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[NO_TOC] for Best Baking Tips
Our Best Baking Tips – Learn From Bakers and Chefs
Ever notice how some people just love to bake? And then, how do others hate even the thought of it? Using these best baking tips often makes a huge difference in how much you enjoy baking.
Of course, we all love having the delicious aromas drifting from the oven and dispersing throughout the home. In fact, real estate agents often suggest that sellers bake some favorite cookies when prospective buyers visit as it creates a huge appeal.
But for those who never learned to love the art of baking, it seems more like torture than pleasure. Will those cookies ever taste as good as Grandma’s?
Indeed, they will with our Best Baking Tips!
While even the best baker using a tested recipe occasionally experiences that baking day flop, knowing the basic tips and tricks reduces the chance of the baker’s disaster. In fact, these tips ensure you always (almost!) have great success with your baked goods.
OUR BEST BAKING TIPS AND TRICKS
1) Baking is a Science.
When we think of cooking, it seems to be as much art as science. In fact, we encourage cooks to take a basic recipe and create their own masterpiece. Cooking encourages changes in spices and herbs. You might even change the main ingredient.
Not so with baking. Bakers are chemists, creating exact science experiments. Once the experiment is perfected, it can be recreated over and over with similar results. Conversely, even a small adjustment could be your undoing. However, you probably won’t know it until you pull your cake out of the oven.
Before beginning your baking, read the recipe thoroughly, beginning to end. Yes, even if you have made that chiffon cake several times, it helps to read through and remember all the ingredients and steps. And then, complete each step precisely as it is written. Once you have baked the recipe at least once, you may find ways you want to alter it. In fact, that is how new recipes are developed. But unless you have followed the directions the first time, leave the initial experiments to expert bakers.
2) Measuring matters.
Carpenters practice the “measure twice, cut once” adage. Bakers should consider this rule, too. A teaspoon of baking soda is not the same as a tablespoon. Measure using cups and spoons and be exact. Further, some ingredients may need to be weighed for best results.
Flour is one of those ingredients. The weight will depend on the type of flour, the way it is packed into your cups, and even the humidity in the air. One technique that helps is to stir the flour in the bag. Then use a spoon to scoop it into the measuring cup. The backside of your table knife makes a good straight edge to level the flour in the cup.
For those wondering how Grandma managed to bake bread without measuring, she did not ignore our best baking tips. Rather, Grandma made bread often enough that she learned to measure by the feel of the dough! With experience, you will, too!
3) Quality ingredients.
Your end product will only be as good as the ingredients used to create it. Look for quality brands that fit the recipe requirements. It really does matter.In fact, pros consider this one of the most important best baking tips
4) Ingredient temperature.
Again, remember that this is chemistry. The temperature of your ingredients will affect your finished product. Cold butter is not the same as melted butter. Any adjustment in the ingredient temperature may cause a different chemical reaction. The end result may be very different!
5) Fresh Ingredients.
Most items are affected by age. Butter, for instance, loses moisture the longer it sits in the fridge, causing baked goods to be dry. Buy and use the freshest ingredients you can find. Check dates on the packing.
6) Use unsalted butter in baking.
Most baking recipes call for unsalted butter. This allows you to control the sodium level, which in turn affects the moisture absorbed in your baked goods. However, if all you have is salted butter, don’t worry. Just reduce the added salt required by half.
Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast all lose their ability to cause a rise over time. Professional bakers often buy new baking soda and baking powder every 6 months. While you can use it past that point, you may need to test it to see if it is still active. Better yet, bake more often!
Active dry yeast should be stored in the freezer to retain its lifting power.
9) Mood matters.
Yes, your mood matters. If you are rushed or having a bad day, you may not be as careful with your measuring and mixing. Most mixing and kneading requires a relaxed baker. So, consider finding a time when you are not rushed, not overly tired, and have the energy to work through your recipe. Find the best time of day. Add in your favorite cooking music. Dance, if it helps!
You may have heard the old saying, “Never bake on a rainy day.” Humidity and temperature outside do have an effect on the climate inside your home. Higher humidity affects the ability of the dough or batter to rise and dry properly. Even rolling out your dough can be a challenge.
Of course, you might want to still bake on rainy days. Just remember that you may need to adjust your quantities and times slightly.
11) Parchment paper- your baking buddy!
