Almost a year back, I shared a post on Baking tips for beginners that one must be aware of if they want to bake. Since baking is so versatile and there’s always more and more opportunity to learn, I bring to you a Baking Tips 2.0 where I have compiled some quick and easy hacks to make your life in the kitchen so much easier!
When I was 16, I was in high school studying arts and I was baking one disaster after another. Back then, if someone would’ve told me that one day, I’ll have a recipe blog or a book, I wouldn’t have believed them. So if you’re in the same position and you love baking but you’re just not getting it right, hang in there because I guarantee you, it will surely get better! It took me years of practice, experimentation, and endless learning to get here. And in today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing some very helpful baking tips with you as I’m sure these tips will help you level up your baking game in no time!
Why I love baking
I’ve been baking since I was sixteen and I have this special memory of my Nani, making us two freshly baked cakes whenever we went to meet her. This was my first memory of desserts and also the most special one. There was something about baking that did not make me give up on it. Baking, for me, is one of the best ways to communicate! I started Bake with Shivesh with the idea to share my simple recipes with as many people as I can and it has always given me endless joy to see you guys recreating these recipes. I bake when I’m feeling low, or when I’m stressed. And I also bake when I’m happy. Sometimes, words aren’t enough, but a fudgy, gooey brownie is!
What not to do when baking
If you’ve been baking for a while and it isn’t turning out so well, you might be making some common baking mistakes. Here’s a list of things not to do when you’re baking in the kitchen:
- Don’t skip the sifting procedure as sifting incorporates air into the batter and makes sure that the dry ingredients are mixed well.
- It’s always recommended to not overmix your batter as overmixing can knock the air out of the batter and lead to a dense and heavy cake/brownie.
- Don’t substitute unless the recipe tells you to do so. Always find a recipe that has your required ingredient substitutions!
If you’re looking for egg substitutes in baking, do check out my article on the blog.
- Try not to open the oven door again and again, while baking. Wait until at least half of the baking time has passed to check on your baked goods.
Baking tips – 7 quick tips
Don’t worry because baking can be as easy as it seems if you keep the following baking tips and tricks up your sleeve:
1) Understand the ingredients
So my first baking tip to you guys would be to understand the ingredients you’re working with and the science of baking! Let’s start by talking about baking powder and baking soda, for instance. Baking powder has baking soda plus an acid in it so it reacts in itself. However, baking soda is alkaline and needs an acidic ingredient going in the recipe to react. So, use your baking soda only in a recipe that has an acid going in it, otherwise, you’ll get that horrible soapy taste. I use it in my chocolate cake, carrot cake or any dessert with citrus in it.
Talking about sugar, I recommend not using granulated sugar for baking as the chunks are too big and they don’t always melt in the oven, giving cakes that unwanted crunch. However, I would use this sugar for anything that I’m making on the stove like a compote or caramel.
2) Ingredients at room temperature
Make sure all the ingredients that you are using are at room temperature, especially the ones stored in the fridge like eggs, butter, and milk. If your eggs aren’t at room temperature, place your eggs in a bowl and submerge them in room temperature water. Let them sit for 5-6 minutes and they’ll be ready to use! The temperature of butter is the most tricky when it comes to baking and the consistency you’re looking for is softened. The reason why I never use butter straight out of the fridge is that it’s too cold and hard and it becomes almost impossible to emulsify it. However, I recommend using cold butter for pies, crumbles, and crisps. I also don’t use melted butter for my cakes until the recipe calls for it because it doesn’t have enough structure. So always use butter that’s neither too hard nor too soft!
3) Precise Measurements
I’m not a big fan of the phrase “Baking is a science” because it makes baking sound super intimidating, scary and boring. But I can’t deny the fact that you need to be very particular while measuring your ingredients. The most accurate way of measuring your ingredients is using a weighing scale but I know for a fact that not a lot of us have access to a measuring scale. So I would recommend you to get your hands on a good set of measuring cups and spoons. Whenever you’re using a measuring cup to measure your ingredients, use a spoon to transfer your ingredient into the cup and then use the back of the spoon to level it. While measuring flour, never pack the flour into the cup because in that case, you’ll end up getting more than what you need for your recipe.
4) Prep your pan correctly
There’s nothing more disappointing than a cake that’s stuck and doesn’t come out of the pan so it’s important to prep your pan properly! Always use a pastry brush or your fingers to brush your pan generously with butter or vegetable oil. Whenever you’re prepping your pan for baking, parchment is your best friend. Fold it into half, then another half and then twice diagonally. Measure it from the center of the pan and cut out the excess. Unfold and you’ll have a parchment that fits perfectly into your pan!
It’s also important to understand the difference between parchment paper and butter paper. Always use parchment paper to line your pans because butter paper is not always heat resistant and does not hold the shape in the oven.
5) Add one egg at a time
A lot of recipes require that eggs be added “gradually” or “one at a time” to the dough and batter. When you’re baking with eggs, always add them one at a time. If you add all the eggs at once, you run the risk of splitting the batter! So it’s always recommended that you add one egg and mix it well before you add the next.
6) Never over mix
This is the most important tip to keep in mind when you’re baking. Never over mix when you’re combining your dry and wet ingredients. This is one mistake that I made for the longest time when I started baking because I thought that the more I mix the batter, the better the cake will be. So ditch your electric mixer and switch to a spatula! The best way to mix your dry and wet ingredients is to cut and fold. Use a spatula to cut in the middle of the mixture, scrape the bottom and gently bring it to the top. Continue this slowly until everything is well combined. If you over-mix at this stage, you end up knocking out all the air that you’ve incorporated in your batter and this leads to a dense cake. Remember to mix only until you see no flour pockets in the batter.
7) Always Pre-heat the oven
Time and temperature affect the texture and flavor of baked goods and starting in a cold oven affects both of these variables. So, it’s important to pre-heat the oven before placing your cake. I always place my baking tray in the middle rack and please remember that the time mentioned in your recipe is always indicative. It may take slightly longer or slightly shorter, depending on your oven so keep an eye but don’t keep opening the oven door or else you’ll disturb the baking process.
So these were the baking tips that I’d like you to keep in mind the next time you enter the kitchen. I guarantee you, every time you take out a cake from your oven, it’ll be exactly how you want it to be! If you have any other tips, let me know in the comments below. Happy Baking!