These 10 secret tips every baker should know, will help make you a star in the kitchen. I am sure you have heard Baking is a Science and today I am going to show you a few tips to help you make your dessert treats the best they can be. Next, read More Baking Secrets for the home baker.
10 Secret Tips Every Baker Should Know
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Secret Tips to Up your Recipes in the Kitchen
Oven temperature –
It is hard to know the exact temperature of your oven. I know people will run out and buy a $5 or $10 oven thermometer and not trust the $100 built-in digital thermometer already in their oven. First, you can call the gas company if you have a gas oven and have them come out and calibrate it. If you have an electric oven you can look into your manual and find out how to do that also. Remember to always use a timer and use your senses. Your nose and eyes and touch will tell you if your dessert is done or not, better than a timer.
A thermometer and timer is a guide and that’s it. I always check my dessert several times to see how it’s doing through the window.
There are two types of measuring cups. One is for liquid and one is for dry. Make sure you are using the right one and make sure you are checking ounces which need to be weighed. I suggest a kitchen scale if it tells you to measure in ounces. All flours do not weigh the same and all sugar does not weigh the same. So if it says 2 oz of flour that doesn’t mean 1/4 cup. Weigh it out.
All eggs are not created equal
I like to use large eggs in my baking. When a recipe requires eggs it usually means large. If you make a recipe 3 times and use medium, large and jumbo eggs, you will get 3 different results.
A large egg usually weighs 2 oz. Find out more about eggs and how to bake them here.
Baking Pans and Sheets
When I first started baking in my early years, I didn’t realize there was such a difference in pan sizes. The recipe might have required a 9 X 11 and I had a 9 X 13 on hand, so I used it. It didn’t come out exactly like I had hoped but didn’t realize why.
Now I know that the pan had more volume or less depending on what you might be using so it didn’t bake the same. It either was undercooked or overcooked.
This wouldn’t be such a problem if you used the tips in Rule #1, but still, your brownies will either be too thick or too thin. so keep this in mind. Dark sheet pans and light sheet pans or glass cook at different temperatures.
Unsalted or Salted Butter: Most bakers use unsalted butter. Whichever one you choose remember to adjust your recipe. Most recipes include salt and that’s why the butter is unsalted. If you buy butter with salt, remove the salt from the recipe.
Read your Recipes: When you are starting a recipe, read it through twice before you start. You would be surprised how many times you might completely change the recipe by not reading about the ingredients correctly or missing a step until it’s too late and you need to start again. Sometimes you have to split an ingredient into two parts of the recipe, so pay attention.
Spices and Herbs: There is a big difference between fresh and dried herbs and seasonings. You can not substitute fresh for dried using the same amount. Dried seasonings are much more potent than fresh. Fresh tastes better than dried in my opinion.
You need more quantity of fresh over dried, so watch your amounts. Dried herbs and seasonings should be replaced every year. Ground seasonings can be replaced every two years. Make your own blends and save money.
Vanilla Extract: Make your own. It will save you money and it tastes so much better. They can be great gifts also. If you don’t have the 2 months to make it, I use this brand.
Room Temperature Ingredients
This is really important to the preparation of your baked goods. These are the ingredients that usually should be room temperature. Butter, Eggs, Milk, and Cream Cheese. There are times when you want these items chilled but make sure you read the instructions. Room Temperature means approximately 70 – 80 degrees. When you know you will be baking and items need to be room temp, take them out 1 hour prior to baking. If you don’t have time, you can place the eggs in a bowl of warm water.
Foil Line or Use Parchment on pans: I foil line almost all my pans now for making brownies and cooking meat. Plus I spray them with cooking spray. For my cakes, I always use parchment and then spray them. Make sure it’s parchment, not wax paper which can’t go in the oven. Always use parchment when baking cookies, they will turn out so pretty. Parchment paper is not the same as Wax paper. You can not put wax paper in the oven.
Reynolds Cookie Baking Sheets Parchment Paper, 12 x 16 Inches (Non-Stick, 22 Sheets)Silicone 3 Piece Non Stick Baking Mats with Measurements 2 Half Sheet Liners and 1 Quarter Sheet Mat, Professional Quality, Non Toxic and FDA Approved, Red, Yellow and Green