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Cookies baking differently each batch

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
 I have several made-from-scratch cookie recipes but have not been able to get consistent results from one batch to the next in regards to how they bake. One batch will spread out in the oven and cook fairly flat, while another batch will stay in a smaller area, yet bake vertically with a very airy texture. Hoping someone can tell me what I am doing differently and help guide me into making them consistent from batch to batch. I do like the more horizontally compact, airy cookies personally, but both ways taste good. Thanks!
post #2 of 18
I think it sounds like one of two problems.  Either your oven tends to keep heating up (or cooling down) so the temp varies from one batch to another (or you leave it open too long to remove the one batch and put in the next) or you are leaving the dough out and it gets warmer so it starts at a different point.  Try refrigerating the dough first, then take out only the amount you're going to bake in each batch. 
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #3 of 18
Definitely make sure to cool the dough between baking. Make sure you're using a consistant scoop size...

Also, if you're doing several rounds in the oven, remember to let the cookie sheet COOL before you put the next batch of dough on. Cool ALL the way. Otherwise, the butter will start melting from the heat on the sheet, and you'll end up with cookies that spread a lot more.

Maybe invest in an oven thermometer? If your oven temperature is cycling really widely, you might want to get a pizza stone or something like that to put on the bottom rack, and let the oven preheat for longer, and the stone will help to balance the temperature out.
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*Does not play well with Custards*

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post #4 of 18
I agree with the too warm cookie sheet theorists but could also be the technique you are using to measure flour. If you scoop with the measuring cup, try spooning the flour into the cup then level. (if you like the cakey cookies add a T or two more flour). Could also be something as simple as starting off with cold butter or buying different brands of ingredients.
post #5 of 18
My cookies got better when I got a thicker cookie sheet, AND I followed all the "keep cool" hints above!  Also, I preheat the oven and bake ONE cookie first, it gives me a good place to start--better than having 12 sub-par that I'm not happy with.  If that first one is way off, I do just ONE again.
post #6 of 18
Yes, definitely, I forgot about the cookie sheet - anything in fact, that changes from one batch to another will make that batch different from the previous one. 
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 18
Yes, chilling the dough while shaped into cookies on the baking sheet is one answer. Also, don't grease the baking sheet--dough tends to spread more on greased sheets like if they were on ice.
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George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #8 of 18
I think everybody pretty well covered the basic keep everything the same, temp of dough temp of pans and don't grease the pans. 

I will add to wipe down the pans between batches to remove as much grease as possible.  No need to fully wash with soap and water just a good dry wipe down and cool between batches. 

I buy 1/2 sheet pan sized cut parchment and replace it for each batch and my cookies are much more consistant than they used to be without the paper.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the answers and here is more information.

When making dough, I leave the eggs on the counter for 30 minutes to warm up from the fridge. I left the butter warm up for 15 minutes. After that I make the dough one batch at a time (4 dozen cookies per batch).

I actually place the dough in the freezer for 24 hours after making it before I bake any of it. When baking, I've tried both electric and gas ovens and got varying results with each. Nowadays, I use several Airbake cookie sheets so the cool down of the baking sheets is not an issue as I tend not to reuse any of the sheets when baking a batch. Just wash and save them for the next batch in a few days or whatever.

The differences I am experiencing is cookies may be 1/4" thick and 3.5" diameter versus 3/4" thick and 2" diameter. Both are approximations but five you an idea of how much they are varying.

Perhaps this is nothing more than variances in flour and I need to do a better job of measuring it. Are there any other ingredients, such as baking soda, salt, etc, that could also be having this effect on thickness of baked cookies?
post #10 of 18
You will get a lot of baking soda, baking powder is bad comments, but if stored in a cool dry place these ingredients rarely "go bad".  Since you are essentially baking a frozen product, I am leaning towards too much fat, not enough flour, over creaming the butter/sugar or just have some bad recipes. If, by chance you are complaining about the "original" Toll House CC recipe, it just plain spreads a lot. A couple of T flour will tighten it up. I always had problems with the "airbake" pans. Seems like by them time the whole sheet was up to temp, the fats had melted and the cookie had spread into an unrecognizable shape ( I bake mostly "cutout" sugar cookies).
post #11 of 18

Aside from all the cooling stuff mentione above, you need to be super careful when measuring your ingredients.  A little extra sugar or flour can make a huge difference in your finished product.  Do it the exact same way every time and you should be ok.

If you're really looking for precision, weigh your products it's way more accurate than the using scoops.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyJalebi View Post

Aside from all the cooling stuff mentione above, you need to be super careful when measuring your ingredients.  A little extra sugar or flour can make a huge difference in your finished product.  Do it the exact same way every time and you should be ok.

