Baking is an art form. It takes patience, creativity, and a lot of know-how and technique to make delicious treats like pies, cakes, cookies, cheesecakes or bread. You can use many tips to increase the chances of success in the kitchen for bakers at any level. Here are six baking techniques that will help you improve your skills as a baker and bake like a pro!
Always Have the Correct Butter Consistency
Many recipes will call for all-purpose flour and butter. Butter is an essential ingredient in baking because it adds flavor, texture, and moistness to the baked good. When working with a recipe that calls for both elements, be sure to have the correct consistency of butter before mixing them. It will help if you use softened or melted butter when making doughs like biscuits, pie crusts, cakes, and others. If you bake frequently, then use butter sticks, so they’re ready for this step!
The other type of butter called “shortening” is from vegetable oil; therefore, it has no natural fat content, which means it is more solid at room temperature than regular butter. If you are using this type of butter and it’s not already at room temperature, then you can microwave the whole stick for a few seconds to make it easier to work with.
No matter what kind of butter you choose, be careful when mixing them because they will become one solid mass if you add too much of it. So only add enough until it becomes like dough and starts sticking to itself rather than everything else on the countertop!
If more flour needs to be incorporated before kneading begins, then do so but try adding small amounts (maybe ¼ cup) at a time. The goal should always be consistent, and less is better.
Weigh Your Ingredients
It may seem more time-consuming to weigh your ingredients, but this is crucial if you are going for a particular consistency. For example, when baking loaves of bread or cakes that require sugar in liquid form, cook until all the moisture evaporates and there is no sign of wet sugar on the sides of the pot. It will ensure perfect sweetness with no crystallization from too much heat.
Weighing your ingredients will also allow you to make sure that everything is mixed in evenly, which will prevent dry spots or lumps. Be sure to have the right ingredients, especially for milk, cream, and types of chocolate. Using an element with different fat content can easily mess up your result, especially for a simple white chocolate ganache recipe. Avoid blind substitutions in your recipe, as it may be the difference between superb and poor baking.
Always Have Your Ingredients Prepped
Most people would think this is a redundant tip. Still, it’s worth mentioning because of the time you can save by having your ingredients prepped before you start baking. You should measure every component needed for the recipe beforehand and have them waiting in small bowls lined up next to one another on your countertop or kitchen table.
Then you can grab them and dump them into their appropriate containers at the proper time during the cooking process. It will help make sure that all ingredients are ready at hand when you need them so that you don’t have to stop what you’re doing halfway through prep work to find an obscure element buried deep inside your pantry shelves.
Believe It or Not the Room Temperature Affects the Outcome
Room temperature is an overlooked variable when it comes to baking. However, what’s a little less known about this sensitive issue is that the climate in which you bake can affect the outcome of the cooking process. So, if you live in Arizona and are baking during August, for example, turn down your oven by 25°F because things will cook faster than usual due to increased humidity or even lower air pressure.
Finally, Read the Recipe Before You Begin
The last tip is to read the recipe before you begin. You may have heard this same advice from favorite cooking show hosts, but it does make a difference in not making mistakes. Also, once things are going, it’s always good to take a moment away from your workstation or stovetop to see where everything else stands on the timeline so that nothing burns or boils over. This habit will also help prevent mishaps with ingredients as well.
In conclusion, the taste and outcome of your baked goods will significantly depend on the cooking techniques you use. Always have the correct butter consistency, know that room temperature affects baking time, measure ingredients, and read through instructions before baking. Then, have fun with these six tips!