The Importance Of Folding For Baking, According To Julia Child

Ever since the release of Julia Child's hugely successful book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One" in October 1961 (via the Julia Child Foundation), Child shared not just her cooking knowledge, but her joy and wisdom. Her resiliency has inspired millions, including the likes of Ina Garten. As the Julia Child Foundation puts it, Child made cooking fun.

Anyone who has ever been stuck on a particularly difficult recipe can attest that cooking isn't always as fun as Child made it seem on "The French Chef." Sometimes, a simple phrase can appear that throws you off completely. For example, how does one fold in cheese?

Thankfully, Child was a prolific writer, and left plenty of tips behind after her passing in August 2004 to help everyone understand what folding is, and why it's so important when baking (via the Julia Child Foundation). In Child's final book, "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes From a Lifetime of Cooking," she shares a variety of general kitchen tips and tricks that she kept handy over the years (via Epicurious). She left behind all sorts of helpful hints in her book, but in one passage Child shares her classic method for folding ingredients together.

How to properly fold your ingredients

Folding is a gentle mixing technique that is often used to add stiff egg whites and whipped creams to heavier batters, according to Child, as reported by Epicurious. "You have to incorporate the one into the other without deflating the puff of the one or the other," said Child. She notes that this is essential when it comes to making perfectly light soufflés and cakes. The Spruce Eats says this is done to incorporate the lighter ingredient without losing its airiness, which helps to lighten the batter, and of course the final baked good as well.

Child's method is to add the lighter ingredient to the batter before plunging a large rubber spatula "like a knife down into the center of the mixture, and draw it to the side of the bowl and up to the surface in a rapid scoop, bringing some of the bottom up over the top" (via Epicurious). Continue to rotate the bowl while continuing to fold until everything has combined. She also notes that it's important to combine things together gently without overdoing it.