Just because you’ve never baked before doesn’t mean you can’t create some delicious sweet and savoury treats from your oven.
After eating baked goods all their lives and watching cooking shows on TV, people often think they can just jump in, switch on the over, throw a few things into a bowl. Mix. And bake.
But it isn’t quite so simple. There are a few things that you need to do.
Don’t get stressed, there are countless easy baking recipes that you can master the first time you make them, so you just need to pay attention and take it one step at a time.
Stick to the Recipe
The first and foremost thing you should be remembering, besides the basic ingredients to your recipe, is to always and follow the recipe. If it asks you to preheat your oven to a 180 degree Celsius, do that. If it asks you to sift your flour, do that. Follow each step and in the respective order the recipe is asking you to.
Measure and Set out Ingredients
Having all the ingredients in front of you before you start whipping up your delicacy is the way to go. Measure all ingredients properly by using the required instruments and set them up in front of you so you are not running around like crazy in the middle of your preparation.
Correct Equipment, Better Results
Trust me when I say this, the right equipment will not only make your preparation much easier, but they also end up ensuring that you’re doing your recipe right.
Silicone spatulas aren’t just a hot, trendy item, they are very functional. Uniformly mixing your cake ingredients, ensuring that each drop of your batter has been transferred to the tin, to even cleaning out your final platter, silicone spatulas have become no less than a wish come true.
Pay a visit to one of our five stores for a great selection of baking equipment, from cake pans and pie dishes to spatulas and whisks.
Use Most Ingredients at Room Temperature
Yes, even the eggs. It’s all about consistency. Did you know the temperature of the eggs can actually alter the baking time? When eggs and batter are around the same temperature, they mix much more easily and rise quicker in the oven.
Mixing is Not the Same as Beating
This is that “be patient” thing, again. There really is a difference. Beating is a much more intense process than mixing. It means really combining the ingredients vigorously until no clumps remain.
The process of beating also introduces air into the mixture, which is especially important for breads and pies. This gives baked goods that light, crumbly, so-good texture.
What “Folding in” Ingredients Means
Typically, folding an ingredient into a mixture means adding a lighter mixture to a heavier one. Like folding in beaten egg whites into a mixture. This technique means you cannot just move a spoon around in a circular motion to mix the two together; that destroys all the air bubbles that give baked goods their lightness and rise.
Instead, use a spatula to gently push the lighter mixture down through, across and then over the top of the heavier stuff until all the ingredients are combined.
Melted Butter is Not Softened Butter
Hard butter is impossible to work with, which is why so many recipes call for softened butter. You can let hard butter sit out for a while, or pop it into the microwave for 10—15 seconds. But be warned: Melted butter and soft butter are not equal. Melted butter will give you chewier biscuits; cold or room-temperature butter will deliver a more cake-like consistency.
“A Pinch” is an Actual Measurement
When a recipe calls for “a pinch” of salt or spice that actually means about 1/8 teaspoon. You don’t have to measure it out; just use your thumb, index finger and middle finger to get the right amount.
Six Tips for Beginners
So, before you bake, here are six tips for beginner bakers before you start baking.
- Read the recipe thoroughly before starting and plan ahead.
- Measure out ingredients and get them all ready.
- Use ice cream scoops to portion your cookie dough, muffin batter, and cupcakes.
- Line your baking pans with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat to prevent sticking.
- Get to know your oven.
- Always test your breads, muffins and cakes with a toothpick to see if they are cooked.
These are just some basic baking tips for beginners which will help you – especially if you’re just beginning to try your hand at baking.