Do you love to bake, but your baked goods are turning out less than perfect? So you ask yourself, “How Can I Improve My Baking?” Well, the number one tip to better baking is measuring your ingredients accurately. Using too much of this or too little of that is going to affect the final outcome of your baked good. In this post, I am going to share with you my top 10 tips to help you on your way to a better baker. So grab a drink, and let’s get started!
How Can I Improve My Baking? 10 Tips
When it comes to baking, These 10 tips are going to help you. Measuring ingredients accurately is very important since even a slight difference can affect the final product. Read the recipe at least once before starting to ensure you have all the ingredients and that you also understand the instructions, i.e., baking terms. Preheating the oven to the correct temperature before baking, as this can affect the texture and rise of the baked goods. Using high-quality ingredients and the right tools will also make a big difference. Overmixing the batter will result in a dry, tough baked good. You need to let the baked good completely cool before serving as this allows the structure to set. Keep the oven door closed, as any air let into the oven will hinder the baking process. And practice, practice, practice. The more you bake, the better you will get
Why Do I Need To Measure Ingredients Accurately?
Using too much or too little of an ingredient will affect your finished baked good, so measuring accurately is a must. Too much flour and your goody is going to be dry and crumbly. Too little will make your batter too moist and heavy and will not rise properly.
There are two different types of measuring cups. A dry measuring cup and a liquid measuring cup. To measure accurately, make sure you are using the right one. The liquid measuring cup has a spout on it for easy pouring, while the dry measuring cup is leveled around the edges.
To measure flour, use the spoon and level method. Fluff up your flour in your canister lightly with a fork, and then, with a gentle hand, spoon the flour into your measuring cup. Once the cup is full (do not pack it down), level the flour with the back edge of a butter knife. The only dry ingredient that will be packed down is brown sugar, and that will be specified in the recipe.
Pack brown sugar. Spoon the sugar into your measuring cup and gently push down the sugar. Continue doing this until your cup is full.
To measure liquid, set your measuring cup on the counter and fill it to the correct amount shown on the side of the cup. Do not hold the measuring cup with one hand and fill it with the other. You will get an inaccurate measurement doing it this way.
The same holds for ingredients measured with a measuring spoon. Dry ingredients, fill the spoon full and gently level with a butter knife or small spatula.
Read through your recipe, as some recipes will specify an ingredient measured in a certain way, either by weight or volume. Using a kitchen scale is the best way to get an accurate measurement by weight.
When I first started baking, I didn’t know any better. I would just scoop my flour with my measuring cup right out of the canister. No wonder my cakes never turned out.
Watch the video below on accurate measuring
Read The Recipe
Read the recipe completely before you start to make sure that you understand all the steps and baking terms, as well as to make sure that you have all the ingredients that you need. Nothing more frustrating than making that cake to come to the realization that you are out of vanilla or that you do not have almond extract. Been there and done that!
Once you have read through the recipe, you need to follow the instructions in order. Baking recipes are usually written to be followed in the order it gives in the instructions. Follow them exactly, and don’t skip any steps.
Reading through the recipe also helps to avoid any mistakes, such as misreading measurements. I have done that. Read this article.
Know Your Baking Terms
Knowing your baking terms is going to help you follow that recipe the way it needs to be followed. Not knowing them and you are going to get less than perfect baked goods. Such as “folding.” When making an angel food cake, it is necessary to follow the folding method. Otherwise, you are not going to get that light, airy texture that angel food cake is known for.
The same with the term “cut in.” This method is used when making pie crust. Not knowing what that means and not doing it correctly, you are going to have a tough pie crust. Need help with your baking terms? Read this article.
Use Quality Ingredients
You need to make sure that your ingredients are fresh and not past their expiration date. Baking powder and baking soda lose their potency over time. Try to use pure vanilla and not vanilla flavoring. This will make your baked goods taste so much better. Did you know that you can make your own vanilla extract? Here is more information.
Another factor is the flour you are using. While all-purpose flour can be used in most recipes, using bread flour to make bread will enhance the flavor and texture by making the dough more elastic, while using cake flour will make a lighter, fluffier cake. Use fresh flour and sugar, not any that have sat in your pantry for a while.