Not only does parchment paper helps batter and dough bake evenly, it also makes removing baked goods from their pans much easier. And your pans are nearly clean! Our general rule is to always line baking sheets, cake pans, and baking dishes with parchment. ALWAYS.
12) Invest in a good mixer.
Good mixers cost money, but they last for many years and save so much time and money. Imagine having a bread kneader, meringue maker, and whipped cream talent at your side. That is your stand mixer.
13) Grease and flour.
Cake pans need thorough greasing and flouring. This allows the cakes to slip out of the pan easily after cooling. When using a bundt pan, consider that the more grooves your bundt cake pan has, the more critical the greasing and flouring process. Consider using a baking spray that incorporates flour in the spray.You usually get better coverage with a spray. And the one step process is easy.
14) Nonstick spray.
Use your sink! Hold the pan you are spraying over the sink when spraying pans with nonstick spray. This keeps the side spray off your countertops. However, carefully ensure you spray every nook and cranny.
15) Scrape your bowl.
Whether mixing by hand or with a mixer, it’s important to scrape the mixing bowl and then remix. Otherwise, you may be missing some ingredients that stick to the bottom or sides of the bowl. Your final product suffers for it. Scraping is best done with a good quality flexible spatula.
16) Invest in good spatulas.
Sure you can find cheap spatulas. But good quality ones will last much longer and don’t cost much more. Consider using a silicone spatula that will withstand heat. Look for one with a one-piece handle that is easy to keep clean.
I actually have two types that I use, depending on the need. For flexible batters, such as cake batter, I like these:
But when I am mixing a denser dough, including most cookie doughs, I use this set:
In fact, the less flexible set finds daily use when cooking, too! Mine is red, but the multi-color is pretty, too.
17) High altitude baking.
Chemistry again! Higher altitudes have less air pressure. Your baked goods, especially cakes and the like, will rise higher but dry out because the liquids evaporate faster. That is why many recipes give different measurements and oven temperatures and times for altitudes above 3500 feet.
For most cake recipes: You should increase the oven temperature by about 25° from 350 to 375 degrees F. You also need to increase the liquid by 2 tablespoons for each cup used. Decrease each cup of sugar by 1 tablespoon, each teaspoon of baking powder by 1/8 teaspoon. Also, decrease the baking time by 5 minutes.
18) Pan size.
If possible, use the pan size recommended in the recipe. If you alter the pan size, your baked good will cook much faster or slower than mentioned.
19) Like fluffy cookies?
Create your own break and bake cookies. Roll your dough into logs. Wrap the logs in plastic, and freeze. To bake, cut the dough into rounds. Then bake just like store-bought break-and-bake cookies. The exterior of the dough usually sets and bakes before the interior has time to thaw, producing puffier cookies.
20) Bake in the center.
Unless your recipe states otherwise, always place the pans and baking sheets in the center of the oven. They should not touch each other or the oven walls. Some ovens aren’t wide enough to allow two pans, side-by-side on one rack. In this case, place them on different racks but slightly offset. This allows for better air circulation.
21) Rotate pans while baking.
This pertains primarily to cookies and pastries as you need to avoid opening the oven when baking a cake. It might collapse. However, with cookies and pastries, rotating cookie sheets halfway through baking ensures even baking. In fact, rotating cake pans after they’ve been in the oven for at least 20 minutes usually works. However, most bakers avoid moving cakes while baking.
Knowing when to remove cookies from the oven confuses some new bakers. Look for when the edges turn golden and set (dry). The center should look very slightly under-baked. When you remove them, allow them to cool completely on the cookie sheet for soft chewy cookies.
23) More on cooling and keeping cake top level
To cool cakes, place upside down on a cooling rack. This helps flatten out the tops, creating easy-to-stack disks for layer cakes. Alternatively, using a string or serrated knife to slice off an uneven dome.
24) Don’t change the oven temperature and times
You might feel rushed and want to speed up the baking. However, bakers advise against this. Most baked goods, especially cakes, lose moisture too quickly when cooked hard and fast. You also risk burning delicate ingredients, possibly ruining your baked good.
25) Use an oven thermometer
Ovens often run hotter or cooler than the selected temperature. Over time, this may become a bigger difference. Attach an oven thermometer to the oven rack. Monitor it each time you bake, adjusting your temperature, as needed.
