Admittedly, I’ve by no means as soon as thought to halve a recipe for any dessert I’m making as a result of in my guide, I’d all the time reasonably have extra sweets than fewer. You, nevertheless, won’t have fairly the candy tooth I do. Within the case that you simply’re trying to halve a recipe, you may discover some mathematical and logistical hurdles, like how to halve an egg or figuring which dimension baking pan to use. You possibly can, in truth, nonetheless make a nice baked good at half the dimensions. Right here’s a mini-primer on how to precisely downsize baking recipes.
First: an compulsory PSA that it is best to undoubtedly be utilizing a baking with a scale, particularly in case you are a power recipe cutter-downer. Scaling recipes by half, quarter, or no matter else is simply really easy, easy, and correct if you use weights; I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you now to please simply purchase a scale. (Use it. Adore it. Thank me later.)
Let’s begin with the simplest, most simple liquid and dry (suppose water, milk, flour, sugar) measurements as a refresher. Suppose again to elementary college math class, but when that appears like too way back, right here’s a useful chart.
Half the Quantity
Barely Extra Difficult
That was simple sufficient, however typically you encounter barely more durable fractions (like ¾ cup) that don’t have a corresponding measuring cup in your set. In these circumstances, it’s useful to suppose in phrases of their equal tablespoons and teaspoons, which makes it simpler to scale.
Quantity in Cups
Equal in Spoons
Half the Quantity
5 tbsps + 1 tsp
2 tbsps + 2 ½ tsps
1 ½ tsps
Some elements are just like the youngest siblings in a household—they could want a little extra consideration. Take eggs, for example: As a result of the whites and yolks carry out completely different features in a recipe (whites add aeration and fluffiness, yolks add fats and richness), you’ll be able to’t skip out on certainly one of them in case you’re halving a recipe that requires a entire egg. Your greatest guess is to frivolously whisk the entire egg in a small bowl till integrated after which measure out half the quantity. Typically, half a giant egg is 2 tablespoons (or in case you have a scale, a vastly extra correct 25g). For those who want to halve a bigger however odd variety of eggs (comparable to 3,5,9, and many others.), whisk the eggs in a measuring cup and measure out half that approach—and save the leftover eggs for a next-day omelet.
Occasions, Temperature, and Pan Sizes
Reducing all of your elements in half essentially means there will probably be much less dough or batter to work with. For those who’re making particular person objects like cookies and muffins, there’s no want to fear, however for desserts, you’ll undoubtedly want to select a smaller baking pan. Half a cake recipe baked in the unique pan dimension will probably be much less cake and extra pancake. I all the time refer to this exceptionally detailed information from The Pleasure of Baking when substituting one pan for one more.
Useless to say, baking temperatures will stay the identical. I repeat, do not halve the temperature. Baking instances, nevertheless, may lower by a little. Begin by shaving off about 20 % of the bake time and begin checking for doneness from there. Once more, that is much less necessary for treats like cookies or muffins which can be baked in particular person parts; it doesn’t matter that there are solely 3 cookies in your rimmed baking sheet reasonably than 6 or 8. Do use the 20 % rule for desserts, quickbreads, brownies, and the like.
Cut your losses
There are occasions when it simply isn’t value breaking out the calculator and reliving math class. Most yeast dough recipes designed for dwelling cooks come in batches sized excellent for a stand mixer. Reducing one additional in half would imply there’s so little dough that your stand mixer would have nearly nothing to seize onto. You can actually knead the dough by hand, however frankly, yeasted items freeze so effectively it’s far more wise to bake a full batch and easily freeze half to save for a wet day. Cookies, biscuits, and scones are all prime contenders for freezing, both earlier than baking, which is my choice, or after.
One of the best tip I’ve for you is to do all the mathematics and write down or sort out your halved recipe individually. There’s not a lot worse than making a recipe solely to understand you added half the butter however the entire flour. Wait, truly the perfect tip I can supply is to use a scale for all of your baking wants. (Oh, you thought I wasn’t going to revisit this matter? Ha!) You possibly can persistently scale any recipe up or down, anytime with far much less mess and problem than utilizing cups.