Tips To Baking Like A Pro
Baking is both art and science, but it doesn’t have to be complicated! Whether you’re a lifelong baker or just learning the basics, these tips will help you take your cakes, pies, cookies, and pastries to the next level.
Measure Ingredients Properly
Measuring ingredients correctly is the best way to ensure that your baked goods turn out properly. Ideally, you should measure by weight with a kitchen scale. Many online recipe publishers are offering weight (metric) measurements for ingredients, and most new cookbooks – or any from overseas – should have weight units as well. If a recipe doesn’t have a weight unit, you can experiment using this conversion chart, or use the sweep and scoop method.
The scoop and sweep method keeps the flour from packing in the cup, which would give an inaccurate measurement. To scoop and sweep, stir the flour in the bag or container, then use a spoon to lightly spoon the flour into a flat-bottomed measuring cup until its a little overfull. Then, use the back of a butter knife to sweep the excess flour back into the bag. Never tap or shake the measuring cup.
Invest Your Money Where the Flavor Is
If you’re ready to upgrade some of your baking ingredients but don’t know what’s worth the extra money, try starting with ingredients that most impact the flavor of your baked goods. Butter, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and spices are all great ingredients to start upgrading. Many bakers find that more premium flours and sugars affect the overall quality of their baking, but these can be quite costly upgrades, so consider holding off until you’re fairly advanced in your baking abilities.
Use the Right Temperature for Ingredients
Some ingredients need to be at room temperature; others need to be cold or even melted – it just depends on the recipe! In general, eggs will almost always be at room temperature because they blend and aerate better at room temp. Butter usually needs to be room temperature and soft, but pie crust and pastry calls for very cold butter! Liquids are also usually best at room temperature. If your recipe calls for room temp ingredients, you can measure and set them out at least an hour ahead of time or bring eggs to room temp in warm water for about 10 minutes.