Substitute at Your Own Risk. Yes, we offer a page that includes substitutions. And most will work out well in your recipes. However, we try to note when a recipe must use the exact ingredients. And you should always consider your substitutions as potential chemistry experiments.
27) Separating Eggs.
Separating eggs need not be messy and difficult. Start with cold eggs. Crack them on the side of the egg, hitting just once, hard. Some will hit on the flat side on the counter. Other chefs use the side of a bowl or cup, again, hitting very hard to ensure it cracks. Using the side of the bowl sometimes creates more shattered pieces. These tiny pieces might find their way into your baked goods. While you can use a cute little egg separator, it’s just as easy to use your fingers. Even better, in our experience, is using a slotted spoon which is probably already in your kitchen. See the video below for examples.
When using egg whites for meringues, make sure your fingers don’t touch the egg whites. Even a slight amount of oils from your hands can flatten the meringue. Also, make sure the yolk doesn’t break into the egg white. One drop of egg yolk makes it impossible to beat the egg whites into firm peaks. Use a whisk attachment with an electric mixer to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar. Use 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar for each egg white, or according to the recipe directions.
29) Room temperature.
Room temperature, chilled, or frozen? Always use room temperature eggs and room temperature butter, unless otherwise stated in the recipe.
30) Warming eggs.
To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, crack them into small bowls before starting the recipe. Another option is to run them under warm tap water for 5 minutes before cracking.
31) Easy does it with the dough.
Be gentle with pie crust, other pastry dough, and bread dough. While it might be tempting, avoid taking out your daily frustrations on dough. Treating your dough roughly causes baked goods to become tough. Handle dough gently. Use only a light dusting of flour on the rolling pin or counter. Remember, too much handling and extra flour results in a tough dry pie crust and bread.
32) Rest your dough.
Pie crust, scones, biscuits, and other quick breads need to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Allowing them their chill time ensures they are easier to handle.
33) Keep your cool, and theirs.
Pie crusts and quick breads need to be rolled and formed quickly. Doing so gets them in the oven while they are still cool. This results in the light, flaky texture we expect. However, If the dough warms before you are done rolling and cutting, simply chill it again before baking.
34) Foaming or proofing the yeast.
Yeast proofing or foaming, also known as sponge or bloom is essential to a quality rise. Here, water temperature plays a key role. Too hot and you kill the yeast. Too cold and it won’t activate. Your water temperature should be around 110-115°F. Use a thermometer to ensure accuracy.
Follow your recipe. Usually, you will need about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sugar or other sweeteners. Stir the sugar into the water, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface and gently stir in. It should begin to foam within a couple of minutes if your temperatures are correct and the yeast is active. Allow 5-10 minutes for a good foam to form.
If it doesn’t produce foam, discard and begin again. If the water temperature was correct, you will need to try a fresher yeast. If it’s been a while since you’ve used your yeast, you may want to test a small amount in warm sugar water before starting.
35) Lightly flour
Flour keeps your work surfaces, tools, and hands working well together. This includes your bakers’ mat or countertop, rolling pin, cookie cutters, knife, and also your hands. When it doubt, add a slight amount of flour. Don’t overdo it, however. You don’t want to undo the proper proportions you have established in measurements.
36) Use wax paper.
Save yourself the hassle of dough sticking to surfaces or falling apart when you are moving it. Wax paper enables you to move your dough easily. Simply roll your pastry dough on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper. Invert the pastry over the pan, or filling, and peel the paper off. So easy!
37) Cover up and patch.
Tears and holes in your dough happen. Even the most experienced bakers understand this fact. But they need not ruin your product. Patch tears in pastry by pressing or pinching it back together. For large gaps, use trimming cut from extra dough or the trimmings from the overhanging dough.
EXCEPTIONS: Bread dough, including pizza and focaccia, should be handled very carefully. In fact, they may seem impossible to patch once it is torn.
38) Save the stretches
Pie crust should be rolled a bit larger than you need, then carefully placed into the pan. Avoid pulling or stretching it into position. Crusts tend to shrink back to their original shape if stretched. Instead, gently ease the pastry dough into the pan. Then tuck it into the bottom creases and crimp the edges. When you gently handle your pie crusts, you will enjoy that deliciously flaky crust!
39) Shine on!
