If you have ever wished you knew how to bake, stop it. Wishing won’t help you get better at something you suck at. Good bakers are made, not born.
There is no “magic touch” or “baking hand”. All there is is practice. Unfortunately many of us don’t have the time to take a recipe and try it over and over again until we get it just right.
Before you even get to the recipe though, there are a few things you need to do to make sure you get the results you want. If you don’t do these these things, you will more than likely experience an epic fail.
#1- Have a Plan
The planning process doesn’t take forever. 3 minutes, tops. When you want to bake something, you need to plan before you start. Pick a recipe and read it through a couple of times before you attempt it. Make sure you understand all of the steps. If something is unclear, then get some clarity or pick a different recipe with easier to understand steps.
Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you need to complete the recipe. You also want to make sure you have an uncluttered work area. A few minutes of planning will save you time, money and make you look forward to baking instead of dreading it.
#2-Use Good Tools
Baking doesnt require expensive tools, but it does require tools that work. As I write this, I’m thinking of a metal scoop I use for portioning cookies and muffins. The spring mechanism doesn’t work as smoothly as I would like it to, so I it needs to go into the trash.
Using tools that are in bad condition will just frustrate you as you work, so replace what needs to be replaced.
#3 Use good Ingredients
You can’t be a first class baker with second class ingredients. Be sure everything you use is fresh and is high quality. There is a difference between vanilla extract you find at the dollar store and vanilla extract purchased at Penzys. Use the good one.
#4 Measure everything accurately
In the savory world you can add a pinch of this and a dash of that, but in baking it is a must that you put exactly what the recipe calls for.
Because baking is more of a science. When you are dealing with things like baking soda, baking powder and yeast, you have to be exact. Too much or too little of any of these products will have an effect on the end product.
#5 Mix Carefully
There are several basic methods of mixing that depend on what product you are making. You mix an angel food cake batter(folding) differently than you mix a quick batch of muffins (stirring). When you bake, things are done for a reason. The way an item is mixed will have an effect on the texture and quality of the final product.
#6 Know your oven(and your pans)
If you don’t bake a lot but want to start, invest in an oven thermometer. This type of thermometer stays in the oven and lets you know what the temperature is on the inside. You need one of these because a lot of ovens are not calibrated. For instance, you set your oven dial to 350 but whatever you make comes out burnt to a crisp. You get the oven thermometer, stick it in the oven and you realize that when your oven is set to 350, its actually 400.
Another thing that new bakers need to know about is different pan types. Baking pans can be made out of glass, silicone, stainless steel or other materials. A cake baked in a glass pan may have a lighter appearance than one baked in a coated stainless steel pan. If you are a baking newbie, you might think all pans are created equal, but they aren’t.
How to make sure you don't suck at read Baking
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