For a lot of us, baking is a fun and stress-relieving activity. However, not everyone sees it that way. In fact, you’ll be surprised at the number of bakers – both amateurs and professionals - that encounter baking problems regularly. From burned crusts and overly dense cakes to runny frosting and cracked cake tops, all of these baking issues are enough to make someone scratch their head and lose their cool out of frustration. Thankfully, there are tons of baking tips and tricks that can be used to avoid these kinds of unwanted problems. If you are one of those people who experience these issues, then you’ve come to the right place.
Written below are some of the most useful baking tips for cookies, cakes, and other pastries that can enrich your knowledge and make the whole experience a lot better. On that note, let’s begin.
- Read the Recipe Before Doing Anything
- What? I already know this! Well, good for you. But, believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t. Reading and understanding the recipe before trying it out will help you avoid various baking issues such as incorrect measurements, missing ingredients, forgotten cooking steps, and so much more. In fact, most of the baking issues that you experience often may be solved just by following the recipe as closely as you could.
- Measure Your Ingredients Carefully
- Baking heavily relies on precision. That’s why if you want to get the best results, you need to stop the winging-it approach you’ve been doing to measure your ingredients and instead, start doing it correctly. This tip mainly applies to flour as it is quite hard to measure if you’re going to use typical volume-based tools such as cups and spoons. One good way to make measuring ingredients easier is by converting their volume units to grams. Or you know, you can also just look for recipes that specifically use grams instead of other labels.
- Make Sure Your Ingredients Are Room Temperature
- This is another no-brainer, but for some reason, a lot of bakers tend to forget its importance. Keeping your ingredients at room temperature will not only make them easier to mix but also help the final product have a light and fluffy texture.
In addition to that, it can also affect the baking experience itself. How? Well, for example, have you ever tried to break down a rock-hard butter using an electric mixer? Yes, that’s how difficult and time-consuming it will be. It will be best to bring out all of the ingredients that you have in your fridge about 30 to 90 minutes before starting your recipe. That way, you can be assured that the ingredients have adjusted to the temperature of your kitchen. They will also be faster to incorporate into the mixture and will not cause any time-delay or texture-related problems.
- Buy Yourself A High-Quality Silicone Baking Rug
- From helping make your baking pans last longer to the fact that they are a lot easier to clean than the stainless-steel ones, there are tons of reasons why silicone baking rugs are a must-have.
Purchasing one can help your baking experience be a lot better in more ways than one. How? Well, take the Roll N’ Go Non-Stick Baking Rug from BakersLove for example. This mat is washable, which makes it very easy to clean, it is also multipurpose as it can be used to roll cake and bread. That’s not all, the Roll N’ Go Baking Rug is also suitable for both cold and hot temperature, perfect for baking cookies or freezing food.
See how important a silicone baking rug is and why you need to have one?
- In Case You Need to Use Chilled Butter, Grate and Freeze Them First
- While most recipes call for butter to be set at room temperature, some require it to be in a chilled state. Since it’s no secret that cold butter is difficult to mix with room-temperature ingredients, what you can do to make that possible is to grate the butter and then freeze it for at least an hour before you use it for the recipe. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is for the cold grated butter to get incorporated into the mixture, it will also retain its fat molecules that can help in making crusts flaky.
- Use Salt
- Salt is not exactly a common ingredient in a lot of baking recipes, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be used to make any baked treat taste more delicious. In fact, salt can enhance the flavors of typical baking recipe ingredients such as chocolate, lemon, vanilla, and so much more. Not only that, adding a pinch of salt to your dough can give it a sharper taste.
- Don’t Substitute Ingredients Just Because They Seem Similar
- We’re not going to have all the ingredients needed to accomplish a recipe at all times, but that doesn’t really mean that it’s okay to swap them out and just use whatever similar thing we can find in our cupboards. Salted and unsalted butter, for example, are two things that you can’t just interchange whenever you want to. Why? It’s because not only do they vary in flavor but also the fact that the former has salt, something that can affect the quality and taste of your dough. The same thing goes for baking soda and baking powder, you should only use the former if you’ve added any sort of ‘acid’ into your batter such as lemon, orange, or buttermilk. Otherwise, then there’s no need for you to use it on your recipe at all.
- Make your Whipped Cream Fluffier by Using Cold Mixing Bowl
- This is one quick yet effective baking hack. Put the mixing bowl inside the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you use it. Once you start whipping the cream, you’ll notice how fluffy it is compared to when you use a room-temperature bowl.
What’s the science behind that? Well, we’re not sure, but it actually works! And that’s what matters.
- Grease and Flour Your Baking Pans GENEROUSLY
- There’s nothing worse than being able to create the perfect cake batter only to have it stick in the baking pan because it wasn’t greased or lined properly. Prevent that from happening by following what the recipe has told you. If it asked you to cover the pan’s surface with butter or flour, then you better do that. Make sure every inch of the pan’s inner surface is greased or floured so you can be assured that the batter won’t stick at all. Also, be mindful of how you will hold the pan as your fingers can remove the butter or flour on some areas.
- When Making A Multi-Tier Cake, Flip the Highest Layer to Get A Flat Top Surface
- Don’t have enough time to trim the upper layer of your cake to get an even flat surface for frosting application? Then just flip the highest cake piece over, and you already have one—simple but very effective baking advice.
- Cover Your Fruits and Chocolate Chips in Flour Before Adding Them to Your Batter
- Do your fruits and choco chips sink at the bottom once you start mixing them into the batter? Then solve that problem by covering them in flour first. They will get incorporated into the batter properly, allowing them to spread their flavors more evenly.
- Apply a Bit of Frosting at the Bottom of Your Cake to Keep It in Place While Decorating
- For this baking tip, we would like to recommend trying out the rotatable cake stand included in BakersLove’s Baking Kit. Decorating a cake can be quite tricky as it has the tendency to move while being rotated. To stop that from happening, apply a bit of frosting at the bottom of the cake. The frosting will act as a glue, keeping the cake in its place so you can finish the decorating process without having to adjust it every now and then.
These are just some of the best tips that you can follow if you want to be better at baking. But wait! If you think that is all, then hold up because listed below are some other baking hacks that you should know about.
- Use espresso powder to make the chocolate flavor ‘pop’.
- Line your cake stand with parchment paper strips to keep it clean while decorating.
- When separating yolks from their whites, use your hand instead of the eggshell to prevent them from breaking.
- When the recipe tells you to sift your flour, DO IT.
- Place your piping bag in a glass container such as a mason jar to make it easier to fill with frosting.
- Let your cookie dough sit in the fridge overnight before baking it. This will give the batter the chance to develop its texture and flavor.
- When making cookies, cupcakes, or muffins, use an ice cream scoop so you can have equal portions.
That’s it! These cool baking tips are simple, but they can help boost your skills as a baker. So, what are you waiting for? Go to your kitchen, put on your apron, and start baking!