A couple of weeks ago I shared with you all Baking Essentials. I gave you a list of tools that I thought would be great for beginner bakers or for the seasoned pro. This week I’m sharing with you some great tips and tricks that I have found very helpful in making baking go smoothly.
Baking Tips 1-2-3
The very first tip I’m going to give you is read the recipe directions first before starting to make the recipe. This helps to make sure that you will have enough time to make the recipe and that you have all the ingredients to make it.
Also, keep in mind the recipe was written by a human and we all tend to make mistakes. There might be an error or two in the recipe. It’s best to read beforehand then if you find a mistake in the recipe you can figure out what might need to be changed.
The second tip is I would say always prep your ingredients before you start to make a recipe. Take the time to get all your ingredients out and measured before you start to bake. That way if you don’t have enough of the ingredient you don’t have to stop the recipe and run to the store. I speak from experience on this one.
The third tip would be to preheat your oven!! Raise your hand if you have put a dish in a cold oven before. 🙋♀️Yup, I’m so guilty of this one in the past. Now I make it a habit to preheat the oven first thing.
Preheating the oven is important with baking because if you are using yeast, baking soda, or baking powder they need the heat to leaven the dish.
Tip number 4 is to use the proper measuring tools. In the picture, the measuring cup is a dry measuring cup. You only measure dry things like flour, sugar, baking cocoa, and so on with a dry cup. Measure liquids in a liquid measuring cup.
Using the proper measuring tools helps get the best measure. If you use a dry cup for water you are not going to get a full cup. This might effect how your recipe turns out.
Tip 5 would be spoon flour into your measuring cup, don’t scoop. When flour sits it will compact so spooning the flour into a measuring cup will help loosen up the flour.
Then make sure to level the measuring cup off before sifting or adding to your recipe. Making sure that the flour is level ensures that you have the correct amount of flour for your recipe. To much flour can dry a recipe out.
Tip number 6 is about scoops. Ice cream scoops aren’t just for ice cream, shocker I know!! No seriously I have an ice cream scoop that is just for baking, no scooping ice cream with it.
Whenever I make cookies, cupcakes, or muffins I use the same size ice cream scoop. I find that a 1-inch scoop makes the perfect size cookies and fills up my cupcake liners with the right amount of muffin or cupcake mix.
Tip number 7 is all about keeping the oven door closed. First, let me apologize for the messy look to the inside of my oven. I like to bake and cook so it gets spills. Keeping your oven door closed while you are baking or even cooking is essential for proper bake times.
Opening the oven door up multiple times while your recipe is baking will only prolong the cooking time. Opening the oven door allows the heat to escape from the oven and will cool the inside of your oven down. It might be a little bit but that will take the recipe longer to bake.
Regarding the inside the oven to help minimize the mess. I’ll line the bottom of the oven with foil. Having foil in the bottom of my oven has caught a lot of spills.
Tip number 8 is about butter. Always have the correct butter consistency. Some recipes call for room temperature butter. While other recipes like pie dough may call for cold butter.
Salted or unsalted butter is a factor in a recipe as well. Unsalted butter gives you the baker complete control over how much salt is in your recipe. If a recipe calls for unsalted it’s more than likely because it has been tested with salted butter and the recipe turned out too salty. If a recipe doesn’t call for either then I would say salted would be fine. However, if the recipe is too salty for you then change it to unsalted the next time.
Tip Number 9 is yet again about butter. When a recipe calls for chilled butter(pie crust, biscuits, and the like), I recommend using a cheese grater. You can grate the butter before hand and then freeze it for an hour or so before you add it into your recipe. With it already quite cold and in smaller sizes, you will be handling it less. This will help with keeping the butter from melting from the heat of your hands. It will also give you a flakier result in your biscuits.
Tip number 10 is about adding fruits and chocolate chips to a recipe. When adding fruit or chocolate chips to a recipe some times I will coat them in flour before adding. Take chocolate chips that you are adding to a cake recipe. If you don’t coat them in flour then the chocolate chips will sink to the bottom of the pan. This can also cause the bottom of your dessert to burn.
Coating also depends on the thickness of the batter. With my To Die For Blueberry Muffin recipe, I don’t coat the blueberries because it is a thicker batter.
Tip Number 11 sifting! I’m a huge believer in sifting when baking. Okay so this might sound really gross but I can remember as a kid finding flour bugs in the flour. Needless to say, because I didn’t sift my flour all the ingredients that I had to start my recipe went to the trash. Had I sifted it would have only been out the flour.
Now sifting is also great to remove clumps. Take baking cocoa it has a tendency to clump up, by sifting you are making sure there are no clumps in your recipe. Sifting also adds a little air to the flour making your recipe a bit fluffier. I do recommend measuring out your ingredients before sifting.
Tip number 12 is about substituting ingredients. If a recipe calls for something that you don’t have or maybe you don’t like. Feel free to substitute or even if possible eliminate that item.
Say you are baking something that calls for heavy cream but you are out, no worries you can replaced it with evaporated milk. I’m constantly using greek yogurt in place of sour cream as well.
Sometimes recipes call for an ingredient that might be added that you may not like. Take raisins, many recipes for carrot cakes call to add raisins to the recipe. I like raisins just not baked so I will eliminate them from my recipe all together. Maybe replace the raisins for nuts instead.
Baker’s Dozen Tip number 13
Having fresh ingredients is important when baking. If your baking soda is old it may not help leaven that Banana Bread. Keeping track of how fresh your ingredients are is a good idea.
I hope you enjoyed my Baker’s Dozen 13 Tips and Tricks for Baking~ Jen