While most of us are perfectly comfortable cooking up a bowl of noodles, fried rice or some grilled chicken with a tad bit of our own creativity when it comes to baking stuff we prefer to stick to the recipe books and at times rightly so.
Baking is all about accurate timing and precision and thus leaves little room for creativity so today I am going to share with you with a few secrets out of my cookbook to help you bake better.
I use ingredients at room temperature
I am sure you’ve come across plenty of recipes that specify you to use the baking ingredients cream etc. at room temperature. Ever wondered why that is? This is because at a moderate temperature these ingredients are simpler to mix irrespective of whether you use a stand mixer, beater or do it by hand.
Also adding ingredients of varied temperature to each other can often result in splits or fat separation. Temper hot ingredients into colder ones for better results.
I always weigh each ingredient
Like I mentioned above baking is all about precision and thus it is important to eliminate any guesswork involved and measuring every ingredient is the best way to do so. All recipes mention the exact weight of every ingredient.
Always have a top notch digital scale for accurate reading. It costs less than $50. Apart from that also make sure you have a set of measuring spoons and cups.
Never forget to grease your pans well
To grease your pans you can use a number of agents such as butter, flour, or even some olive oil but when doing it make sure it’s not just a few strokes. A well-greased pan stops the batter or dough from sticking to the edges once the cake, bread etc. are cooked.
In case you have used flour make sure you get rid of the excess and also do not let your fingerprints leave vacant room for the dough or batter to stick. Here’s how to do it the right way
I got the right equipment
Having a top end oven isn’t a necessity. An average oven can work equally well, even a cooker can help you bake well but what really matters are your bakeware and equipment. For mixing only a KitchenAid stand mixer is my recommendation. Its attachments and metallic or glass bowl etc. are exactly what’s needed.
Apart from that, you’ll also need thick, heat resistant metal pans, some parchment sheet, a separate whisk etc. Avoid cheap bakeware for best results.
I avoid substitutes unless a necessity
Most people will tell you maple syrup etc. are perfect replacements for sugar but that’s not true. Yes, it’s lovely but won’t have the same impact as powdered sugar would. Sugar reacts differently when heated. It adds better texture, moisture etc. and no avoiding sugar completely will not make it a healthy cake and in fact can lead to flatter and oddly shaped cakes.