Hello bakers and foodies,
Often, I get asked how to bake...better! How does one ensure their chiffon cakes do not lose any volume? Make sure their chocolate chip cookies turn out to be super soft? Their frosting has the perfect amount of sweetness? The buttercream flower has perfect petals?
Here are 5 easy-peasy tips for beginner bakers to up your baking game in the kitchen:
1) Keep a record of notes of your recipes
Hint: Not all recipes you bake, whether you find 'em on social media, blogs, or books, some may, errrr, not all work correctly. Don't worry, if you write (or type) the recipe in your own personal book, add any notes.
Notes such as: add more salt; Add less chocolate; bake longer...or shorter; yields a whole lotta more than expected.
What I do: I keep all of my recipes on my Google Drive in specific folders (cakes, cookies, holiday, chocolate-based, components, etc). I add notes to each recipe, with the date I last baked 'em. This works well for me because it keeps all on recipes in one spot.
2) Practice makes progress!
Baking is like riding a bike, the more you do, the better you get at it! If you are only baking twice a year, your progress will be very slow. Baking is very cumulative skill. The methods you learn when baking simple stuff (think: quick breads, cookies, brownies), you will use in more difficult forms of pastry (think: layered cakes, candies, specialty desserts). Get your basic baking methodology down.
3) Always, always ensure a even and uniform batter and dough
Simply put, your batter or dough needs to be mixed evenly, wether you do it hand or small appliance. All of your measured ingredients need to evenly mixed.
How does one do that? Get your mixing times down (adjust from the recipe). Use the right tool, a silicone spatula is the best when stirring by hand.
Using a standing mixer? A paddle is great for creaming fats and sugars. A whisk is perfect for adding air, like when making merigune. A dough hook is essential for making yeasted doughs that require a longer mixing time.
How do you know when a batter is uniform? There are no streaks, clumps, and it is all one uniform color.
4) Get inspired...everywhere
Baked goods, desserts, and foods are, luckily, belong in our everyday life. Let everyday food inspire your baking creations! Watch a few episodes of cooking competition. Follow foodie and baking hastags on social media. Scroll through Pinterest for more dessert ideas.
Inspiration can come from everywhere from your local coffee shop's baked good case to people's favorite dessert to family traditions.
5) Re-think your own recipes
Have a tried and true recipe in your head? Re-think it by re-doing it! Muffin recipes can easily be made into quick loaves. Chocolate cookies can have coconut flakes and walnuts added to 'em. A vanilla chiffon cake recipe can be made into lemon zested cupcakes.
Don't be afraid to play around in the kitchen and use your creative foodie gene!
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