Want your baked goods to glisten? Just before baking, brush the top of crusts, scones, rolls, or biscuits with cream. Another option is to sprinkle sugar over the top for extra glitz. Egg wash works as well. (see our next tip)
40) Egg wash.
A simple mixture of 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water, egg wash seals crusts together (like in turnovers) and adds color and shine on the crust of baked goods. Some bakers use egg wash over pie crusts and pastry dough while using cream over everything else.
41) Air baking.
Air baking sheets produce even results for most baked goods. Comprised of two layers of metal, they allow for airflow between the metal sheets.
42) Conventional vs. Convection.
Convection cooking has been around for awhile. Newer ovens often offer the choice when you set them for baking. With a greater airflow, convection heating creates higher, crustier, baked goods. Cookies will be fuller and have a crispy exterior with a soft center. Breads develop a nicely browned, crusty texture.
So when should you use convection? If the recipe calls for convection, of course. But even if it doesn’t, try the convection setting. Most baked goods benefit from the airflow and drying effect.
But remember to adjust your temperature. Some ovens adjust the temperature automatically for convection cooking. If not, you can do so. In general, convection cooking is done at a lower temperature (25°f less for most; 50°f less for higher temperatures). Cooking time is usually slightly less, too. Your 8-10 minute cookie bake time might be as low as 5 minutes. Watch each batch and adjust accordingly.
43) Hands off the door.
Whichever style, conventional and convection baking, resist opening the oven door until the minimum baking time has passed. Heat is lost each time the door opens. This can alter the baking time and may produce a lower-quality product.
44) Preheat (don’t cheat!)
It’s so tempting to put those cookies into the oven before your oven is quite at the proper temperature. Remember, baking is chemistry. That “little cheat” may produce dismal results. Temperature greatly affects the outcome.
45) Preheat tweaks.
If you are putting more than one baking sheet in the oven or will take an extra moment to put your products in, consider that the door might be open longer than normal. It’s losing heat, causing the temperature to lower below the desired baking temperature.
Consider setting the preheat temperature 25°f higher than needed. Put the items in and close the door. Then (and this is important!) lower the temperature back to the correct baking temperature. Chances are that your oven will indicate that it is now at the right temperature. In fact, some experts believe that about 25°f is lost each time the door is opened.
46) Frosting Facts. straight from the pros own best baking tips!
Homemade frostings are delicious and easy to make. However, getting the right consistency provides some challenges. Adjust it slowly. Avoid making major changes, even if it seems necessary. The consistency changes quickly. It’s easily fixed by adding a little extra powdered sugar when it needs thickening. Or, for frosting that is too thick, stir in a spoonful of milk, mixing completely, before adding more. Remember, adjust in tiny amounts to get the perfect spreadable frosting.
Resist the urge to frost your cakes, cookies, or other baked goods until fully cooled. Patience is a virtue for baking, as well as in life! Frosting a warm or hot baked good will melt the icing and cause it to slide off the side. Patience!
47) Quick cool.
Running late? Sometimes we need to hurry and our cake is just not cooling fast enough. It’s best to plan ahead, but for those rush times, we have a solution. Clear a place in your refrigerator or freezer. Most will cool in about half an hour in the refrigerator, half as long in the freezer.
48) Flash freeze.
Remember those frozen cakes from your grocery? They came already perfectly iced! It’s no secret. But rather, pros use this with other best baking tips often.
Flash freezing is the process of freezing a product unwrapped. Once frozen, you can wrap it and freeze again. This works well with frosted cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Simply place them in the freezer, uncovered, for 30-60 minutes. When the exterior is quite hard, wrap well and put back in the freezer. To enjoy your cake, remove from the freezer, unwrap, then let it thaw on your countertop for several hours before serving. It will have the perfect appearance of just baked and iced!
49) Bake in advance.
You probably have seen the ready-made pie crusts in your freezer section. You might have even used them before. Did you know you can bake your own in advance?
This not only saves time when you need a pie crust, it also makes it easier at baking time. You can make up extra crusts when you are baking, then freeze them to use later. This works with cookies, too. When you are ready to use them, they go from freezer to oven with no additional prep needed! We find this especially helpful at holiday time, but also useful for those quick quiche dinners.
50) Mix in order.
Those who had home ec class in school probably remember the “dry first” directions the teacher drilled in during baking days. That was good advice! And professional bakers consider this one of the most important best baking tips.
