I started baking about 4 years ago and I remember my first ever recipe – Chocolate Chip Cookies! Of course, I was so excited to start baking that I bought all the supplies from ingredients such as flour to supplies such as cookie sheets, oven thermometers and more! I read a lot of baking tips and watched video tutorials. It took me about 2 days before I actually started baking because I wanted it to be perfect. You see, baking is both an art and science so I have to be well-prepared. Fortunately, all that hard work paid off and my first batch of cookies were really good! Well… admittedly the edges were a but burnt, but they still tasted just as good.
So, if you’re getting bored and you want to start baking, I’ve put together some baking tips to help you get started.
Basic Baking Tools
First of all, you don’t just need an oven and a cookie sheet. You should invest in quality items so that your baking experience will be easy and stress-free. Here are some basic tools that you need to have before you start baking:
- Baking pan and cooling rack set – Better if you invest in different sizes of baking pans — just make sure they will fit in your oven if you are using a smaller one. You’ll also find out that baking pans and cooling racks are so useful not just for baking.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons – Since baking is a science, your measurements should be exact. You need to have both dry and wet measuring cups to be precise. Make sure you have the complete sets, too.
- Rubber/Silicone Spatula or Scraper – Silicone is more resistant to high heat than rubber. A scraper is not just for scraping off the ingredients but it can also be used to fold ingredients or even lift out cookies and pastries from the baking sheet.
- Wire whisk – A wire whisk is not just for beating eggs but for mixing dry ingredients.
- Fine mesh sieve – A fine mesh sieve is not just for sifting flour, you can also use it to strain wet ingredients.
- Hand mixer or Stand mixer – You can buy just the basic one if you are still a beginner. It is very useful in mixing dough and won’t tire you easily.
- Parchment paper – This is a very handy tool in the kitchen. Prevents ingredients from sticking to the baking pan, avoids cookie dough from spreading too thin, and makes clean-up easier. Perfect for wrapping food items, too!
- Wooden spoon – Perfect for mixing thicker ingredients because they are sturdy.
- Oven thermometer – You shouldn’t rely on your oven temperature too much especially if you use it most of the time. Your oven temperature may be off by 10 degrees, unless your oven is brand new or calibrated regularly. Your baked goods might come out either burnt or half cooked, so better invest on an oven thermometer.
- Food scale – This is more reliable than measuring cups and spoons because grams and ounces are more precise then cups.
- Cookie/ Ice cream scoops – These are perfect for evenly measured cookie dough. You can also use them for mashed potatoes, muffins, pancakes, and meatballs.
- Mixing bowls – These are different from your usual soup bowls because they have a heavier base and some may come with a suction cup. This makes mixing ingredients more stable and avoids spills.
Beginners’ Baking Tips
As a beginner, you need to keep yourself well-armed with knowledge before you practice baking. These baking tips will help you start off on the right foot (or hand) leading to tasty baked treats. Remember, baking is a science so you need to be precise when it comes to ingredients, measurements and even how you mix or knead the dough.
- Read the recipe and give it a once- over before you start. This will help you prepare the necessary ingredients and understand the steps so you don’t waste time, effort, and ingredients.
- Have all the ingredients and tools within reach. You don’t want your cupcakes to burn while you frantically search for that oven thermometer.
- Butter should always be the correct consistency. The temperature of the ingredients greatly affect the outcome. Therefore, if it calls for room temperature melted butter, don’t hasten the melting by popping it in the microwave. That is another reason why you should read the recipe before starting.
- Speaking of butter, when the recipe calls for chilled butter, grate it before freezing so it’ll be easier to handle it and prevent it from melting.
- Spoon the flour into a measuring cup instead of scooping it, then level it with a knife. This ensures that you get the correct amount of flour.
- On the other hand, it is better to use grams or pounds instead of cups since these are more exact.
- Salt is an important ingredient in baking, so don’t be afraid to use it. Salt balances and adds flavor, controls yeast growth, helps control the oily consistency in buttery dough, and aids in browning.
- Keep the oven door closed to avoid messing up the temperature. Opening the oven door lets cool air in and affects the actual oven temperature.
- Cool your cakes and cupcakes before icing it to prevent the icing from melting.
- Always check the expiration date of the ingredients. You don’t want you or your family to end up in the hospital because of expired baking soda.
- Do not over-mix ingredients because it will ruin the consistency of your dough or pastry.
- Test your cakes and cupcakes with a toothpick. If food sticks, then it isn’t ready yet.
- Chilling your cookie dough and pie crust pieces before baking to prevent the butter from melting too fast.
- Place the beaters and bowl in the fridge to cool them before using. This will help you make whipped cream faster.
- Sifting flour is VERY important, so make sure you do it.
I hope that these baking tips will make it easier for you to start baking. Stocking up on raw ingredients and making them at home is cheaper and more convenient. You don’t need to go out and buy bread if you can make it on your own. Plus, when this quarantine ends, you can make a small business out of baking coz you’re already a master!
Enjoy baking! Don’t forget to share these tips with friends and family. Drop us a comment and let us know how your first baking experience went!