I am a firm believer that anyone can follow a recipe and turn out great baked goodies. Baking just takes a little extra help, and today I am sharing my 5 Baking Tips Every Home Cook Should Know.
#1 Read the entire recipe before you start
I have made the mistake several times of just grabbing ingredients out, and not realizing that step number whatever is to allow something to chill for an hour. Or better yet, that dough needs to rise for at least a couple of hours before baking. I’ve also ran into recipes that aren’t in step order, and has different parts, similar to my S’mores Tart recipe. I didn’t realize this, and had planned to make something in a couple of hours, where I really needed several hours from start to finish. So when you make something that you’ve never made before, read the entire recipe before you start.
#2 Room temperature ingredients
We all have heard the term baking is a science, right? Well room temperature ingredients are room temperature for a good reason. Recipes like pie dough, scones, and biscuits usually call for cold butter, but anything else should be room temperature. Why? Because room temperature butter, eggs, and other dairy will not only evenly distribute when mixing, but they trap air, and that trapped air produces a fluffier, creamier, better tasting baked good.
#3 Grab all of your ingredients
I will tell you on more than one occasion I have read through a recipe, and y’all I have swore that I had said ingredient, and then when it came time to use it….I didn’t. Now I have made it a habit to read the recipe and then put all the ingredients out on the counter. Not only does my baked goodie get prepped and in the oven faster, I know ahead of time if I have everything that I need.
#4 Proper Measurement
I have been cooking and baking for years now, and I can attest that proper measurement means everything in the grand scheme of things. First hear this….99.9% of the time I do not use a scale to weigh out my ingredients for baking. I will, IF I am cooking a recipe that requires it, but I usually try and convert it to cups, etc. as I’m going. However, some chefs swear by weighing their ingredients. As a matter of fact, one of my all time favorites, who I’m sort of obsessed with on Instagram does, Alton Brown. Y’all may know who he is, and if you don’t, then you have to go and hunt up episodes of his show that aired on Food Network a bazillion years ago (or so it seems like), Good Eats.
Anyway. So proper measurement – If you are using your measuring cup, and scooping up the flour – make it a mental note that I am screaming at you to stop! Always use a spoon, and spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and do not, I repeat do.not. pack it! You spoon it into the cup, and then using a knife, level it off. Same goes for cocoa powder, in recipes like cakes. You’ll also want to level any tablespoon or teaspoon measure as well. Heaping isn’t needed, unless the recipe calls for it. (pretty rare these days, because my heaping may not be the same as your heaping, and it could totally throw a recipe off when baking)
If you’re measuring a liquid, use a measuring cup like a Pyrex. You can see exactly what you need, and stop at the right mark.
#5 Do not open the oven door
We have all been there, cracking it open ever so slightly, just to peek. Resist the urge! Just don’t do it. The slightest opening, even if it’s brief can cause the temperature to fall, which can cause baked goodies to not rise properly, or sometimes even collapse. You know how recipes usually give you two numbers between. For instance, bake cupcakes for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean…I set my timer for 14 minutes, open the door, pull them out, close the door, insert the toothpick, and decide if they need that additional few minutes. If so, I put them back in quickly, set the timer for 2 more minutes, or however many more minutes longer I think it should go and don’t touch the door again until the timer has went off.
There you have it, my 5 Baking Tips Every Home Cook Should Know! Now, if you’re ready to dive in and start baking, but aren’t sure if you have the proper tool, check out my post I did a couple of years ago 13 Baking Essentials Every Home Cook Needs.
Now what are you waiting for….start baking!
Need some inspiration?