In general, beat sugar and butter together before combining with anything else. As your teacher said, combine all dry ingredients before adding liquids. Only then should you add the liquids. Following these steps ensures smooth, even mixing. It also makes certain your ingredients are truly blended.
When do you not follow this? A few recipes may change the steps. Of course, follow your trusted recipe, even if it deviates. However, make sure you understand the steps of your recipe clearly.
51) Beat it!
But only as much as needed. In fact, eating too much or too little affects the texture and volume of your cake. Most recipes will specify either hand mixing or beating with an electric mixer. Use this rule of thumb to estimate: one minute of medium beating with your electric mixer equals about 150-180 strokes by hand.
52) Gentle folding.
Most of us know how to fold clothes, but how do you fold batter? Using a good spatula, start at the bottom of the bowl. Sweep from the bottom to over the top, then back again. Remember we are not whipping or beating. Folding is a gentle process. Ensure even folding by turning your bowl as you fold.
53) Creaming butter and sugar.
Creaming might better be called beating. In fact, it’s best done with your electric mixer on high speed, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. This breaks the sugar down and creates a very sweet buttery mixture.
When called for in your recipe, creaming is a critical step that should not be skipped. Proper creaming, which may take 3-5 minutes, creates a lighter, airy baked good. The difference is quite noticeable in cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
54) Testing cakes- toothpicks or kabob skewers?
If you bake cakes, you want to keep long toothpicks or wooden skewers on hand. The test is simple. Insert your toothpick deep into the center of the cake. Make sure it doesn’t touch the pan. You know the cake is done if the toothpick comes out clean. Still batter on it? Back in the oven, it goes for a few minutes. Then check again.
No skewers or toothpicks? If the sides of your cake are pulling away from the pan (you will note a small separation around it) and the cake is puffy and golden on top, try lightly touching the top. If it bounces back, it is done.
Another way is to check the internal temperature. Insert it into the center of your cake (again, don’t touch the bottom of the pan). It’s done at 210°f.
55) Test batch. Too many people skip this and other essential best baking tips!
Testing a small batch of cookies, pastries, or other baked goods allows you to make adjustments if needed. You may find the oven temperature is too hot or not hot enough, or that you need to adjust the baking time. In fact, often it’s the size of the individual cookie that makes the finished product perfect. Testing takes a little longer but ensures better results.
56) Don’t overbake. Avoid a dry, tasteless product by sticking with this and other best baking tips
Just a little more time? It might be tempting to make sure it is totally done. However, overbaking produce less desirable results. Always set your timer for the minimum baking time and check your baked goods when the timer alerts. It’s important to remember that cookies will usually be slightly undercooked in the center when they are ready to come out. The centers set as the cookies cool.
57) Those cool baking sheets.
Use only cooled baking sheets. Putting cookies on a hot baking sheet changes the texture before then they go in the oven. Also, make sure you wipe them clean between batches. Using parchment paper helps keep them clean; use a fresh sheet with each batch.
58) Baking Soda and Baking Powder–Both?
Often recipes call for both baking soda and baking powder. This might seem redundant; after all, baking powder contains baking soda. However, this one of our best baking tips will save many of your recipes.
While both neutralize the pH of the recipe and create the airy lift, together they balance. If you use only baking soda, you will not have the lift as it is missing the acid to help it react. However, if you use only baking powder, the acid might take over the flavors, leaving an acidic taste to your finished baked goods. The combination is the balance in many recipes
59) Invest in quality bakeware.
Good bakeware will last for many years. You might even pass some treasured pieces to your children. Bakeware is not a place to economize. Buy fewer pieces to begin with, and buy the best. Then add to your collection as you are able.
We’ve put together a guide for you! — Which includes our best baking tips
60) Toasting nuts.
Intensify the flavor of nuts when using them in or on top of your baked goods by toasting them. This is easily done. Just spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast at 400°f for about 10 minutes. About halfway through, shake the pan to ensure the nuts are all distributed evenly. The delicious aroma will alert you that they are done. You will also notice a deepened color.
61) More is not always best – pros consider this one of the important best baking tips
Most baked goods rise and expand during baking. Therefore, your recipe will instruct you to fill your baking pans and tins to only about 2/3 full. This leaves the room needed for a nice rise that doesn’t spill over into your oven. If you truly want those mega-muffins, use the jumbo size muffin pans.