The same principle for eggs and butter. Fresh is so much better and great for getting those baked goods that well, taste great!
Use The Right Tools
Use the right tools. You are not going to use a spoon to whisk your dry ingredients or eggs. A spatula comes in handy when it comes to “folding” your ingredients. Use the correct size baking pan. It will make a big difference in your baking.
Here are some tools that will make your baking a whole lot easier.
A Spatula is used to scrape down the sides of mixing bowls during mixing and is great for folding ingredients together gently. Silicone spatulas are a great option as they are heat-resistant and easy to clean.
A whisk is used to beat ingredients together when you are wanting to incorporate air into the mixture. Such as eggs or dry ingredients, before adding in your wet ingredients.
Cooling Racks are needed when it comes to cooling your baked goods. They allow air to circulate around the product, which helps them to cool more quickly and evenly.
A rolling pin is a must when making pie dough, after all, you have to get that crust rolled out nice and evenly. Pretty hard to do with just your hands.
We cannot forget measuring cups and spoons. Just remember to get 2 sets of measuring cups. 1 set for liquids and the other for dry ingredients.
A kitchen scale will come in handy when you need to measure by weight instead of volume.
This is just a small list. There are so many more tools for making your baking easier.
Overmixing is a common mistake when it comes to baking. We think we have to get all the lumps out, but a few small lumps are not going to hurt anything. Overmixing can result in tough, dry, or rubbery baked goods. Here are a few tips on how to avoid overmixing.
- Mix ingredients just until they are combined. Over-mixing can cause gluten to develop in the batter, which can result in a tough baked good.
- Use the right mixing method. Different methods are used depending on what baked good you are making. For example, in most cakes, the creaming method is used. The butter and sugar are creamed together until light and fluffy. Angel food, chiffon, and sponge cakes use the folding method. This is where the egg whites are gently folded into the rest of the batter with a gentle hand. This gives them that soft, airy texture. When making bread, kneading is necessary to form that gluten which makes your bread light and chewy.
Why Do You Need To Preheat The Oven?
Preheating the oven allows the oven to reach the desired temperature before adding your baked good. This means they will be baked evenly and all throughout the product. This is especially important with baked goods with a leavening agent such as baking powder and baking soda. These ingredients need that blast of heat right off the bat, so to speak. Otherwise, you will end up with heavy, undercooked, hard, rubbery breads and cakes.
The first thing is to turn your oven to the temperature stated in the recipe before you even start. Your oven should preheat for at least 20 minutes. For more information, read this article.
Keep The Oven Door Closed
Every time you open that oven door while your cake is baking, you are letting in cool air. This messes with the temperature of your oven, and that cake is not going to bake evenly. Best advice? Check it 5 min before the baking time is up according to your recipe. You can also check through the oven door, just don’t open it!
Why Do You Need To Let It Cool?
Allowing your baked goods to cool completely prevents crumbling, for one thing. Those cakes and breads are delicate and need time to set up. Slice into it while still warm, and you are going to have a crumbly mess on your hands. Slice into that pie while still warm, and you are going to have a runny mess. Icing that cake while still warm, and you will have a runny sticky mess. See where I am going here. Let it cool.
Practice Practice Practice
Like any craft or skill, baking takes practice to get it just right. Here are a few tips:
Start with simple recipes. This allows you to master the basic techniques before moving on to more complex and complicated recipes.
Repeat until you get it right. The more you work at it, the better you will get.
Baking can be a fun and rewarding hobby that produces delicious treats for yourself and others. By following these tips: using quality ingredients, preheating your oven, following the recipe, measuring accurately, using the right tools, avoiding overmixing, understanding oven temperatures, and letting your baked goods cool properly, you can ensure that your baked goods turn out perfectly every time. And remember, practice makes perfect. Keep practicing, and experimenting with new recipes and techniques, and you’ll soon become a baking pro. So, get your apron on, preheat that oven, and start baking!
Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts and experiences
And As Always
Keep On Baking!