The summer is here and you will have lots of baking to do but you are short of ideas. Consider the following tips to help you make those delicious baked foods that everyone will love and appreciate. Even the best cooks will sometimes need help baking, take your skills to the next level by checking out the ideas that have been proven to be very beneficial.
Measure all Ingredients properly
It is easy to assume when making that you are using the right ingredient measurements. Don’t just assume, make sure you measure. Make use of cups, spoons and calibrated ingredients to measure and use the right quantities mentioned in the recipe.
Calibrate the oven
The temperature in the oven might not be what you set it to be, if for instance, you set the oven temperature at 350F whereas the oven can only heat to 320F then your final baked food will not be what you want it to be. Make sure your oven is properly calibrated before the summer baking.
Use a Light-colored pan and tray
You must use light-colored pans and food trays because dark-colored options absorb more heat and that could cause the bottom of your baking products such as cookies and cakes to burn. If dark-colored pans are all you have, then you might want to lower the baking temperature.
Make Use of Unsalted Butter
Unless the recipe says you should use salted butter, you should consider using the unsalted option and the reason being that salt can adversely affect flavor. Salt is also known to change the way gluten develops flour and that can affect the consistency of the dough.
Always Scrape the Mixing Bowl
Sometimes you try to mix ingredients in a bowl as thoroughly as possible but it doesn’t work well because some parts of the mixture, including eggs, sugar, and butter are stuck to the side of the bowl. It is important to stop the mixer every 20-30 seconds and scrape the mixing bowl for thorough mixing.
Always Keep the Oven Close
It is quite tempting to always peep inside the oven to see how things are going. If you are baking a cake, allowing too much air inside the oven and cause the cake to fall and even much heat will be lost. You may want to rotate the pans half-way through cooking, just to keep the doors closed longer.
Keep Ingredients at Room Temperature
Unless the recipe says otherwise, you should keep ingredients at room temperature because they emulsify much better and easier into the batter which in turn creates a uniform texture. Mixing cold and hot ingredients can create non-uniform batter on the long run.
Chill the Cookie Dough
If the recipe says you must chill the cookie dough for a specific time, you must not skip that. If your recipe has produced a very sticky dough, make sure you chill it before rolling. Chilling will firm up the cookie dough, thus reducing the possibility of cookie dough spreading. Chilling will ensure a thicker and more solid dough.
Make use of Fresh Ingredients
Keeping your ingredients fresh has numerous advantages. The chemical leavening agents in particular, which include baking soda and baking powder must be fresh because they will lose most of their effectiveness after 6 months and that means your baked goods may not rise as they should. Similarly, items such as nutmeg, and cinnamon may also lose their potencies when not kept fresh.
Over-mixing can Affect Gluten
When flour gains more gluten, it becomes firmer and more elastic as you continue to stir, beat and knead it. You can mix, knead and beat for long with pizza dough for a long time but with pie dough, you don’t need a long-term kneading and beating. Your recipe should provide a guide to how much and for how long you should mix, to prevent excessive gluten gain in the dough.
Store Leftover Cookies with a Piece of Bread
Don’t just store your leftover cookies inside cookie ware or Tupperware alone, add a piece of bread and you will see how those cookies absorb moisture from the bread to remain soft.
Do It One Batch at a Time
Rushing through baking can make you achieve poor results. To become a better baker, make sure you bake one batch at a time and probably in the middle rack. If you have to bake more than a batch at a time, you rotate the baking sheet from the top rack to the bottom rack and turn the sheets a couple of times because ovens have hotspots.
Know Your Oven Type
Sometimes baking oven times may not be accurate. If your oven is a convention type while the recipe writer’s oven is not the conventional time, then you have to use your instincts. Cookies, for instance, are done when the edges become set, and lightly browned. You may leave the batch for a little longer if the center seems to be softer than the edges.
Use the Right Tools
Rubber spatulas are more effective in folding in your ingredients or scrapping the content bowls. Whisking are very essential in the incorporation of air into ingredients like eggs. Don’t substitute the right tools or process with anything else.
Cool Your Pans and Trays
Make sure you run the baking pans under cold water in-between baking batches. Never put a new dough unto a warm baking sheet.
Sticking to the tips and ideas highlighted above can go a long way to improve the final baked foods from your oven. Do not mess up your baking skills this summer, let your friends and family remember your summer goodies and ask for more. No two bakers are completely alike, but the more you follow simple rules, the better the results you will achieve. Several times bakers often assume that some quantities of ingredients should be enough, but in most cases, they are either adding too much or not adding enough. Always make use of clear and precise measuring tools!