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AIR FRYER BAKING

Many households have fallen completely in love with the Air Fryer. With the convenience of a small footprint, rapid heating, and quicker cooking, what's not to like. But baking may prove more challenging, as model sizes and configurations vary from machine to machine. From the gear to the cooking time, here's what I've discovered over several weeks of testing some fundamental baking recipes including cake, cookies, and bread items.

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AN APPROACH TO AIR FRYER BAKING

My first early success with air fryer baking came in the form of store-bought Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Happily, Pillsbury has branded several of their items for air fryer baking, such as biscuits and crescent rolls, so it’s a great place to start for the novice air fry baker. I’m starting to see more and more baking recipes and resources online, but here are some of my guide rails from testing…


• Think small batch or smaller sizes 

• Traditional recipe temperature is often reduced by 25-50°F

• Recipe cook time is often reduced by 20-25%

• When in doubt, take the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer

• Much of the heat comes from the top of the machine, so some baked goods benefit from being covered part of the time, to avoid over browning or drying out

• When possible, give your baked good a turnover midway through baking, to ensure even cooking on both sides

My current favorite Air Fryers…

Instant Vortex Plus with Clear Cook

Power XL

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SET UP

Due to the different sizes and configurations of Air Fryer machines, as well as the type of baking vessels, it’s key to lean into good tools for accurate measurement. Some of my favorites are the ThermapenOne instant read thermometer, to ensure I’m getting a perfect temperature. When breaking down recipes into smaller volumes, a good kitchen scale is an absolute necessity. And when baking directly on air fryer racks, a mist of oil or lining of parchment paper are lifesavers for no sticking. 


PS.

NEVER put parchment paper in the air fryer by itself as it can blow into the fan and catch fire in the heating element.


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When I first decided to test a cake in the air fryer, I landed on boxed yellow cake. All major US brands are about 15.25 ounces, and all call for three eggs. I use 1/3 of the recipe, dividing the mix and additional ingredients, which suites a 6 inch cake pan. To ensure an even cook without too much browning across the surface, I find that covering the pan with aluminum foil, and punching 8 to 12 holes across the foil’s surface with a bamboo skewer (to allow steam to escape) is key. I keep the cake covered for most of the cooking time, and then remove the foil for the last 4-6 minutes of baking. This technique has yielded an even cook without too much browning across the surface. The cake is both moist and perfectly flat for icing later.

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I discovered this recipe from Edd Kimber, ‘The Boy Who Bakes’ on Instagram. When searching for single-serve cookie recipes, most usually call for egg, but not here. Just a quick mix of ingredients in a small bowl, then roll your cookie dough into a ball, and lay on a small piece of parchment. Gently flatten the cookie slightly, to encourage some spread. Bake at 325°F in a preheated air fryer for 12 to 14 minutes. This cookie results in about a 4-5 inch diameter large cookie. Good for a single treat or for sharing. The top of the cookie is darker and more crispy, while the underside remains more pale and slightly more chewy. And I have used both AP or Gluten Free flour with equal success. Completely delightful!

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Baking should always include the savory, so here is my pepperoni roll recipe using pizza dough. Take 2 ounces of dough and form into a 3x5 inch shape. Seal thick slices of pepperoni and your favorite melting cheese inside. The rolls bake quickly, just turn over midway through for even browning. Now I’m onto a loaf of bread. Enjoy!

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GEAR

Any baking vessel that is OVEN SAFE is safe for your air fryer, but it has to fit and allow for some good air circulation. Keep in mind that light versus dark pans, glass bakeware, as well as different sizes will impact the cooking time. I have found several perfect pieces at a favorite local Pittsburgh store, In The Kitchen.

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