So, you’re interested in learning a few baking tips and tricks to advance in your new hobby. You couldn’t have made a better choice! Baking is an excellent activity for many reasons.
First, it allows you to express yourself creatively. While you do so, you’ll be building a new skill, boosting your confidence, and finding stress relief. Not to mention, what other hobby results in delicious confectioneries, loaves of bread, and other baked goods?
Whether you’ve been cooking for years or are picking up a spatula for the first time, baking is an entirely new world. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.
With these tips, as well as a bit of patience and passion, you’ll be whipping up mouth-watering cakes and cookies in no time. Read on to learn everything you need to know to start baking like a pro!
1. Read the Recipe First
The first, and perhaps most crucial, step when baking is to read the recipe. In fact, if you only take one thing from this article, let it be this tip.
We get it, you’re eager to start cracking eggs and sifting flour, but familiarizing yourself with the recipe beforehand is an absolute must. Don’t glance at it, don’t skim it. Read it thoroughly!
With cooking, you can be unmethodical to a degree. A little extra of this, a little less of that, and your finished dish will still be perfectly edible.
When it comes to baking, however, precision is key. Following the recipe to the letter is essential for an exceptional finished product, at least until you become a more experienced baker.
By reading the recipe before you start, you’re far less likely to make a mistake along the way.
2. Prep Everything Beforehand
Once you’ve read the recipe and feel comfortable with its instructions, you’re ready to begin your kitchen and ingredient prep. Your recipe will give you vital information including the required oven temperature, ingredient measurements and temperatures, and a list of the baking utensils you’ll need as you work.
Go ahead and set your oven to the right temperature, grease your pan (if necessary), and measure each ingredient and arrange them on your workspace.
A few tips here. For certain recipes, the best parchment paper can be used instead of grease to allow for easy cleanup. To be safe, however, it’s best to use both paper and grease if the recipe calls for it.
In addition, as a baker, you need to invest in a kitchen scale. Measuring ingredients in cups simply isn’t as accurate and therefore won’t produce the same results. To create high-quality baked goods, you need to be able to weigh each ingredient in grams.
3. Use an Oven Thermometer
Every oven is different, and sometimes certain areas of the oven don’t heat to the same temperature as others. Other times, the reading on the outer display doesn’t match the actual temperature inside.
If your oven is a bit temperamental, you have a few options. The first two are to get a new oven or repair the one you have so that it’s accurate and provides an even heat.
Because these are both expensive undertakings, however, the third option is preferable for most people. And that is to use an oven thermometer. They’re affordable and will give you an accurate reading every time. So if you set your preheated oven to 350 degrees and your thermostat reads 320, you can easily adjust.
4. Use Ingredients at the Correct Temperature
Another piece of useful information included in your recipes will be the required temperature of ingredients, especially dairy products. This might seem like an unnecessary step, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If your recipe calls for room temperature butter, eggs, milk, etc., it’s not for no reason. The temperature of ingredients when mixed alters the texture and volume of both the batter and the finished product.
Butter is a particularly finicky ingredient, as the texture of butter you use is often the largest determining factor in the quality of your completed baked goods. Your cake recipe might call for room temperature, chilled, frozen, or melted butter and it’s crucial that you follow these instructions.
A common mistake is placing the butter in the microwave to achieve room temperature. This will overheat the butter, altering the recipe. Instead, leave the butter on the counter for an hour or so before you start baking.
5. Avoid Opening the Oven Door
Whenever possible, avoid opening the oven door while your treats are inside. As we’ve discussed, precision is key. Every time you open the oven door, you alter the interior temperature a few degrees, which can disrupt proper cooking and rising.
It’s exciting to watch your batter grow and take shape, but rather than opening the oven door, use the interior oven light.
When you’re ready to test for doneness, remove your baked goods from the oven and shut the door. Then, as quickly as you can, stick the toothpick in and put it back if more time is needed.
Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen With These Baking Tips and Tricks
Baking is an art and allows for a great deal of creative expression. However, it’s also a science and requires exact measurements, temperatures, and timing. Because of this, it can be a little overwhelming when you take your first steps into the baking world.
That’s why it’s so helpful to approach your new skill equipped with these baking tips and tricks. You now have a roadmap of what to do and what to avoid. With these tips, you can start creating delicious treats today.
Interested in expanding your culinary knowledge further? Take a look at our blog!