What Happens During The Cookie Baking Process

Posted in on the 17th February, 2014


In order to master the art of baking cookies, knowledge of what happens during the baking process is important. It pays to know just how the different ingredients react when you first place them in the over and you take them out. Here is the systematic process that happens when you bake cookies.

The dough starts to spread.

When the dough reaches a certain temperature, the dough begins to spread. The butter warms up and slackens. This causes the dough to spread out as it becomes more fluid.

The cookie edges begin to set.

While the cookie dough begins to spread, the edges begin to thin out. As they become more exposed to the hotter areas of the baking pan, they begin to set faster than the center of the cookie dough.

The dough starts to rise.

As the butter melts and turns to liquid, it starts to loosen the cookie dough. This frees up the water, which then dissolves the baking soda. This allows the baking soda to react to the acids of sugar, which creates gases that causes the cookie dough to rise up and fill with air, creating a more open structure.

Starches and egg proteins begin to set.

As the temperature rises further the starches and the egg proteins begin to set. This leads to the cookie dough reaching its final shape and size.

making cookiesThe sugar begins to caramelize.

Sugar begins to caramelize, beginning at the hottest areas in contact with the cookie dough, most notably in the underbelly and the edges. As the sugars caramelize, they produce the rich and sweet flavors in the cookie. Maillard reaction starts. After spending some time in the oven, a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction begins to occur. This is a reaction between an amino acid and the reducing sugar in the cookie dough. This reaction causes the browning effect on the cookie and produces its brown curst along with the nutty, toasted flavors.

Cookie cools down.

After removing the cookies from the oven, the process does not stop. The melted sugar begins to harden, giving the cookie its crisp and toffee-like texture around the edges. As the whole cookie cools down, the air inside also cools down, causing the cookie to slightly deflate. The setting of the egg proteins and flour will help retain some of its structure.