Dealing With Dough

Dough is defined as a mixture of flour, liquid and other ingredients (often including a leavening) that's stiff but pliable enough to work with the hands. Unlike a batter, dough is too stiff to pour. This cornerstone of dog treats can be made with various flours depending on your choice of grain or grain free due to allergies, dietary restrictions, or simply flavor.

Dog treats are the easiest to bake for the simple reason your dog isn't going to care what they look like - that's a human thing! These are some of the tricks and tips I use when dealing with dough.

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Mixing

I use my Kitchenaid mixer but if you don't have one, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add them to the wet ones, stirring until the mixture is evenly combined.

Chilling

After mixing my dough, I almost always set the covered bowl in the refrigerator to let it chill which firms up the fat and gives the flour time to absorb the liquid evenly. This makes the dough much less sticky, roll out more evenly, and hold its shape while being cut and transferred to a baking sheet.

Rolling

I adore my Silpat Roller and non-stick mat since nothing is sticking to those babies!  Before I would place the dough on a lightly floured surface, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough, and then roll. I would also use the same paper as the liner on my cookie sheet.

Another trick I've learned is to place the dough inside a large ziplock bag, roll it to the thickness you want, then cut open the sides, remove the top, and use your cookie cutters right on the bag. No flour needed.

Scooping

(1) Fill a spoon halfway with a stiff dough or icing. Using another spoon of the same size, scrape the dough off the first spoon onto the baking sheet.

(2)  I like using my cookie scoops. I have two metal ones (1/2 inch and 1 inch) and one with a rubber top I can press to release sticky doughs.  Scoop the dough against the side of the bowl using the lip of the bowl to level off the bottom then release the dough. This results in a more consistent size and it’s a quicker way to get the job done.

Freezing

Most of my recipes make way more than Kirby can eat before they spoil which means I sometimes freeze the baked treats or the uncooked dough for later.  Dough can be frozen for up to three months. There are several ways to do this just be sure to label the name of the treat and the date made.

  • The method I prefer is to place the dough in a large ziplock freezer bag and roll it out like a pie crust. When ready to use, let thaw, roll out to desired thickness, and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters.
  • Another way is to form the dough into logs for slice-and-bake cookies. Form the dough into a log with the help of parchment or waxed paper and store the logs in a large zip-lock freezer bag. Don’t thaw the dough before baking, use a sharp knife to cut as few or as many as you want, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, and let them thaw while the oven is heating up.
  • A final trick is to prepare your balled or drop cookies up until the point of baking them, freeze them on a baking sheet, and then place in zip-lock freezer bags. This way you can get as few or as many as you want out of the freezer and let them thaw on the cookie sheet while your oven is heating up. 

Use a drinking straw to suck the air out of the bags before closing.