Let's admit it: Even the best of bakers can run into problems when cooking in the kitchen, so it's only natural to make a few bad batches before you perfect the final recipe. Baking is a science that requires precision, and often doesn't allow for creative liberties that can be taken in other savory recipes or simple dishes.
When it comes to baking, it's often better to play by the rules. If you are baking a recipe for the first time, it helps to thoroughly read through the recipe to ensure that you are prepared and understand all the steps. You'll then want to line up all of your ingredients, pans, and tools to make sure you're ready to bake. Otherwise, you might find yourself halfway through the recipe and missing a crucial ingredient. The horror! Make sure your refrigerator and cupboards are stocked with the goods that you need before you start your creation.
Simple tips like setting a timer, weighing flour, and using room temperature ingredients actually matter. If you're looking for chewier cookies, moister cakes, or flakier pie crusts - there are just some rules that can't be broken.
Baking can be a therapeutic and rewarding experience. Ready to make something delicious? Here are 5 Simple Tips for an Impeccable Baking Routine.
1.) Use Room-Temperature Ingredients
Countless recipes call for room-temperature ingredients, and this is an important step you should try not to ignore. Many baked goods are started by creaming together butter, eggs, and sugar, which is made incomparably easier when using gently warmed ingredients. If you have time to prepare, pull the eggs and butter from the refrigerator and leave on the counter overnight. They will slowly come to the perfect temperature while you sleep.
2.) Quality Bakeware is a Solid Investment
You're ready to put your wonderful creation into the oven, anticipating for a perfect bake. However, flimsy pans and sheet trays won't conduct heat efficiently, causing your pie, cookies, cake, or pastries to bake inefficiently. It's worth it to invest in high-quality bakeware to ensure you get the perfect bake every time.
Mixing bowls are also important, with metal and glass bowls that work best as makeshift double-boilers in the oven. Nonstick coatings should also be avoided, as they can also flake off over time and shed foreign matter into your beautiful treats.
3.) Flour and Butter Your Pans Generously
If a recipe calls for a well greased and/or floured pan, you can bet that it's for a reason. Be generous and thorough with your application, and consider every nook and cranny that could get sticky. Your batter or dough has the potential to adhere to the pan when in the oven, so be sure to butter it up and get into every corner. There is so much power in a well-buttered pan.
If your recipe calls for flouring a pan, add in more than enough flour to cover, then tip the pan completely and tap out the excess. And be careful where you hold it - finger marks on the inside of the pan will leave the walls exposed.
4.) Don't Mess with the Cooking Time and Temperature
Although it can be tempting to bump up the temperature when in a pinch, if your recipe calls for a specific degree and time it's almost always for a good reason. If you cut corners on time or temperature, your custard won't be as silky and your cake might lose it's moisture. You also run the risk of burning more delicate ingredients, like an almond-meal or cashew crust.
Every oven is unique, so a thermometer that lives inside your oven will eliminate any second guessing of whether your oven runs hot or cold. Don't forget to set a timer too - it's easy to get distracted while your goodies bake.
5.) Rotate Halfway Through
If a recipe calls for turning a baking sheet or pan halfway through the process, this is an important step you won't want to ignore. Even the best of ovens can have hot spots, and if you don't rotate the pan you run the risk of unevenly cooked, under-baked, or burnt pastries.
It's important to give every corner and side of your concoction the same treatment when baking in the oven to ensure an even bake. Also, try not to open the oven constantly to check on your recipe's progress. This will lower the temperature and alter the baking time.
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