Baking is a fun hobby that (almost) always comes out with delicious results, but it can turn wrong quickly with only a few minor mistakes. In baking, it's important to know these tips to help you succeed next time you are craving a sweet treat. These little mistakes can make the difference between an ammeter and a professional baker.
1. You Open the Oven
Opening the oven to check on your cake can be very problematic. When you open the oven while your treats are cooking, it lets out all the hot air, therefore changing the temperature. Opening the oven too often to take a sneak peek will change the cooking time, which could leave it undercooked. Next time, turn on the oven light instead for an evenly baked cake.
2. You Don't Measure Properly
If you are scooping your ingredients straight out of the bag with your measuring cups, then this may be affecting the quality of your treats. The best way to measure ingredients is by using a scale. This is the most accurate method, and a lot of recipes measure using grams anyway. However, if you do not have a scale, a simple fix to measuring properly is to scrape off the excess by using a knife to level the cup. This hack can make a huge difference!
3. You Are Baking Room Temperature Cookie Dough
A quick rule of thumb: ALWAYS chill your cookie dough before cutting it and putting it into the oven. This way, the fat in the cookies will harden and will not melt, so it does not turn into some type of brittle instead of soft cookies.
4. You Don't Sift the Flour
Sifting ingredients like flour and powdered sugar is a very important step in the process. If the ingredients are not sifted, then they leave clumps behind in your baked treats. This is not an issue in chocolate cake, for example, but it can become an issue when making macaroons because the smooth finish is a part of what makes them look so beautiful and appetizing. Without sifting, they can look clumpy and not as desirable.
5. You Put All the Ingredients in at once
Read each step carefully, and make sure to separate your ingredients. Sometimes the recipe will call for mixing dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Sometimes, the instructions ask to add each ingredient individually, and the way that these steps are executed impacts the overall texture of your baked treats.
6. You Don't Read the Entire Recipe Before Starting
We have all been here before. Whether we didn't check if we had all the ingredients and we started mixing, or we incorporated them wrong into the mixture. We all know the results these preventable mistakes lead to. Remember to read the recipe thoroughly before starting.
7. Your Egg Whites Aren't Whipping
It can be very frustrating when your egg whites don't peak after whisking or beating for a while. Egg whites tend to be “sensitive”. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, so here are a few things to fix that issue, so you can get those perfect peaks: Clean the bowl thoroughly. If there is any residual fat, like butter, left in the bowl, your egg whites will not whip. Fat keeps egg white from whipping. Make sure there is no water in the bowl, as this can keep your egg whites from hardening. Also, make sure your eggs are room temperature before whipping them, as cold eggs do not whip as well.
8. Your Muffins Are Not Proportionate
If you use a spoon to put the batter into your cupcake or muffins tins, most likely they will all come out in different sizes. This is because the spoon is not a good method of putting the batter into the tins, as it is not exact. A much better way of getting equal-sized cupcakes and muffins is by using an ice cream scooper. The scooper holds the perfect amount of batter for each tin. This way, you will get proportionately sized muffins.
9. You Didn't Want Your Treats to Be Salty
This is one of the biggest mistakes a novice baker can make. I sure did this a lot when I was little. Whatever you do, please do not ignore the part of the recipe that calls for salt. I know that I used to think it would make my desserts salty and take away the sweet flavor, but now I now that is not what happens when salt is added to the ingredients. Instead, the salt enhances the flavor of the desserts. It brings out the other flavors in the baked goods, so your taste buds aren't overwhelmed with pure sugar. Next time, don't be afraid to use that salt. (Not too much though!)
10. You Are Putting the Icing on the Cake Too Early
Make sure that your cake has cooled completely before attempting to slather it in buttercream frosting. It can be very difficult to wait, especially when the cravings for that delicious cake kick in. Even though it seems like baked goods take forever to completely cool down, it is better to wait in a situation like this. If you frost the cake too early, then all of your icing will melt off and result in a big, gooey mess.
These ten simple tips and tricks can be a lifesaver for your delicious baked goods. It can make the difference between a candidate dessert on the fail baking show “Nailed It!” and an Instagram worthy dessert. Now that you are armed with this knowledge, go out and bake! Bakers will always make mistakes, as well as learn from them and continue to improve their skills.