5 Top Tips You Need Before You Bake

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5 Top Tips You Need Before You Bake

Baking is a tricky science and one wrong step can have you chucking the whole thing in the bin and running to the shops for ingredients to start again from scratch. Arm yourself with these five general baking tips you need to know before you start preheating that oven!

1. Pick the right ingredients

Salted or unsalted butter? Granulated or caster sugar? Using the wrong type may not be a complete disaster but could leave you a little deflated when the bake comes out tasting slightly different to what it should. If you’re unsure on ingredients, do a little research before you start. Mostly, bakers prefer unsalted butter to give them more control of the salt content of bakes, but if you do only have salted on hand you may need to miss the ‘pinch of salt’ step to the recipe depending on what you’re baking. For sugar, granulated is mostly used in baking, while caster sugar is finer and used for mousse, meringues or other types of light desserts. Don’t forget to use the right flour too!

2. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature

A good example of this would be butter: too cold and the batter will be an uneven consistency, and if your batter is a weird consistency so will your finished bake be. On the other hand if you melt butter and mix it in still warm it may scramble your other ingredients. All ingredients need to be room temperature unless otherwise specified, so bear this in mind especially for what you may keep in the fridge, eggs included.

3. Don’t overmix the flour

You’ll notice recipes often have adding flour to wet ingredients as the final step in the mixing process. This is because if the flour is ‘overmixed’ it will have a detrimental effect on the batter. To avoid this, make sure you stop mixing when the batter is just combined and there are no traces of flour left. Overmixing can cause cracked surfaces on cakes and make the texture tough rather than light and fluffy.

4. Keep the oven closed!

You may be tempted to open the oven to keeping checking on your bake, but resist the urge! Each time you do a great deal of heat will escape and interrupt the baking process and also the delicate rising process. Open the door and –poof – your bake may just fall flat. If you need to check on the progress, make sure you keep the door open for as little time as possible.

5. Cool bakes thoroughly before refrigerating

Cooling bakes from the oven is important for various reasons depending on what you’ve made. It may be needed to form the right textures, to simply avoid burning mouths or if you’re decorating your cakes cooling is essential to avoid melting or curdling any frosting. Make sure you use a rack to allow for even and quick cooling and to avoid condensation. 

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