I’m taking a recipe writing break today to share with you Baking Tips for the Home Baker.
I’m going to be honest here… none of these tips are rocket science, but baking in itself IS a science. I’m still no expert, but as any seasoned baker will tell you, you pick up things along the way the more you do them.
Here are my tips:
- Always use room temperature ingredients. We all know that you need room temperature butter in any cake recipe, but did you know that your eggs should be as well or your milk, sour cream, etc.? Using room temperature ingredients allows everything to come together nicely and it also helps to prevent over working/mixing the ingredients.
- Check your recipe. Get all of your ingredients out before you begin. There’s nothing more fun then getting halfway into something and finding out you’re missing that key ingredient. Until you become comfortable with substitutions it’s best to make sure everything you need is on hand.
- Fresh ingredients. Just how long have you had that baking powder in your spice cabinet? Check your experation dates. They DO make a difference. Just try making cinnamon rolls with an expired packet of yeast… hockey pucks anyone? 😉
- Measure carefully. I still remember how the teacher in my 6th grade Home Economics class showed us how to level off a cup of flour or how to check a liquid measure at eye level while it sits on the counter not while you’re holding it in mid air. For instance you should always scoop your flour into a measuring cup to prevent it from being compacted. This is also why sifting is important. It not only gets any clumps out, but it aerates the flour. I store all my dry ingredients in big containers (like the industrial kind you get at Sams) that have a large opening so that I can easily scoop out what I need. In fact the pros don’t typically use volume measurements, they measure all ingredients by weight which allows for greater accuracy and easy duplication.
- Buttercream. Whenever a frosting/buttercream recipe calls for a liquid I ALWAYS use heavy cream. In my opinion it adds a richness that you just don’t get when you use milk. It also whips it up so beautifully. Always add it incrementally to avoid making the buttercream too wet.
As I write this I realize that I can give some more baking tips. Looks like I owe you guys a follow up post.
Baking is definitely an adventure. Just last week I had a fail when I made a “juicy” blueberry coffee cake. At least it tasted good. LOL I’m still learning and I’m always so excited when I figure out something new or when an idea I had actually works. 😀
I hope these baking tips help you on your next baking adventure. See you next week!