Baker’s Dozen Baking Tips – Baking Basics. Follow these 13 tips to achieve perfectly baked goods. Be a better baker, first time and every single time.
Oh yes!! the baking season is here!!! Before we get into the full-fledged baking frenzy, I wanted to bring to you some tips that give you perfect cakes, breads etc. first time and every single time. Now, I could have compiled a list of baking tips for you, but I went a step beyond and asked a professional baker to share her secrets with us.
Aarti Prasanna is a professional baker and she is settled in Salem, Tamil Nadu. She is my second cousin and we lived in the same city and she is like my lil’ sister. You can find her amazing creations on her facebook page Sugar and spice.
Warning: These cakes are awe inspiring. If you look at the feedback she gets from her customers, you will know that they taste as good as they look 🙂 .
A few years back, Sonshine had to do a project in school, an art project, and the project was to write an essay about an artistic person in his family and get pictures of their art. We picked Aarti as the family member and her cakes as her art. Sonshine wrote a cute essay about Aarti and his explanation for her being so creative and talented is “Ma, she even has the word ART in her name!!!”. I know Aarti’s family very well. She is not just good at making cakes, but I know she paints; she belongs to the third generation of artistic people from my maternal side. I am so proud of her achievements.
Baker’s Dozen Baking Tips
1. Mise en place
A French culinary term meaning “putting in place”. When it comes to any recipe it’s essential to have everything ready so in baking we need all ingredients weighed correctly and ready.
- Read the ingredients and the recipe before you start.
- Measuring all ingredients in the correct manner is important. For example, I prefer to measure all ingredients in grams (weight) than in cups (volume). If you wish to measure dry ingredients in cups, do not press all-purpose flour into the cup measure; instead scoop out from the container and remove the excess from the cup by scraping off with a knife.
- Pre-heat the oven to the required temperature before you start.
- A recipe may require ready-ing the pan in the beginning which is essential as the cake batter will need to be placed in the pre-heated oven immediately after mixing (e.g. red velvet cake). Otherwise, the rising agents may not be effective.
If you need butter in the recipe make sure you leave it outside so that it comes to the room temperature. If you have forgotten to do so, the quickest way is to grate the cold butter so that it quickly comes to room temperature.
3. Dry ingredients
It is always better to sift the dry ingredients 2 to 3 times. This helps in evenly mixing all the ingredients as well as the main rising agents. This also helps in aerating the batter.
4. Unsalted butter
Always use unsalted butter as this way you can have a control over salt in the recipe.
5. Types of flours
In India, we have access to only all purpose flour (maida). We usually don’t find self-rising flour or cake flour in the grocery stores. You can make it at home by following the measurements given below:
- Self-rising flour (140gms)
130gms all purpose flour
+1/2 tsp baking powder
+1/4 tsp salt
- Cake flour (120gms)
100g all purpose flour
+2 tbsp corn-starch (corn flour)
6. Check the expiry date of ingredients
When it comes to rising agents or yeast for bread, the expiry date is very important as the quality of the final product depends on the quality of the ingredients. After all the hard work we put in, we don’t want a cake that hasn’t risen or a flat-bread.
7. Eggs and liquid ingredients
Make sure the eggs are fresh and out of the refrigerator at room temperature. Even with milk or any other liquid ingredients, it is a must that they are at room temperature.
8. Know your oven
Oven temperatures are crucial for the end product to be perfect. Best way is to check your oven temperature using an oven thermometer so that they are consistent with the temperature indicated on the oven.
9. Lining your pan
The best medium for baking pans is aluminum as they are good conductors of heat. It is ideal to line the pan with parchment paper. If you are not using parchment paper to line your pan, brush the pan with butter and dust with flour.
10. How to check the cake doneness:
- The batter will separate from the pan sides
- The smell is another indication
- Toothpick once inserted into the center of the pan will come clean.
11. Cool the baked goodies
Do not try to de-mould the cake from the cake pan or remove cookies from the baking sheet immediately after it is out of the oven. It will not hold shape or could break.
12. Plan your work
If you are planning to ice the cake today, make sure you bake the cake previous day so that the cake gets ample time to cool down.
13. Make sure you are patient
When it comes to baking, we are not born experts. We make mistakes and learn from it. Moreover, make sure to have fun.
Hope you found Aarti’s baking tips useful.
If you have any baking related questions, do drop us a line in the comments, we will try to find an answer for you to the best of our abilities. Do not forget to check out our collection of Baked Goods.
We are planning to bring you not just recipes, but tips like this to make cooking/baking a breeze. So, stay in touch.
It is EASY.
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Till we meet again…