The holidays are approaching! And even if it’s NOT the holidays, there is always someone who wants to bake. Here are 10 tips to make your baking season the best ever!
Read the entire recipe before you start baking.
Even if you’re making something basic, it’s a good idea to read the entire recipe before you start. This will give you an idea of how the individual steps progress and what you’ll need to have ready before you start.
Know how to measure your ingredients.
Knowing how to measure your ingredients sounds basic, but it’s not. If you have a kitchen scale, use it. Cups of flour and sugar should be leveled off, and they shouldn’t be packed down unless the recipe advises you to do so. Same with tablespoons and teaspoons. Liquids should be measured on a flat, level surface.
Use room-temperature ingredients.
Does your recipe call for butter or eggs at room temperature? If so, make sure you take the time to bring these ingredients to temperature. Recipes don’t do that just for fun — room temperature ingredients emulsify so much easier, creating a uniform structure and texture throughout your baked goods.
Always have your ingredients prepared.
Read through the ingredients, get them prepared and ready on your counter, then re-read the recipe in full. There is very little room for error when you begin recipes this way.
Give yourself some time to heat things up. Depending on what you’re baking, if you don’t preheat the oven, it will not rise properly.
Keep your oven door closed.
You know how the oven’s temperature can ruin a recipe. But what can completely throw off the oven temperature is constantly opening and closing that oven to peek at your baking.
Chill your cookie dough.
If the recipe calls for it, if you find the cookie dough incredibly sticky and soft, or if you want to bake the cookies at a later time, stick the dough in the fridge. Chilling firms up cookie dough, decreasing the possibility of spreading. Chilling cookie dough not only ensures a thicker, more solid cookie but an accentuated flavor.
Don’t use old baking soda, baking powder, or yeast.
If you don’t bake often, you may need to replace your baking soda, baking powder, or yeast. Even if they haven’t turned rancid, these ingredients are less effective as they age.
Use your timer.
Set a timer so that you don’t forget about whatever is in the oven, but don’t assume that the bake time in your recipe is set in stone. Read your recipe carefully and know what to look for in a finished baked product.
Use the freshest ingredients available.
Baking is not the time to use condiments that have been on your shelf for two years or fresh ingredients that have seen better days. If you want your baking to be the best ever, use the best ingredients. That may mean investing a few extra dollars in your recipe, but the results will be well worth it.
Even if you bake only once a year, make it the best baking you’ve ever done by just applying a few rules of common sense.