Techniques for Successful Baking

Baking Tips

No matter what you choose to bake, there are some important steps you should always take to ensure success. 

New to baking or just need a refresh of the basics? These baking tips for beginners will have you on your way to baking perfection!

Measure Ingredients Precisely

Baking Tips

When making cookies, you’ll want to measure the sugar, flour, and other mix-ins as carefully as possible.

BAKING IS A SCIENCE! Too much or too little flour can totally alter a recipe. To avoid overmeasuring, loosen the flour by giving it a good stir with a spoon or whisk. 

Next, spoon the flour into a measuring cup until heaping (piled beyond the rim of the measuring cup) and then level with the flat side of a knife. For precise measurements, a digital scale provides that for successful baking. Professional bakers measure by weight, not volume, the digital scale provides that precise measurement. 

Butter and Eggs
Techniques for Successful Baking

ButterRoom-temperature butter will mix better with dry ingredients, like sugar and flour, and will help hold the cookie shape as your cookie bakes.

The fastest way to get butter to room temperature is to cut it into pieces and let it sit on a plate for 30 minutes while you get the other ingredients ready. 

Unsalted ButterWhen you use unsalted butter in a recipe, you can control the exact amount of salt in your baked good. When you use salted butter, you have no idea how much salt you're using because it varies between each brand you see at the store. If a recipe calls for salted butter then go with the recipe, the salt content may have been adjusted for the recipe.

Eggs: Use room-temperature eggs when baking since the whites and yolks combine easier and more evenly into the batter (leading to a better, airier cookie texture). To get an egg to room temperature, place the egg in warm(not hot) tap water for 10 minutes

Beat eggs into the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, to add moisture to the air pockets and flavor to the dough.

The number of eggs called for in most recipes is based on the U.S.-graded large or extra-large eggs.

Use room temperature ingredients unless otherwise noted. This is especially important when you’re asked to cream butter and sugar. Room temperature ingredients are best for creaming as they help incorporate more air into the dough, and that will help your cookies rise. 

One of the biggest mistakes that new bakers make is not going far enough when creaming the butter and sugar. You want it to turn out pale and fluffy. A lot of beginners only blend it until it’s just combined and still very yellow and gritty.

Chill The Dough

Techniques for Successful Baking

  • Chilling cookie dough controls spread. 

  • If the recipe calls for chilling dough, do not skip that step, it will make a big difference. Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, holding onto their texture. If you skip the chilling step, you’re more likely to wind up with flat, sad disks instead of lovely, chewy cookies.

  •  Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the fewer cookies spread. 

Parchment paper-lined, or Silicone Baking Mats

Techniques for Successful Baking

Parchment Paper

Lining a baking sheet when making cookies: Not only will the parchment help cookies bake more evenly, but the non-stick quality also helps prevent them from cracking or breaking when lifting them off the sheet. Using parchment paper to bake cookies can save time and energy. Unbaked cookies are placed directly onto the parchment paper, eliminating the need to grease the cookie sheet.

Silicone Baking Mat

The main benefit of owning a silicone mat is that, unlike parchment paper, it’s reusable. Most silicone mats should not be used under the broiler; at most, they are typically designed to withstand temperatures up to 450°F.

Preheating the Oven, and Cookie Sheet placement

Techniques for Successful Baking

Preheating Oven

  • ALWAYS preheat the oven. Putting an item into a cold oven will alter the baking time and the consistency of the finished product.

  • Time and temperature can actually affect the texture and flavor of your food, especially when baking. The quality of your food will be better if you preheat your oven the whole time. If you don't, some foods just don't turn out right. Cookies become hard and dry. Pizza crust doesn't become crispy and chewy

Baking Sheet placement

  • To allow for the evenest heat circulation, it is best to bake cookies and bars in the center oven rack position. Also, do not overcrowd the oven. It will cause uneven baking, resulting in underbaked or burned cookies

  • Always check cookies after the minimum suggested cooking time. Remember, cookies continue to bake after they’re removed from the oven, so be careful not to overbake.

Cookie Tips:

  • Avoid overmixing batter or dough, which can result in cookies that are tough or dry or spread too much.

  • Create cookies that are uniform in size so they finish baking at the same time.

  • For bar cookies, use the pan called for in the recipe. A smaller pan will result in thick and soggy bars; a larger pan will produce thinner bars with a drier texture.

 Cake Tips:

  • Cool cakes completely before frosting, and chill them if you have time.

  • Smooth out the batter after you've poured it or spread it in the pan(s). This will remove any large air pockets, and promote even baking, and help keep the top of your cake smooth and flat.

  • Position an oven rack just below the center of your oven for even baking.

Baking Techniques

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