Make mine a double

Celeb pastry chef David Lebovitz has just invented Shallot, Beer, Prune, and Cocoa Nib Jam, a recipe articulated in delicious detail. I couldn’t agree more with his glowing assessment of the beer-chocolate flavor combo, which has been a favorite of mine since I had my first beer milkshake circa 2004.

Among other useful jam-making tips, Lebovitz offers this word of caution: “In general, don’t double recipes. Better to make two small batches, since each will take less time to cook, preserving the appealing flavors of your ingredients.” Makes sense, but also makes me remember the times I was led astray by doubling, producing soggy-in-the-middle loaves of bread or texturally schizophrenic quiches. So what kinds of recipes were meant to stay single or hang out in batches?

For starters, some things that need to reduce or set, like your jams and your jellies, plus various kinds of candy and some sauces. But it gets more complicated: Beware doubling the salt when you double a recipe.

In dough recipes, getting the amount of yeast right can be tricky. And sometimes doubling the amount of liquids like milk in a doubled-up recipe will get you into trouble. And, though savvy cooks can double many recipes using a few simple guidelines messing with most cake recipes guarantees a dud.

Do you have any tips on doubling?

See more articles
Share this article: