Not everyone knows their way around the kitchen, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re not sure where to start yet yearn to be an above-average baker, then we can help you.
Baking is a science and an art. Excellent baked goods require precise ratios, attention to detail and careful planning along with a sense of creativity. Stick to these baking tips, and you will cement your space in the kitchen…
8 Baking Tips For Beginners
1. Always read the recipe through before you start
All too often, bakers get halfway through a method only to discover they don’t have an ingredient or haven’t incorporated something correctly. Avoid any unforeseen mistakes in the process by pre-reading and understanding the recipe before you start.
2. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you start
At room temperature, baking ingredients behave differently to when they are cold. If you’re trying out a delicious red velvet cake recipe, unless otherwise stipulated, room temperature is usually best. This is largely because ingredients emulsify much better at room temperature. The ingredients at room temperature are also easier to aerate and therefore add better volume to your batters and doughs.
3. Melted margarine is not the same as softened margarine
Hard margarine is tough to incorporate with your other ingredients which is why many recipes will call for softened margarine. Softened means still solid but soft enough to mix well with your ingredients. Don’t just pop your margarine into the microwave because if it melts to a liquid consistency, it will behave differently in your recipe. If you are not sure its best to wait for your ingredients rather than to rush the process.
4. Learn how to measure
Since baking is a science, getting the measurements correct is as important as the method. There are ‘correct’ measuring techniques you will need to know. For example, you should always scoop and level when measuring dry ingredients and use a clear measuring cup or jug when measuring liquid.
5. Invest in basic supplies
You can’t make muffins without a muffin pan or a cake without a cake tin. And then there are the essentials such as measuring spoons, cups and spatulas. Get at least the basics to carry out your recipe, or you are bound to have a flop.
6. Sift your dry ingredients
Dry ingredients like flour and baking powder should always be sifted when making malva pudding, even if the recipes don’t say so. Sifting aerates your ingredients, making the product lighter and sifted ingredients are also easier to mix.
The process also ensures that all your dry ingredients come together to give a uniform mixture and will give your recipe a more consistent texture.
7. Preheat your oven
Get into the habit of turning your oven on to the recommended temperature before you even start measuring your ingredients. Many ovens take time to get to the correct temperature – placing your baking in the oven before it reaches the correct temperature will affect the final product.
Also, some recipes call for a raising agent such as self-raising flour, baking powder or bicarbonate of soda which need to be popped into the oven soon after the batter is mixed for the best results.
8. Don’t open the oven door
Your oven temperature is another essential part of a great final baking product. One thing that will surely throw off your oven temperature and therefore your product, is continually opening the oven door. The rule of thumb is to only open the oven door when you put your cake in and when it’s time to take it out – unless you have to.
It’s common for beginners to make rookie errors that affect the end product. However, avoid making beginners mistakes with these tips, and you may surprise yourself and your loved ones.