How recipes are tested in the Chatelaine Kitchen

Our kitchen apprentice shares the inside scoop on how we develop our recipes.

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Baking ingredients

Baking ingredients

In my first blog post, I shared three keys to successful recipe-testing, and today, I thought it would be fun to give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what actually happens when we’re testing recipes.

I test around four to five recipes per day, but some of our more experienced testers can complete as many as eight recipes in that time. We taste every single dish – sometimes eating three different kinds of cake in one day! (Which was basically my dream when I was growing up.)

Recipe testers
Recipe testers check recipes for timing – does it really take 25 minutes? Flavour – could it use more salt? More lemon? And of course, any improvements that can be made to the recipe – can we combine two steps? Can it all be cooked in one pot? Those are the kinds of things we think about during a test.

Testing notes
Testing notes are the most important part of the testing process. Each time a recipe is made, we make meticulous notes on our detailed testing sheets. We take down information about everything, from which appliances we used, to how long the recipe took, to the yield of the finished dish. The final section we fill in is about the changes to be made for the next test.

The testing notes stay with the recipe throughout the process. It’s great to be able to go back and see what changes were made during the previous test (and why), and to see how a recipe evolves through the triple-testing process.

Tasting
The final step of recipe testing is tasting! The first thing we do when we finish a dish is snap a quick picture for our records, then we dig in. Everyone will taste the dish and give their feedback. That feedback is used for the next round of testing.

Is there anything else you’d like to know about recipe testing? Let me know in the comments below!