10 Baking MUST Knows
Last week on 24/7 MOMS Live Webcast Keeping It Simple segment we shared these 10 Baking MUST knows to help us begin a successful season of Holiday baking.
#1 - Read the recipe before you begin-
Take time to read the entire recipe, get out all your ingredients and equipment needed prior to beginning. This first step will save you from discovering half way through your mixing and measuring that you are out of eggs or missing your loaf pan. This will also give you opportunity to make adjustments and substitution if needed.
Follow each mixing step - do NOT over or under mix. Use a kitchen timer to keep track of how long to mix when a time is specified.
#2 - Correct Measurements a must -
Use the correct measuring cups - for dry ingredients use the measuring cups without a spout, for wet/liquid ingredients use the measuring cups with spouts.
When measuring flour do not pack it down or tap on counter to make room for more - both of these cause to much flour to be added to recipes. Lightly spoon in flour then level off with a table knife.
#3 - Egg Separation -
A speck of yolk can create your egg whites from whipping up correctly. Correctly beaten egg whites have volume and are creamy and glossy. First separate whites from yolks carefully then let the whites stand at room temperature for a few minutes they will whip up better. Be sure to use clean and dry beaters on high speed until stiff peaks form - Do not over beat.
#4 - Softening Butter -
Best to let it stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes . When in a hurry you can speed this process up by slicing butter into tablespoon size pieces and let stand at room temperature.
Do NOT soften/melt butter in microwave it will change the consistency of your batter.
Butter that is to soft or melted completely won't cream properly and it may cause your cookies to loose shape.
#5 - Melting Chocolate -
Two ways to melt chocolate -
1 - Microwave : place chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and stir every 15 - 20 seconds. I never allow chocolate to melt all the way I stir it while still chunky until it is smooth thus never overcooking my chocolate.
2- Stove top: Place chocolate in a pan over low heat constantly stirring , remove before fully melted and stir until smooth.
#6 - Preparing Pans-
Use a paper towel, cupcake holder, wax paper, sandwich bag or the butter wrapper to grease your pans and keeping your hands clean all at the same time.
Make a flour shaker by filling a sugar shaker with flour to use when in need of dusting a pan or surface . This tip will give you quick access to flour and keep it from spilling all over when you dig in to the flour bin.
You can also substitute dry cake mix or cocoa for flour when dusting the bottoms of your cake pans.
#7 - No Under baking allowed -
We tend to under bake our baked goods by not looking at them closely. Even when the toothpick comes out clean if the cake is pale or cookies look to wet. let them bake a couple extra minutes. Better to over cook a bit then have undercooked gooey food.
#8 - No Oven Crowding-
Do NOT over fill your oven when baking. Leave space for air to circulate and avoid opening the oven door while baking
#9 - Storing Baked Goods
Placing baked goods in the fridge causes your baked goods to stale faster so storing your baked good at room temperature is the best method except for cheesecakes and other items containing dairy products.
Freezing your baked goods can extend their freshness and the sooner you place them in the freezer the better the results will be when defrosting for later use.
Baked goods can be store din the freezer for the following amounts of time:
- Angel food cake, sponge, layer, or cheesecake – 4 to 6 months
- Bagels – up to 2 months
- Baked cookies – 4 to 6 months
- Bread - up to 3 months
- Danishes, doughnuts – up to 3 months
- Fruit pies (baked) – as long as 1 year
- Muffins, quick breads, rolls – 2 to 4 months
- Nut pies – up to 6 months
- Pumpkin or chiffon pies – up to 1 month
- Unbaked cookie dough – up to 6 months
#10 - Extra Must knows
No more Sticky Oil - First rinse your measuring cup in hot water before pouring syrup, oil, etc. into it. It will now pour out clean and not stick to your cup.
Colored Sugar - Make your own decorator sugars by filling small jars with sugar and adding a few drops of food coloring and shaking the jar. Create your own unique colors.
Flavored Whip cream - First whip cream then add 2 tablespoons of flavored j-ello ,continue beating on slow until the whipped cream is the right consistency.You now have flavored and colored whip cream.
Do you have a MUST know baking tip? Share it with us by leaving a comment.