It’s easy to feel a little hubris when you decide to bake something. Baking for the first time can be daunting for some. The most important thing to realize is making sure you read the recipe and prep before baking—and not reading it and prepping during the baking. Your baked cake will not come out better if you’re rushing to pull out ingredients from the fridge during the baking process.
Read the recipe as if it were your tax forms
If you don’t bake often there usually isn’t an awareness of the value of a recipe. The recipe isn’t a supplement for improvisation, but it is a guidebook. It is crucial to know the ingredients, the bakeware and the baking tools you need to get the results you desire with your baked goods.
Remember to appreciate the comma. It’s easy to disregard the comma while reading the recipe. Baking and coking polymath, Joy Wilson, has the best example with the use walnuts. Take the following example:
A. 1 cup of walnuts, chopped
B. 1 cup of chopped walnuts
What’s the difference? One cup of chopped walnuts leads to more walnuts than option A. In option A, you’ll have to measure 1 cup of walnuts before chopping. In option B, you will have to chop enough walnuts to measure 1 cup. The difference in walnuts can sound unimportant, but it is significant. Nuts can act like a sponge and take up moisture from the baking mixture. That leads to a dry baked good. These recipes are tried and tested so it’s important to follow the instructions.
Prep like you’re planning your wedding
Create an environment where you can plan the most efficient process to streamline your baking. This means you have to make sure you have the ingredients you need for whatever you’re trying to bake. Make sure you have enough eggs that the recipe calls for. If you’re making carrot zucchini bread then your carrots and zucchini have to be already grated before you turn on the oven. It’s also good to have the correct baking tools and bakeware the recipe asks for. Many times your recipe’s directions are in an order. You have to get everything ready in the order the recipe entails.
Usually recipes call for pre-heating the oven. This is particularly important and it should be adhered to. The best example is baking a biscuit. Not preheating the oven leads to a biscuit that starts to bake from the inside. This lead to a biscuit that is done in the middle, but still baking on the outside. The preheating step allows the biscuit to be done in an equal and quicker manner. It would be beneficial to own an oven thermometer because many times an oven’s temperature gauge may not be accurate.
Watch the timer and the oven like a Red-Tailed Hawk
Once you have started baking, you should keep a timer running. But that shouldn’t be your only measure of doneness. You should check what you’re baking periodically especially if you do not own an oven thermometer. Remember those oven mitts! Make sure you have a cleared area to put your finished baked good. Don’t forget to share what you baked on our Facebook page! We would love to see it!