Is the following question on-topic?

Is there a good resource for how various common baking ingredients interact? For instance, I have a recipe which calls for creamed cottage cheese, and I'd like to know how I might expect the final product to change if I were to substitute uncreamed cottage cheese.

  • For what it's worth, I know you're trying to find a resource to answer everything, but any single question like the example you give would be a fine question on the site too. – Cascabel Sep 24 '17 at 18:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Stack Exchange sites are not very well suited for asking for resources, because these are usually big-list questions. At the beginning, the question is not too popular, and you get a handful of suggestions - then it is a random subset of available resources and therefore not very useful. Later, people pile on more and more examples, and at some time you just get the same list you would have gotten if you had gone to Amazon and typed "food science" in the books department, which is not helpful either.

And then we have the voting. Not only is there no single "correct" answer which can be upvoted, most voters have not read multiple of the books on the list so they start voting for the books they have read, as opposed to the books which are better than the others, which produces skewed results. Then, we have the problem of older posts getting more votes, and, for long lists, of popular votes getting more votes (yes, it is normal for people to read only the first few posts and vote a bit on them, not noticing the rest). You end up with a long, difficult to read, not especially complete list, ordered by misleading vote numbers.

Because of these mechanisms, we do not do big-list questions, just like most other sites on the network. I know that it is frustrating, because you hoped to have somebody help you make a decision, but in truth our mechanism cannot give objectively good results for that. You have to choose your books by other criteria, as imperfect as they are.

There is an area where we have thought of making exceptions, but it hasn't been used much yet. It is when you have a very exact idea of what you need, and it is so specific that you usually cannot find what you want with a search on Amazon or another large seller. This can happen either because there are no results at all and you hope somebody knows of a very rare medium which fits your needs, or because there are a few results but the description is not deep enough to recognize if they contain what you need.

As far as I can tell, your case doesn't fall under the exceptions. There are tons of books on food science and food technology, many of them specializing in baking, others including chapters on baking, and you have to just pick one of those. Unless you really mean that you want to know about the effects of cottage cheese creaming and nothing else, which would be a case of "so specific only people who have read the book can tell". In this case, you can ask, but be prepared to have your question receive no answers. Also, if you formulate it this way, we will have to delete answers which list books without information on cottage cheese specifically, and answers which explain the effect of creaming cottage cheese instead of suggesting a book, because neither answers the question. So it may not bring you much - but if this is what you wanted, go for it.

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