Home baking has become more popular than ever. This is because baking is the perfect way to make delicious goodies in the comfort of your home. That said, if you’re getting into baking, there’s a good chance you’ve found the learning curve to be a bit steep. Baking is very different from cooking and can be quite intimidating when attempting it for the first time.
Many first-time home bakers encounter a lot of problems. Some say their cake sinks, while others have problems with an uncooked center. There is also the problem of overcooking your baked goods. There are a lot of problems with measurements and perfect temperatures. The process can be a bit exhausting and you’ll need all the help you get.
If that sounds like you, don’t worry. You can always ask more experienced bakers for tips and tricks to make it easier for you. Well, I have compiled a few tips passed on from master bakes to newbies that you can refer to. The tips are really simple but will better your baking experience. Keep reading for the top baking tips you wish you had known earlier.
1. Room Temperature Isn’t A Suggestion
Several recipes ask you to use butter and/or eggs at room temperature, and it’s essential to remember that these aren’t suggestions. When the recipe calls for room temperature, you must ensure it’s room temperature. While you can use tricks to get them to the right temperature, ensure they’re ready before adding them to your recipe.
There’s actually science behind adding room-temperature ingredients to your baking mixture. Butter that’s been hardened in the refrigerator doesn’t mix well with the ingredients.
On the other hand, room-temperature butter gels well, leaving a lot of air pockets for a better, fluffy, and spongy cake. Ingredients that are too cold or too warm will change the results of your dish and may require you to re-bake it.
2. Understand What Baking Chocolate Is
If your recipe requires adding chocolate, it implicitly means you must use baking chocolate. Baking chocolate is unsweetened, 100% dark chocolate. Using chips, cocoa powder, or regular chocolate bars will completely change the taste and texture of your dish. This isn’t to say that you can’t use other chocolates, including sweetened, milk, and white, while baking.
However, it does mean that if a recipe calls for “baking chocolate” or “chocolate,” 100% chocolate is what you need. Once you’ve made the recipe the first time, you can determine whether a re-bake will require a sweeter option – but when you’re trying something out for the first time, it’s best to stick to what the recipe calls for.
3. Softened Butter Doesn’t Mean Melted Butter
So, your recipe calls for softened butter. Most people figure they can microwave their butter to get to the perfect temperature; if it melts, it won’t make much difference.
This couldn’t be more wrong. Softened butter is not and will never be the same as melted butter. Using one in place of the other can change the texture of your baking. Given how important getting the right texture is, it can ruin your bake completely.
Instead, make sure it’s of the right consistency. If you use the microwave to soften hard butter, keep an eye on it to ensure it hasn’t melted. And if your butter melts, try again with another stick of butter.
4. Read The Recipe Thoroughly And Use A Trusted Source
Many people like to read the recipe while cooking, but sometimes, you may come across crucial information you should’ve known before you started baking. This simple baking mistake can be fixed if you read your recipe thoroughly before you start baking. This will help you know all the crucial things beforehand.
Another tip is to use a recipe from a trusted source. You can often follow the recipe religiously and still end up with a botched-up cake. This may be because the recipe wasn’t from a trusted source. Always make sure that the recipe is authentic and not a make-shift one.
5. Try To Bake On The Center Rack
This is another simple baking tip to perfect your baking. Always try to bake your cakes and cookies in the center rack of your oven. The reason is that the center rack is the perfect place as the heat is even. Your cakes and cookies will be baked perfectly and all the way through.
You can also assume that this is the standard for every baking recipe unless a recipe directs you otherwise. A lower rack might be a good idea when baking a pizza. Baking pizza on the lower rack gives your crunchy crust, thus is a preferable option in this case.
6. Avoid Doubling/Halving When Baking
I’d advise you to go by the Bible and change nothing when baking. When you come across a recipe with accurate measurements, don’t scale the recipe to make a bigger or a smaller cake. The measurements are often tailored for the recipe and might not work if you try to increase/decrease the amount.
It’s an amateur mistake to think that scaling the ingredients will yield the same results. This is because not all the ingredients give the same result when doubled or halved. This is true for leavenings or essence etc. So, stick to the recipe’s measurements and avoid tampering with them.
7. Measure Your Ingredients Correctly
This is directly related to the point above. It is very important to measure your ingredients properly before you start baking. Make sure your measuring cups are filled to the brim and then level them flat. Also, if you plan to do baking for a long time, it is a good thing to invest in a scale.
Get all the measuring cups and spoons you’ll need, and use them appropriately. It’ll never hurt if you follow the measurements to the last pinch. Too much or too less of any ingredient will spoil the complete recipe. Hence this becomes vitally important.
8. When A Recipe Says ‘Allow To Cool’, Allow To Cool
This is not a test of your skills but your patience. It looks easy to let your baked creations, but it is another thing to actually wait. Many recipes explicitly state that you must allow the baked goodie to cool before acting.
The action can be removing it from the pan, slicing it, or icing it. Sometimes, you can ruin it if you don’t allow it to cool. So, be careful in this area as well.
Baking may seem challenging when you’re first getting into it, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll realize it’s easier than many people. You’ll soon be experimenting and making changes to existing recipes to make them your own. You’ll need to know what to do before you can start making edits, and this guide will help you with just that!
This was all from my side. If you are an amateur baker, let me know if these tips worked for you. If you’re an experienced one, let me know whether you agree with this list or not. You can also leave your suggestions in the comment box. I shall take your leave. I’ll see you next time. Until then, happy baking!