Whether you want your own show on Food Network, or you just enjoy making cupcakes every now and then, baking can be a very rewarding hobby. It can also be a challenging one, especially if you’re just starting out.
The tiniest issues can make a cake flop, whether it’s too dry, or the frosting is too sweet. One upside to baking is that no matter how bad your failures, somebody else has done even worse.
Another upside is that we’re here to help. We may not be Michelin star chefs, but we can offer a few baking tips to help you out.
1. Follow the Recipe
You may have seen various TV shows where chefs take recipes and add a twist to them, or can make a recipe without a cookbook. They make it look easy, but it’s not.
The important thing to remember is that these people are professional chefs. They’ve done this eight hours or more per day for years or even decades. Trying to imitate them when you’re just starting out is like trying to play AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” after studying guitar scales for a few hours.
Start at the beginning, and keep following the rules until you’re really good at it, then you can start experimenting. Of course, it you don’t want to do this on your own and would prefer expert advice, there’s always French pastry school.
2. Be Precise When Measuring
This may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at how often people get it wrong. The big issue is that standards differ.
What we mean by that is that measuring by tablespoons, teaspoons, and cups can be tricky, because it leaves room for error. One person’s definition of a full cup might differ from somebody else’s.
To avoid this problem, many bakers use a scale to weigh their ingredients instead of measuring in spoons. Even this has challenges, though. The first is that a lot of recipes don’t measure in weight, so you’ll have to look up conversions.
Another big issue is that you’ll have to account for the weight of the bowl when you put it on the scale.
3. Use Room Temperature Ingredients
Even if you haven’t been baking long, you may have noticed by now that a lot of recipes call for room-temperature ingredients. The reality is that few people buy ingredients an hour before cooking with them.
Things need to be stored, and the best place to store them is the refrigerator. This leaves us with the question of how to warm something up after it’s been in the fridge all day.
Though the best method is still to leave things out until they reach room temperature, this isn’t always a realistic goal. We do know some baking tips to get around this.
Eggs can be brought to room temperature by placing them in warm water for five minutes. A stick of butter can be brought to room temperature by heating it in the microwave for 5 seconds, then flipping it onto a different side. Keep doing this until you have flipped through all 4 sides.
4. Use Fresh Ingredients
There’s not much to say about this one. Most chefs will tell you to always use fresh ingredients.
This ensures that you’re working with a quality product because it hasn’t had enough time to go bad, nor has it been processed.
The Best Baking Tips
There are a lot of great baking tips out there. We’ve talked about just a few of them in the paragraphs above, but there are plenty more out there. If you’re interested, we encourage you to do more research on your own.
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