Hello fellow foodies and bakers,
Happy new year! Happy new you! Happy new baker you! This year you may try baking something new, different or your favorite dessert you want to master. With the chilly and rainy weather surrounding Seattle, now is the perfect time to up your baking game.
If you are a beginner, you will find this simple tips helpful and easy to apply when baking. If you are a semi-pro and active baker, these tips will make you even more of a master in your kitchen when you're creating something new and delicious.
Tip #1: Use a fork when whisking eggs
Combining eggs and vanilla for cookies, brownies, or banana bread? Use that everyday fork, instead of a whisk. It makes the eggs frothier and lighter. Making merigune? Stick with the whisk attachment on your kitchen mixer.
Tip #2: Unsalted butter is a must
This is a no brain-er. No matter what you are baking, stick with unsalted butter. You want to add salt yourself, and not the butter. Let butter do its thing! (Add flavor, richness, and sweetness)
Tip #3: Parchment paper line your bakeware
No matter what bakeware you use, line it with parchment paper. This will help with the removal of the bake good from the pan and the life-span of your pan. Do this before you even start baking!
Tip #4: Grate your butter when 'cutting' it into dry ingredients
What is a super easy trick when a recipe tells you to 'cut in butter' into dry ingredients, like for scones or biscuits? Use a standing cheese grater and use a cold stick of butter to make small butter shreds. Ta-da, you have it!
Tip #5: Whole dairy is a must
No matter if you are using milk, sour cream, butter, or good old fashion egg nog for your holiday baking, whole dairy has all the fat to make your desserts super rich and flavorful. Using lower fat dairy when baking will make 'em less rich and, well, golden delicious.
Tip #6: Fine sea salt is also a must
Salt is a true must when baking. What does it do? Adds flavor, enhances other ingredient's flavor, aides in a golden brown color, and strengthens gluten strands. Leaving salt out of a recipe when baking will cause the flavor and color to suffer. Use a fine sea salt to give your sweet treats a nice flavor!
Tip #7: Cream butter and sugar until super-duper light fluffy, approx. 10-12mins.
When a recipe calls for creaming soft butter and sugar together, what are you doing? You are making a homogeneous paste and also incorporating air. What do you need to succeed? A standing kitchen mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Speed is important, start slow then go medium speed. When the air is added to the creaming sugar-butter paste, air bubbles are added make your final baked goods super light and, well, fluffy! Just make sure your ingredients are room temp.
Tip #8: If you haven't already, sift dry ingredients always!
Why do you need to sift dry ingredients? To ensure all those lumps are smooth and no inside your precious baked good or dessert. The question is: to sift before or after measuring? Read the recipe. If it calls for 3 cups flour, sifted: measure first, then sift. If it calls for 3 cups sifted flour: sift first, then measure.
Tip #9: Stick with the units of measure in your recipe
Have a recipe in metric? Stick with it. Recipe in US measurement? Stick with it. Avoid trying to convert recipes from units of measure to the other. Prefer one over the other? Stick with recipes only with it.
Tip #10: Practice makes progress
Baking is a skill learned, over and over. You will make mistakes throughout your baking journey and you will learn from them. You'll also make tasty treats, too! Don't sweat it!
Happy Baking! Bake something delicious this new year.