- Kaloh Bakeware $34 – $44
- Reactive Glaze Bakeware $29 – $39
- Dansk Kobenstyle® Large Baker - Blue $172
- Anchor Hocking Glass Loaf Pan $7
- Anchor Hocking Glass Cake Pan $8
- Anchor Hocking Glass Baking Dish $11
- Anchor Hocking Glass Deep Dish Pie Pan $7
- Anchor Hocking 10-Piece Glass Bakeware Set $35
7 Essential Baking Tips
You don't have to go to pastry school to achieve high-quality results when baking. With a little expert knowledge, your cakes, cookies and other confections can come out just right. Here are some surprisingly easy strategies that can boost your baking prowess:
1. Follow the Recipe
This is perhaps the simplest, yet one of the most effective baking tips. When using a recipe to create a baked item, follow it precisely. It can be tempting to modify the ingredients or the time, but for best results, make the recipe exactly as it says. Even the slightest modification can throw off your finished product. When searching for recipes online, take some time to read reviews from people who've tried them. That way, you can choose recipes that have a high rate of success.
2. Use the Right Size Pan
Different baked goods require different pans. For example, the average pan of brownies is done in an 8 x 8-inch square pan. For a layer cake, opt for two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans. Sheet cakes can be created in rectangular 13 x 9-inch pans. For bread or savory baked dishes like meatloaf, a traditional loaf pan works best. And for cheesecake, a round springform pan works well. Your recipe should specify the size and type of pan you'll need.
3. Bake with Room-Temperature Butter
When baking cakes, cookies, pie crusts, or any other baked items requiring butter, it's important to bring butter to room temperature before using it. Cold butter is hard and therefore difficult to incorporate with other ingredients. You can either set the butter out on the counter for several hours until it's soft, or microwave it on the lowest setting until it reaches the proper consistency. If you go the microwave route, keep the power low and check the butter frequently so it doesn't melt.
4. Don't Forget to Grease and Flour
Preparing your pans is crucial to professional-quality results. When baking a cake, it's imperative to grease and flour your pan before pouring the batter in. Simply coat the inside of the pan with a layer of shortening or butter, then dust it with flour until it's completely covered. This will prevent your cake from sticking for an easy removal. Another tip to prevent baked goods from sticking to the pan is to allow for plenty of cooling time.
5. Double-Check Your Measurements
When baking, it's important to measure correctly. For best results, double-check your recipe before pouring in any ingredients. Also, avoid the temptation to guess at the measurements; always use a measuring cup and measuring spoons to make sure you get the proper ratio of ingredients. Don't round off your dry ingredients when measuring; level them instead to get the precise amount.
6. Avoid Substitutions
Steer clear of substitutions when baking. For example, if your recipe says to use butter, don't use margarine instead unless it's specified that you can do so. You also don't want to swap milk for water or vice versa. And, don't swap baking soda for baking powder, because these ingredients have different effects. By using the exact ingredients listed in your recipe, you can ensure that your baked product turns out as it should.
7. Keep a Baking Journal
Writing down your baking experiences can help you master different recipes through trial and error. Keep a journal in the kitchen and write down which recipes work and which ones don't. That way, when you're craving something sweet, all you need to do is peruse your baking journal for ideas and instructions. You don't need anything fancy; a simple notepad kept near your baking supplies will do the trick.
8. Try a Tutorial
The internet is a vast resource when it comes to learning how to improve in the kitchen. There are countless video tutorials available online that can take you through the baking process step by step. An online search can lead you to how-to videos for cookies, cakes, pie crusts and lots of other baked treats.
In addition to the above tips, practice makes perfect when improving your baking skills. The right supplies don't hurt, either. At west elm, you'll find a wide selection of bakeware and kitchen accessories to bring out your inner pastry chef.