62) Baking with chocolate
Baking chocolate ingredients affect your finished product. For the best-baked goods, select the best chocolate. Read the label. The ingredients should include cocoa butter but no other fats. If it contains vegetable oil, look for another product. Vegetable oil in baking chocolate creates an inferior product.
Also, chocolate chips are not the same as chocolate baking squares. They contain additives that will help them hold their shape in your chocolate chip cookies. That’s good for cookies; not so good for melting chocolate for dipping or for the ganache. For these, use the baking chocolate bars or squares. Save your chips for cookies.
63) Chocolate chips.
Semisweet, bittersweet, milk chocolate– what do the terms mean? Sweet milk chocolate chips are pretty much a delicious treat. We reserve those for fresh eating.
Semi-sweet is dark chocolate. Bittersweet is extra-dark chocolate. Although they are interchangeable in recipes, semi-sweet is usually more available.
64) Freezer storage.
If you have room in your freezer, you can extend the life of many baking staples. Consider freezing:
- flour (all the types)
- baking soda
- baking powder
- berries and other fruit
- bananas (peel them first!)
65) Baking equivalents. Helpful best baking tips and cooking, too
- 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
- 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
- 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
- 2 cups = 1 pint
- 2 pints = 1 quart
- 4 quarts = 1 gallon
66) Refreshing spices.
Fresh spices have that fragrant aroma that pulls you in. Delicious! But they lose their intensity over time. To refresh them, simply place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. As soon as you smell the spice come alive, remove from heat and stir.
Alternatively, if you will be using oils in your recipe, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the spices, then saute over medium heat until the aroma develops.
67) Rise times.
Yeast doughs, including bread, usually need two rise times. The rise is affected by several factors including the room temperature, the ingredients used, and the recipe itself. As a general guide, consider the first rise to be 1-2 hours. During this time, your dough doubles in size. At this point, you deflate the dough, roll, cut, or form according to your recipe. Then it begins the second rise, which normally takes about half the time that the first rise needed.
Why are the times important? If the dough does not have sufficient time to rise, your bread will be quite dense and compact, rather than light and airy. However, if it rises too long, it may deflate in the oven. In fact, too long a rise often produces an almost alcoholic flavor to the bread.
Servings you expect from your cakes? Of course, you might choose to serve smaller or larger pieces. However, for general guidelines, consider these.
- 8-inch square pan serves 6-8
- 8-inch round layer cake serves 12-16
- 9×13 inch sheet cake serves 12-16
- 12 cup bundt cake serves 12-20
69) Dairy substitutions.
Need whole milk for the recipe but only have skim or 2% on hand? Add 2 tablespoons of melted butter to your measuring cup and fill with milk to make each cup needed. After all, butter is made from the cream of milk! You might also try substituting sour cream or full-fat plain yogurt. The difference will probably not be noticeable.
70) Split into small batches
If the recipe calls for chilled dough, consider splitting it into smaller pieces. Wrap separately. Your dough will chill faster and stay chilled while you work with one piece at a time.
71) Keep baked goods soft
You may have heard that placing a slice of baked bread into your container of cookies will help soften them. It does. However, when used with the cookies before they harden, it also keeps them soft. The cookies absorb the moisture from the bread. When the bread dries out, just replace it. You may use the same technique for muffins and biscuits.
72) Marshmallows soften the sugar
Like bread with cookies, keeping 2 to 3 marshmallows in with your brown sugar keeps it moist and prevents the hardening. Just replace the marshmallows when they harden.
73) Cooling rack improv
No cooling rack? Use the parchment paper that you baked with. You can also use clean baking mitts or silicone baking mats.
74) Cool well before storing.
Completely cool your baked treats to room temperature before wrapping or covering them. Never rush to put them away warm. The evaporation and condensation from baked goods wrapped warm will ruin the crispy, golden tops.
75) Stay stocked. Even the best baking tips won’t help if you run out of ingredients
For baking on a whim, keep these things on hand:
- brown sugar
- baking soda
- baking powder
- dry active yeast
- unsalted butter
- coconut oil
- cocoa powder
- shredded coconut
- pure vanilla extract
- other flavorings such as mint, almond
- baking spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamom, mace
- plus any others you find yourself using a lot
With your essentials at hand, you can whip up special treats on a whim!
