Photo: So Delicious
We can all stand to improve on our cooking and getting better on technique is always the way to go. Being a better baker goes hand in hand with experience, though, so don’t stop baking!
Baking has never been my strong suit as an area of cooking. For various reasons over time. One of them being that most of the places I’ve rented had a very old stovetop and oven, that wasn’t easily (or at all) calibrated, and as you’ll read soon on this page, being accurate and precise is a very important part of baking. So when I finally moved to a place that had a great oven and kitchen space, I knew I had a lot of catching up to do.
The only way to become a better baker is to keep at it. So here are some things to keep in mind as your baking journey begins. And continues.
5 tips and tricks to make you a better baker
1. Your recipe is your foundation
The thing about baking is that it’s not really just a starting point, but your whole cooking blueprint. You cannot improvise and add or swap ingredients without altering the chemistry of your final product. So just read everything in the beginning and make things easier for you. Trust the text and follow it to the letter.
2. Use the best ingredients
Some items really need to be fresh to create chemical reactions. Look at leavening agents, for instance. They really do have an expiration date. Also, spices you might use, like cinnamon or cloves or whatever you have in the ingredient list can lose their flavor over time. That’s why freshness is paramount. And I don’t think I have to tell you that your eggs should be fresh.
3. Measure your ingredients
This goes hand in hand with the first tip or trick. Baking is about precision, so it’s important that you add the proper quantity of your ingredients to the mix. This is important for a dough or a batter, because of consistency and how your mix of ingredients will act like once it’s under the hotness of the oven.
So get yourself some measuring cups and make sure that the quantities are expressed in the units your country is using. Because there are small differences between an American cup and a British cup. And those can really trip you up.
4. Make sure your oven is up to par
Like I said, one of my problems with baking was the lack of a suitable oven. But also, you need to take an extra step when it comes to being a better baker. Just because you set it properly, it doesn’t mean that the temperature inside will be what you need. And that means that your doughs might dry or undercook and you don’t want that. So invest in an oven thermometer (get the cheapest one, you don’t have to invest a lot) and make sure your oven is serving you.
5. Don’t open your oven
Since we’re on the topic of the oven, there is another thing you should be mindful of. When you’re baking and impatient, you should never just open the oven door to constantly check on what you’re making. The reason is that lets out the heat that you’re supposed to be keeping in and it can make your product fall because of your influx of air. So calibrate your patience and let that oven door stay closed.