Hi everyone! Hope you are all well. This post is for those who feel intimidated or not confident enough to bake or for those who want to learn more ways to make baking easier!
So for those of you who don’t know this, I started out as a baker and cake decorator before I really got into cooking. You can say baking and making things look pretty was my first love. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy both things but during the holidays especially; I always gravitate towards baking almost every day for those I love.
Many people find baking difficult for several reasons. It is harder than cooking in some aspects. One of the major reasons is ingredients measured for baking something must be exact rather in cooking it doesn’t necessarily matter as much. Also, some products might have to be room temperature rather than straight out the fridge to use. Those are some reasons why baking can be tricky especially for first-timers. I still mess up sometimes too; it is inevitable in the kitchen but that is totally okay!
So let’s get started!
- Ever heard of Mise en Place? It is the French term for having all your ingredients prepped beforehand. This is very important if you like to save time! This step also ensures that you have all the ingredients in the amount needed to make the recipe. You can also have the recipe already opened on a laptop or saved somewhere you have easy access to.
- When baking, it’s very easy to make a mess! Whether it’s the leftover eggshells or cake boxes; have a large bowl on the table to throw any trash into instead of constantly walking back and forth to the garbage is a lifesaver. This is known as the garbage bowl! Do it, unless you want to burn those extra calories before eating that piece of cake!
- Often in a baking recipe, the first line reads to preheat the oven to a certain temperature. I recommend doing that if you believe you will have the dough ready in that 5-10 minutes it takes for the oven to preheat. Try not to take so much more time than what it takes for an oven to preheat. I personally feel it makes a small difference when the oven has been sitting there really hot for an extra 10-15 minutes just waiting for us to pop something in. Might change the consistency of your baked goods texture.
- When baking, always grease your pan! If not this, then use parchment paper to line your pan. Also, I highly recommend silicone mats for baking cookies. Super easy to clean and cookies slide right off. Using these methods, your cake or cookies won’t stick to the pan and get ruined. Remember though, wait till they are cool before touching them!
- Ideal place to bake cookies is in the center of the oven because the heat is circulating well. So sometimes, you need to adjust the racks in the oven so it is in the center. Also, the back of the oven is warmer; so half way through the baking process; change the rotation of the pan so heat is evenly distributed.
- When a recipe calls for an ingredient to be room temperature, make sure to follow it! I have done the mistake of saying oh what the heck, I’ll just take it right out of the fridge or Ill just melt it. DO NOT DO THAT! It does make a difference in the consistency of your baked product. That’s why sometimes cookies or pie dough come out terribly wrong. When baking, the temperature of certain ingredients like butter or eggs is important especially when it is highlighted in the recipe. Don’t assume otherwise.
- Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out cookies. Use a whisk to stir cake batter. Use a spatula to stir cookie batter. Use a wooden spoon to stir cheesecake batter. I do not own a kitchen aid mixer; so I use these utensils when baking. Using the right utensils is also important believe it or not.
- Always cool your cake before taking out of the pan or decorating. I know we can’t help ourselves sometimes; I sure can’t but this is an important rule. Why? Because if you were to try to take the cake out before it is completely cool; you risk crumbling the cake in certain areas. It can just fall apart. If the cake is still warm but you are itching to decorate it; the frosting won’t come out looking as smooth and pretty. Also, you will most likely gather cake crumbs in your icing while trying to frost because the cake isn’t firm enough yet. PATIENCE is very important when baking. Baking cannot be rushed. It is a science.
- Measure the ingredients correctly. Sounds easy right? Often, we don’t measure correctly. Half of us probably measure our dry ingredients incorrectly. Example: To measure flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it with a knife instead of just scooping directly from the bag. Having more or less flour than called for in a recipe will make a difference. Same goes for most ingredients.
- Last but not least, let loose and have fun! It’s true what they say. The food you put out always tastes better if you have a good time making it.
I hope these tips have helped you! Would love to hear some tips from you too! Just comment down below 🙂