Baking is both a science and an art form. It’s not like cooking where you can throw in spices here and there at whatever quantity you decide. Baking requires precision and mastering the right techniques. If you’re looking to level up your bakes, here are 5 baking tips and tricks for beginners that can instantly make your baked goods so much better.
From mixing techniques in baking to the most basic baking tips, we’ve got something helpful for you. So grab your whisk and let’s get started.
Baking Tip #1: Read The Recipe Before Baking
Sit down and read the recipe thoroughly before even getting your whisk out. Reading the recipe will help you know what equipment and ingredients you need as well as how much time you need to set aside for baking and cooling. You don’t want to promise your friends a tiramisu and end up empty-handed because you didn’t know about the overnight chill-time needed. Headaches can be prevented in the kitchen by this simple baking tip.
Baking Tip #2: Follow The Recipe Exactly
Especially if you’re a complete beginner, do exactly as the recipe says. Don’t deviate from the recipe and learn first how different ingredients and baking techniques impact the final product. So many people end up with baking fails because of seemingly simple substitutions that end up ruining a good recipe.
Baking Tip #3: Be Like The French and Practice Mise en Place
Gather everything you need and place them in your baking area makes the process easier and ensures that you have everything you need all in one place. Nothing is worse than putting your cake in the oven and remembering mid-way that you forgot to add sugar to the mix. Preparing what you need ahead of time is a basic baking tip that will save you time and money.
Baking Tip #4: Invest In an Oven Thermometer
Usually, most ovens have inaccurate temperature controls and no baking hack will make up for the wrong temperature set when baking. Use an oven thermometer the next time you bake to know exactly what temperature you’re baking your pastries in. Bake times and pastry textures vary greatly when baking at different temperatures.
Baking Tip #5: Measure Your Ingredients Properly
The best measuring technique in baking isn’t some magical trick, it’s using a digital kitchen scale. Out of all the baking tips and tricks for beginners, measuring your ingredients by weight is number one. Differences in temperature and humidity can drastically alter the volume of ingredients when measured with standard cups but weighing ingredients ensures you have perfect replicable results every single time.
If you don’t have a scale YET (we really urge you to get one ASAP), here are tips for measuring different types of ingredients:
Flour & Dry Ingredients: Spoon flour into your measuring cup instead of scooping it. Fill the cup until it’s overfilled and level with the flat side of a butter knife. Never shake the measuring cup which causes you to have more flour than you need.
Brown Sugar: Depending on the recipe, simply fill to the top or pack everything down with a spoon.
Wet Ingredients: Don’t use your regular measuring cups. Invest in liquid measuring cups with lines of measurement on the side for accuracy.
Baking Tip #6: Use Fresh Ingredients
Make sure you’re using fresh ingredients every time you bake. Check expiry dates especially for leaveners like baking soda and powder that lose their effectiveness after 6 months. Pre-ground spices like cinnamon also lose their strong flavors when not used up immediately.
Baking Tip #7: Make Sure Your Ingredients Are at The Right Temperature
Most recipes call for room temp ingredients. Having ingredients at the same temperature allows them to blend together easily and bake better just like when you’re creaming butter and sugar for cookies. Other baked goods call for cold ingredients, like brownies that require cold eggs to prevent it from rising like a cake when baked. Whatever ingredient temperature your recipe specifies, follow it.
Baking Tip #8: Always Crack Your Eggs In A Separate Bowl
Cracking your eggs into the mixing bowl seems like a time-saving baking hack but not when the shells fall and crumble inside or worse, you get a rotten egg and have to throw away everything. Crack your egg into a small separate bowl and incorporate them into the mix one at a time, or as your recipe calls for it.
Baking Tip #9: Use the Right Kind of Pans
Non-stick dark-colored pans aren’t a baking hack, they’re a recipe for disaster. Throw away your dark colored pans and use thick, light-colored ones instead. Dark-colored pans absorb heat and increase the chances of you burning the bottoms of your cakes and cookies. Thickr and light-colored pans, on the other hand, have better heat conduction and help your baked goods cook evenly.
Baking Tip #10: Mix Your Batter Properly Use The Right Mix
Different types of baked goods require using the right mixing techniques in baking. Some techniques like creaming require butter and sugar to be mixed for a long time (5 minutes) in a stand mixer until it gets the right fluffy consistency. Others, like chiffon cake, call for folding – a technique where one ingredient is added to another delicately by hand using a large spoon or spatula. Whatever the mixing technique is, make sure to follow what your recipe says.
Practice these baking tips and techniques and be a better baker by trying out this simple Banana Bread with Pecan Nuts recipe.