With the COVID-19 pandemic quarantining individuals at home and causing nearly all non-essential businesses to close, we are seeing a huge uptick in cooking and baking from home! With restaurants closed and grocery store aisles stripped, how jealous are we all suddenly of those who are handy in the kitchen?
For most people, the idea of baking at home is equal parts fun and intimidating. The pastry projects never really turn out like the beautiful Pinterest boards, do they? Well, today you are in luck! We want to help you make sure your baked goods turn out good every time. We are sharing our best tips for baking at home.
Use Fresh Ingredients
Fresh ingredients always speak for themselves. Fresh ingredients often hold their own in a dessert, and using the highest quality ingredients will ensure the most high quality end product. By using substandard ingredients, or ingredient substitutions, can affect the chemistry of baking. Better ingredients result in better baked goods.
Perfect Your Butter Consistency
Butter is the basis and starting point for most baked goods and therefore, it is important to have it prepared perfectly as per the recipe you have suggests. The incorrect butter consistency and temperature can affect the texture of your dessert. Following these butter tips will have a great impact on your dessert.
- Most recipes call for room temperature butter. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean warm, it actually means cool. It is not melted, but rather malleable. To get the perfect room temperature butter, leave the butter out for an hour before use.
- Chilled butter is butter that has been in the refrigerator so that it does not melt when mixing, but rather create flaky pockets for crusts and biscuits.
- Melted butter is simply liquefied butter, but not boiling.
Line Your Baking Pans
Don’t spray your baking pans with oil or grease; instead, line them with parchment paper. A common misconception is using more oil or grease when your baked goods stick to the pan. However, a pro tip we can offer you is to utilize parchment paper. Extend the paper over the handles, and your cleanup will also be cut into half!
Learn how to measure properly
This is the most undermined quality on the list. Baking is a science, and therefore, it requires precise and exact rations, and well-tested and proven techniques. Unlike cooking, you cannot simply “throw something together” with a baking project. It will unlikely turn out palatable. Therefore, a critical element in baking is learning how to measure your ingredients properly. Use the proper tools and equipment to measure out ingredients based on whether they are dry or liquid. Be precise!
Use the correct pie plate
So many people use the incorrect type of plate without realizing it, wreaking havoc on their beautiful desserts! The metal on different pie plates have different widths and conductivity points. Whether you are using a glass pie plate or a metal plate requires different preparation. A glass pie plate requires being positioned closer to the bottom of the rack, while a metal plate is thinner and a better conductor. Be aware that ceramic pie plates may be beautiful, but often result in soggy pies.
Play with add-ins! Make it your own and your dessert will not be able to be beat. If you like peanut butter, add peanut butter morsels into your cookies. Whatever it is, add-ins can personalize a cookie, pie, or cake. If you like it, it will be personalized to your taste and therefore it is hard to go wrong. A little creativity will add something different to your every-day, go-to dessert. It is a simply way to achieve a different flavor.
Plan for everything, even the weather. Even the wrong kind of environment can be difficult for some baked projects. For example, hot and humid days or climates can be difficult to work with pastry dough or buttercream. The environment affects the temperature of the ingredients, which affect the outcome of the quality of your dessert. If a recipe calls for room temperature, make sure to leave the milk, eggs, or butter out for the appropriate amount of time. Have your ingredients well prepared, and measure your ingredients before you start so that you are not scrambling or rushing room for error and you minimize rushing.
Scoop Perfectly Sized Cookies
Use an ice cream scooper to create perfectly sized cookies, as opposed to random, mismatched cookie batches. When using a cookie scoop, or an ice cream scoop, you will have even, uniform sized cookies. Not to mention, you don’t need to use your hands and the process is much less messy. Your cookies will turn out gorgeous, even, and clean cut!
Don’t rush the rise on anything! In fact, don’t rush anything at all. Even though it is so tempting, don’t rush the ingredients if they are not at the right temperature. Always be patient with bake times, rising times, and cooling times and for breads and dough. Be patient, especially, with recipes that call for room temperature, as usually, this means you have to wait for the ingredient to reach the appropriate temperature. Remember, right now, we have nothing but time to perfect your pastry projects!