Illustration HOME BAKING 101

Check out these eight baking tips and tricks to help you produce better-baked desserts on a consistent basis.

Do you know someone who has a knack for delivering excellent baked goods every single time? Here are some of the best baking tips so you can take your baking skills from good to great!

1. Plan Ahead

Before you start baking your goodies, be sure to look over and study the recipe you’re using. This allows you to know your recipe and prepare your ingredients and equipment prior to starting. For example, if a recipe calls for softened butter, take the butter out an hour in advance.

2. Searching For Quality Ingredients

When baking at home, you have the choice of what ingredients you want to use and what flavors you enjoy. Always use the best ingredients available, which will help to create a dessert that wows everyone.

3. Monitor Cooking Environment

Standard room temperature is around 70 degrees F. If you’re planning on baking when it’s humid and hot outside or brutally cold, the temperature outdoors will affect the inside temperatures. Too much heat, humidity or cold in the kitchen can cause an otherwise perfect recipe to be ruined. Always remember that heavy moisture in the air can affect the ability for dough and batter to dry and rise. Too much humidity and heat can also cause the icing to melt if you’re using a cake decorating kit.

4. Lining Baking Pans

Parchment paper is a lifesaver when it comes to baking. It is more reliable than simple greasing and easily allows you to transfer cakes, cookies, and breads without having them fall apart or tear. Cookie bottoms can turn over-brown while cooking on a simple greased sheet, but with parchment paper, cookies tend to bake perfectly. To use parchment paper, cut the paper to fit cake pans and loaf pans.

5. Choosing the Right Pan Size

To prevent your baked goods from cooking much faster or slower than the recipe calls for, make sure you are using the recommended pan size that the recipe calls for.

6. In-order Mixing

As a rule of thumb, sugar and butter should almost always be mixed and beaten together. Dry ingredients should also be combined together in one bowl before adding any liquid ingredients. This will create even, smooth mixing. If you’re more of a structured learner, try a cake baking kit, which will include step-by-step instructions for mixing.

7. Oven Rack Positioning

A rack should always be in the center of the oven, unless otherwise specified! Also, don’t forget to preheat the oven before getting started. Temptation gets even the most seasoned of bakers, it is important to never open the oven door to check on your cake until it is 80 percent done baking. Every time the oven door is opened, hot air is released which decreases the oven temperature and makes for a cake that is unevenly cooked. Let your oven do its thing and wait patiently for your cake to bake.

oven rack positioning

8. Cooling Matters

To properly cool cookies, take them out of the oven when the edges are golden-brown, and the center appears to look slightly under-cooked. Then, simply cool the cookies on a cookie sheet. This will result in soft, chewy cookies. For cakes, cool upside down on a sturdy cooling rack. This will flatten out the top of the cake, making it easier to stack a birthday cake.