Baking Tips for Beginners
I got into baking to tick it off from my bucket list.
KG and I, are pro in cooking from cookbooks. I mean, we try brand new recipes from cookery books even for a very important get together and they turn out great, always. Following recipes from Nigella or Jamie or Tarla Dalal is the order of the day in our kitchen. So, following cake recipes should be just the same, I thought. I figured that beating and mixing the cake ingredients couldn’t be that hard. I was wrong.
When I started baking, some of my cakes and cupcakes didn’t rise to the occasion, some were as dry as the desert, some were as moist as a drowned rat and some went straight from the oven to the bin. In short, I have had a lot of baking disasters and some crazy and truly funny stories. But all these failures didn’t deter me, I persisted with patience and my whisks.
They say, baking is a science, yet the science behind baking is not always simple and easy. If you’re new to baking or have had baking disasters like me, here are 10 tips you may follow before switching on the oven.
1. Read the Recipe and Grab all the Needed Ingredients and Tools
This seems obvious, but when you’re excited to bake a cake or feel you already know what you’re doing, you might neglect this basic first step.
2. Follow the Recipe
When it comes to cooking, most of us go freestyle, we change, substitute or avoid certain ingredients or steps, fearlessly. But while baking, follow the recipe blindly. Period. Also, it is important to use a reliable, tried and tested recipe.
3. Measure Ingredients Properly
Measuring cups vary. I prefer a digital scale for the precise quantities. If the recipe says 1 teaspoon baking powder, I convert it into grams and measure 4 gms of baking powder. Yes, precision is everything in baking.
4. Ingredients at Room Temperature is the Key
Eggs, butter, milk, nuts, condensed milk which are usually kept in the fridge should be brought to room temperature, before baking. It’s better to keep them out for several hours. In case, I am in a hurry, I grate the butter, microwave milk for a few seconds, and keep eggs in a bowl of water in the sun to get the ingredients at room temperature.
5. Always Sift Dry Ingredients
Dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, etc should always be sifted. Sifting ensures that all of the individual dry ingredients come together to give a uniform mixture in the batter or dough and allows for a light, airy and delicate texture of the baked goodness.
6. Do Not Underdo or Overdo
When mixing, folding or kneading, do not underdo or overdo. Mix or fold batter until “just combined”, which means that you should stop mixing as soon as you can’t see the ingredient that you just added.
7. Pre-heating the Oven is an Absolute Must
Do not place the cake batter into the oven until it is at the right temperature. The science in baking will not accept such a mistake and your baking will turn into a failed attempt.
8. Keep the Oven Door Closed
It’s tempting to keep peeping in the oven to see the cake rising, the cookies baking, and the cupcakes puffing up! But doing this can create great fluctuations in heat, which can cause the cake to collapse.
9. Use the Right Sized Tin
If your cake has a big hump in the middle or it spills out of the pan, it is probably baked in a pan that is too small or you have overfilled the pan. If you choose a big tin, your cake could end up a thin, dry pancake.
10. Never Give Up
Don’t get de-motivated! You’ll make mistakes, but just learn from your experiences and keep growing as a baker.
Do you have any baking advice to share? What is your favorite tip for new bakers?
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