By Savini Gauri
Presenting my top 7 Basic (yet Crucial) Rules of Baking and why each and every one of them is crucial to the success of every baking adventure.
Every time I publish a recipe, my aim is to make you feel more and more confident about baking at home. Baking does not have to be a nerve-racking and intimidating process. It can be a simple and calming process. Everybody has kitchen disasters. Trust me, I have had my fair share of kitchen disasters (maybe I'll write a detailed post mentioning a few of them).
Before we get started, here are my top 5 basic baking tools even non-bakers should have in their kitchen:
Measuring Cup and Spoons: Everybody does not like to measure and cook everything. However, the convenience they provide when it comes to just collecting ingredients is just incredible.
A Variety of Spatulas and Whisks: These are the equivalents of hair ties in your regular life. You can never have enough. These work like magic. If you are a fan of zero-waste kitchens spatulas and whisks are a must-have. They're like magic wands.
Mixing Bowls: It'll be crazy if I start listing all the mixing bowls I have. All I can say is get glass bowls that are microwave safe. They don't wear out and can even last you a lifetime (if you don't end up breaking them).
Kitchen Weighing Scale: You know I’m a stickler for weighing ingredients! That’s why I list all my baking recipes in cups and(or) grams. Why do we measure this way? Because a gram is always a gram.
Silicone Baking Mats: These were a life-changing discovery for me. And at the cost of sounding crazy, baking paper is great, but silicone baking mats give a better product (assuming you followed the recipe properly) why not bake and cook with something reusable? And something that lays flat on the baking tray.
^^^^^^ This is what I aim to help you avoid! ^^^^^^
Here I present to you 7 Basic (yet crucial) Rules of Baking that can spike up the success rate of your kitchen adventures monumentally. If you’re a new baker looking to learn some thumb rules of baking, or an experienced baker trying to produce consistent results these are the perfect basics to build on.
1. MEASURE! MEASURE! MEASURE!
You know I’m a stickler for weighing ingredients! That’s why I list all my baking recipes in cups and(or) grams. Why do we measure this way? Because a gram is always a gram. Never bake without measuring your ingredients. Unlike cooking, baking is first a science, then anything else. If you start adding ingredients like baking powder and sugar without measuring, it can lead to some spectacular baking disasters. Also, if you start measuring your ingredients it helps you produce consistent results of your favourite bakes every time. This way you know what to expect every time you bake the same recipe.
2. TEMPERATURE IS KEY
Never ignore the temperature mentioned in recipes. Whether it is the temperature of your oven, or the butter, or the eggs being used. Follow the temperature guidelines correctly. Make sure that if the recipe calls for room temperature ingredients, then your ingredients must be at room temperature. You can still manage the temperature of your ingredient easily. But sometimes our home ovens are not calibrated correctly and there is no way of manually verifying. So, my suggestion would be to place an oven thermometer to ensure the temperature is accurate.
3. IGNORE THE SPECIFIED BAKING TIME
Nobody can possibly ever tell you the exact time you should bake something. All the baking times mentioned in any recipes are not accurate for every scenario. Every place, person, kitchen and oven are different. Maybe it's hotter where I am. Maybe your kitchen is colder. Just IGNORE the baking time in every recipe (it's usually just a yardstick). Simply look at the final product and decide. Decide based on what is in front of you. And then with time you will build instincts and know when your product is ready.
4. KEEP THE OVEN DOOR CLOSED
Never open the oven in the middle of the baking process. If you don't have to change racks or turn anything, never open the oven in the middle of baking. It causes all the heat to escape. That results in a sudden drop in temperature. This drop in temperature can lead to an uneven bake. If you do this with cakes then the cake will sink in the centre, and things like cookies with clump up or overspread.
5. READ THE WHOLE RECIPE BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Make it a habit. Always, patiently go through the whole recipe before you begin. Ensure you read it thoroughly and understand all the steps properly and have all the ingredients available. It's a total bummer if you realise mid-process that you are short of something. This leads to a lot of wasted time and ingredients. Also, if you read the recipe as you go then the chances of you misreading something or missing some step are way higher.
6. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR INGREDIENTS PREPPED
Before you start baking always check if you have all the ingredients available. Then measure them out and put them on the countertop. This way everything is handy and ready to be used. This helps make sure that there are minimum chances of error.
Prepping in advance helps ensure you have all the correct ingredients available and don't have to look for replacements in a haste leading to major mistakes.
7. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE RECIPE THE FIRST TIME YOU MAKE IT
Whenever you make a recipe for the first time, make sure you don't change or alter it. The best way to do it is to follow it to the letter. This way the chances of success are way higher. Also, it helps you understand the whole process better. and next time when you want to make any alterations and changes it will be an informed decision based on your previous experience. For example: if you found the end result a little too sweet, then you know exactly how to fix it. Or if it felt a little over-baked then you know better and will take it out of the oven a little early.
I sincerely hope that these tips help you enjoy the baking process even more. Let me know if you have any questions.
Question: What are some baking tips that changed the way you bake?