell. Breads made with oil tend to keep a little longer.

If you use melted butter, let it cool until it is warm to the touch. Hot butter--above 140 degrees--will kill yeast upon contact. If you are adding enough warm butter to affect the dough temperature, the heat will accelerate the yeast growth.

Use olive oil in savory breads—it adds a rich flavor that is incomparable. Keep our olive oil refrigerated to stay as fresh as possible. But cold olive oil creates the opposite problem of hot butter—it will lower the dough temperature and retard the growth of yeast. If you’re not pushing the clock, you might not mind. A slower growth of yeast creates a little different nuance of flavors. Stick the bottle of oil in a bowl of warm water until it is viscous enough to pour.

Switching fat ingredients in the bread machine is a different story. There just isn’t much margin for error in a bread machine. When the timer goes off, the bread is going to bake—ready or not.

Either temperature or hydration (the amount of liquid) will affect the rise time, yeast growth is very sensitive to temperature. Hot melted butter or cold oil will give very different results. Whether using melted butter or oil, the temperature should be between 80 and 100 degrees for most recipes.

All else being equal, a soft bread dough—one made softer with more moisture--will rise more quickly than a stiffer dough. A little bit more or less water will make quite a difference—enough of a difference to spell success or failure in your bread machine. (Always measure water carefully and make sure that your measuring cup is accurate. We continue to be amazed at the number of measuring cups on the market that are substantially inaccurate. Test yours at different levels to make sure that it is accurate.) Margarine has a water content of about 15%--but differs significantly with different brands--and may affect the hydration of the dough.

You can’t easily substitute butter for oil or shortening in most cookie recipes. Most cookie recipes require creaming the sugar and butter or shortening together so using oil is not an option. If you have substituted butter for shortening in recipes you will find sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works in a 50--50 split.

In general though, cookies made with shortening tend to be crisper, cookies made with butter tend to be softer and spread more, and cookies made with butter tend to brown easier.

Cookies made with butter which is a fat that will melt at a rather low temperature will spread. Cookies made with shortening, which doesn't melt at a low temp like butter, spreads much less so the cookies will retain their shape much better. But you can combine the two to make a cookie that has that wonderful buttery flavor and the better shape and less spread with shortening. This is very handy when it comes to trying to make really large cookies. If you just use butter for big cookies, they tend to really spread and the edges may burn and get greasy.

Much of baking is trial and error. I hope this gives you the freedom to do a little experimenting and the guidelines for doing so. You might just make that favorite treat even better.

Linda Kroeck
Feb 16, 2012

Won't let me leave a comment so I'll add it here. If it actually posts this time!!

Hoooray!!! I finally got the recipe posted. Had to have the Geek Squad help with the problem. Believe it or not, I have a bad battery in my (brand new) computer. It causes all kinds of security problems and would not let me post. Who would have guessed? Anyway, I posted the "Sausage and Broccoli Skillet". Still learning this site!! Should be easier now that my computer is co-operating.