76) Caution: Sugar!
Use caution when adjusting sugar in your recipes. Sugar helps adjust the crust color, as well as texture. Using too much sugar causes a dark crust. Too little causes too light of a crust, as well as a tough texture.
77) Frosting a cake. Made easier with these best baking tips.
Brush the excess crumbs off the cake. Then freeze each layer separately. When frosting, use a long frosting spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the cake. Rotate the cake while dispersing the frosting. Bakers find that the revolving cake stands make frosting a cake much easier.
Practice piping before trying on your cake. Wax paper makes an ideal practice surface. You need a set of piping tips of standard sizes.
If you are new to piping frosting, invest in a set of piping tips with several standard sizes. Don’t go overboard, though. Use a piece of wax paper to practice on before piping onto your cake. Usually, the back of the package will have some guides as to what shapes you can make with the tips you bought.
79) Make it glisten!
Ever notice how professionally made cakes have a beautiful glossy finish? Use your hair dryer to replicate that. Just before serving, use your dryer on a medium heat setting. This creates that gorgeous glistening that we admire!
80) Cutting desserts, made easy. (we use these best baking tips a lot!)
Simply put, use a hot knife to cut cold desserts. Likewise, use a cold knife to cut hot desserts. For the hot knife, use very hot water, then wipe it dry. To chill your knife, place it in the freezer for a few minutes. Then work quickly to slice. To ensure clean slices, make sure you wipe the knife with a wet paper towel between each slice.
To cut bars, use parchment paper in your baking pan. It helps keep your pans clean, too! When the bars are cool, lift the bars out of the pan with the parchment paper. Now it’s easy to see the edges, allowing you to mark where you want each cut. Cut with a saw-like motion, cut straight down, then pull backward, repeating as you move through the bar. Be sure to wipe the knife before making each cut.
81) Sift when you must
Back in Jr High Home Economics, we sifted every time we used flour. Now, most flour is considered pre-sifted. Still, your sifter will come in quite handy at times.
Some recipes call for sifting, even if the flour is pre-sifted. For those, measure your flour, then sift. Sifting will add air and change the measurement. But by adding air, it creates ultra-light cakes, biscuits, and other baked goods.
Another time to sift is when you add cocoa powder to other dry ingredients. Sifting helps to create a well-blended mixture.
82) Need cake flour?
Some recipes call specifically for cake flour. However, unless you choose to keep it on hand, it’s easy to substitute. For each cup of cake flour, carefully measure 1 cup of flour (all-purpose or whatever type you are using). Put 2 tablespoons from your cup back into the bag. Now add 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Sift these together. And that is how we can save pantry space by keeping fewer types of flour! Pros often live by this and other best baking tips.
83) Buttermilk substitute
When your recipe calls for buttermilk, you can make your own substitute. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a one-cup measuring cup. Add whole milk to make a total of one cup liquid. In about 10 minutes, your milk should curdle into a nice buttermilk replacement.
84) Milk in the pantry.
Whether you use dairy milk or plant-based, you may occasionally run out. If that happens while you are baking, what do you do? You check out these best baking tips!
Reach for your milk in the pantry! In my mother’s day, she always had a box of dry milk powder. That big box could become drinking milk in minutes for times when food might be scarce. I remember using it in recipes, too.
In today’s kitchens, that dry milk option is still available. You will find other options, too, such as dry buttermilk, soy milk, and even potato milk.
And then there are the cans. You may have used evaporated milk in some of your baking. And indeed, keeping a can or two of evaporated milk on hand makes sense. If needed, it substitutes easily for heavy cream in a baked recipe.
85) Attitude, an important factor in best baking tips
similar to the mood in #9, but well worth repeating!
A calm attitude, gentle hands, careful attention to detail, and patience make up for a lot in baking. In fact, as we’ve mentioned, professional chefs avoid the kitchen if at all possible when they know they cannot maintain a good attitude.
Yes, our list of best baking tips seems quite long. In fact, we’ll probably think of others to add, too! Maybe you have a few to contribute? We’d like to hear your best baking tips! Please leave a comment below.
Whew… Yes, this is a lot of information to digest. In fact, you may not need it at this very moment. We suggest you bookmark (or pin) this post, so you can refer back the next time you fire up your oven.