Baking is a fun and relaxing activity. Here are some tips I've followed that have helped me become a better baker and can help you too!
1. Make sure all of your ingredients are at the correct temperature
Making sure all of your ingredients are at the correct temperature is essential to baking. Room temperature ingredients emulsify much easier into batter and create a consistent texture and consistency in the batter.
Room temperature eggs add an immense amount of volume to the batter of your baked good. Room temperature butter (meaning cool to the touch and not warm) is best achieved if left out for an hour before added to the batter. Chilled butter is used to create a flaky crust in recipes like pie crusts or scones.
2. Always read the recipe twice before starting to bake
Reading the recipe is so important. By reading the recipe you can have all of your ingredients out and ready for when the they need to be added into the batter. Reading the recipe means that you can get all of your ingredients at the right temperature and organized, too.
3. Keep your oven door closed
Make sure that your oven door always stays closed! When you open your oven door, even if it is just for a moment, it lets valuable heat out and can either make your goods dry, under-baked or over-baked. Rely on the light feature of your oven to watch your baked goods!
If you need to test it to see if it's done, take your baked goods out, close the door and then stick a toothpick in the middle to test. If more oven time is required, then quickly put it back in and kept the oven door shut.
4. Chill your cookie dough and store your cookies with a piece of bread after they are done
Chilling your cookie dough firms it up which decreases the possibility of overspreading. Chilling will also create an enhanced flavor and makes it easier to handle and shape. After you finish baking your cookies, make sure to store them with a piece of bread. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and will stay soft and the bread hard!
5. Use parchment paper rounds
When baking cakes, use parchment paper rounds. Trace the bottom of the cake pans with your parchment paper and cut circles out. This creates an easier way to slide your cakes out after they finish baking. The parchment paper rounds allow the cake to pop right out of the pan with no sticking!
6. Cool cakes in their pans or on a wire rack
Doing this allows the flavor to settle and keeps the frosting from melting when you put it on the cakes. Placing it on wire racks allows for an even cooling process. It also lets the cakes, cupcakes, or muffins even out on the top where it might be uneven.
7. Frost the day of serving
Cakes are best at room temperature and can be wrapped tightly to help keep them soft and moist. Frosting the day of serving keeps the frosting fresh. While cakes can be served days after frosting, it is most often the best the first day and should be put on the cake the day of serving!
8. Do small things like sift your flour
Sifting your flour can create a big difference because it can prevent any clumps and make your batter smoother. This will also help incorporate your flour into your batter easier and prevent overmixing.
9. Put your batter and beaters in the fridge before making whipped cream
Putting your beaters and bowl in the fridge helps them become chilled. With them being chilled, it will make your whipped cream whip faster and quicker!
10. Bake happy!
When you bake upset, mad, or unhappy, you often measure heavy-handed and are rough with the batter. This could create a whole series of unfortunate events. Bake happy and your baked goods will turn out delicious!