If you're really looking for precision, weigh your products it's way more accurate than the using scoops.


I believe the problem was that the same batter made different thickness of cookies, depending on when they were baked.  If some came out ok, then the batter, the measurements, etc, are not at all the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase Clark View Post

Thanks for all the answers and here is more information.

When making dough, I leave the eggs on the counter for 30 minutes to warm up from the fridge. I left the butter warm up for 15 minutes. After that I make the dough one batch at a time (4 dozen cookies per batch).

Perhaps this is nothing more than variances in flour and I need to do a better job of measuring it. Are there any other ingredients, such as baking soda, salt, etc, that could also be having this effect on thickness of baked cookies?
The measuring of the flour, or the warmth of the eggs would affect ALL the cookies evenly.  But the problem is between one batch and another. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dillonsmimi View Post

I agree with the too warm cookie sheet theorists but could also be the technique you are using to measure flour. If you scoop with the measuring cup, try spooning the flour into the cup then level. (if you like the cakey cookies add a T or two more flour). Could also be something as simple as starting off with cold butter or buying different brands of ingredients.
The problem is not in mixing technique nor in measuring, because some of the cookies come out well.  If they ALL same out too flat or too thick, then the mixing, measuring, baking powder, etc, could have an effect, but in this case, the problem is something in the baking or storing of the batter. 
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #13 of 18
Maybe I read the question wrong. I am getting that the problem was from batch to batch...meaning all the cookies in each batch are the same. One batch spreading too much, one batch not spreading at all. Which could definitely be caused by inconsistencies in technique or ingredients.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
 Yes, the problem is from batch to batch. One batch makes 4 dozen cookies and generally they cook the same within a batch, but vary between batches, so it is most definitely a measuring, mixing or temperature issue with the ingredients. I'll just keep experimenting and take notes to figure it out. Thanks again for helping this amateur everyone.
post #15 of 18
 If you post your recipe, perhaps someone could spot a problem. If you are using the exact same ingredients, both in terms of amount and source (i.e. same can of baking soda, bag of flour) and getting different results, I suspect it is an oven temp issue. If it's too hot the fat will melt before the cookies are fully baked. This will cause them to spread. As for pans, I use the relatively inexpensive rolled edge aluminum 1/2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
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At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
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post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase Clark View Post

 Yes, the problem is from batch to batch. One batch makes 4 dozen cookies and generally they cook the same within a batch, but vary between batches, so it is most definitely a measuring, mixing or temperature issue with the ingredients. I'll just keep experimenting and take notes to figure it out. Thanks again for helping this amateur everyone.

OK, maybe i didn;t understand.  I bake a batch of cookies, and consider that baking (of two or four cookie sheets) to be a "batch" and then when those come out, from the same cookie batter, i bake another batch.  (This is because the whole recipe of cookie batter won't fit in the oven in one baking, and i have to bake one recipe in two batches.  In this case, the ingredients, measures, recipe, and all that, make no difference, but frequently the second batch comes out flatter than the first because though the batter is identical, the pans are warm, or the batter has warmed up being out of the fridge, or the oven is hotter (or cooler, having been opened). 

But are you talking about MIXING UP TWO DIFFERENT BATTERS and calling THAT a "batch"?  Then I'm sorry I got it all wrong!

Still, i imagine if you're baking so many cookies, you probably have lots of experience and make each "batch" pretty much the same, measuring with the same tools, using the same stuff, no?  It could be that the butter has been out of the fridge longer and is softer, so the second batch is going to melt differently.  You would be using the same baking powder, the same flour, the same sugar, etc, so it can't be that. 
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 18

Suduri...have you noticed that we have effectively hijacked this post? lolol!  To me, a batch is one recipe baked until all gone. (doen't mean I'm right, just how I learned)  And yes, I totally agree with the tip to cool the baking sheets before baking the next tray of cookies and keeping the unbaked dough cold  until time to pop into the oven. With my "cutouts" I place some parchment on a sheet and fill with the already cutout dough then remove parchment (and readied cookies) to the fridge until I have a cold pan to bake with.

post #18 of 18
Yeah, I guess I use the word both ways.  "I baked a batch of cookies" refers to one oven's worth being baked from a single mixing of dough.  And "I mixed up a batch of cookie dough" would refer to the dough being a batch.  Batch is a word just meaning a group or aggregate.  In the dictionary i use http://www.wordreference.com/definition/batch the second definition says "all the loaves of bread baked at the same time" - but that would refer to  baking a batch.  If i said mixing a batch, it would be all the dough mixed at the same time.  I think they're both used equally, just depends on the context.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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