Baking is a fun hobby that (almost) always yields delicious results, but it can quickly go wrong with just a few minor mistakes. In baking, it’s important to know these tips to help you succeed the next time you crave a sweet treat. These small errors can make the difference between an ammeter and a professional baker.
1. You open the oven
Opening the oven to check your cake can be very problematic. When you open the oven while baking your treats, it lets out all the hot air, changing the temperature. Opening the oven too often to peek will alter 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 correctly
If you take your ingredients straight from the bag with your measuring cups, it can affect the quality of your treats. The best way to measure ingredients is with a scale. This is the most accurate method, and many recipes measure in grams anyway. However, if you don’t have a scale, an easy solution to measuring correctly is to scrape off the excess using a knife to level the cup. This hack can make a huge difference!
3. You bake cookie dough at room temperature
A quick rule of thumb: ALWAYS cool your cookie dough before cutting and baking. This way, the fat from the cookies will harden and not melt, so it doesn’t turn into some kind of brittle cookies 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, they leave lumps in your baked treats. This isn’t a problem in chocolate cake, for example, but it can become a problem when making macaroons, as the smooth finish is part of what makes them so beautiful and appetizing. Without sifting, they may look lumpy and less desirable.
5. You put all the ingredients at the same time
Read each step carefully and be sure to separate your ingredients. Sometimes the recipe will call for mixing dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Sometimes the instructions call for adding each ingredient individually, and how these steps are performed impacts the overall texture of your baked goodies.
6. You don’t read the whole recipe before you start
We’ve all been here before. Either we didn’t check to see if we had all the ingredients and started mixing, or we incorporated them incorrectly into the mix. We all know the results to which these avoidable mistakes lead. Be sure to read the recipe thoroughly before you begin.
7. Your egg whites aren’t whipping
It can be very frustrating when your egg whites don’t reach their peak after being whipped or beaten for a while. Egg whites tend to be “sensitive”. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, so here are some tips to fix that, so you can get those perfect peaks: Clean the bowl thoroughly. If there’s residual fat, like butter, left in the bowl, your egg whites won’t whip. The fat prevents the egg white from whipping. Make sure there is no water in the bowl as this can prevent your egg whites from hardening. Also, make sure your eggs are at room temperature before whisking, as cold eggs don’t whisk as well.
8. Your muffins are out of proportion
If you use a spoon to scoop the batter into your cupcake or muffin pans, they will likely all come out in different sizes. This is because the spoon is not a good method to put the batter into the molds, as it is not exact. A much better way to get equally sized cupcakes and muffins is to use an ice cream scoop. The scoop holds the perfect amount of batter for each mold. 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 beginner baker can make. I certainly did that a lot when I was little. Whatever you do, please don’t skip the part of the recipe that calls for salt. I know I used to think this would make my desserts salty and take away the sweet flavor, but now that’s not what happens when salt is added to ingredients. Instead, salt improved the flavor of the desserts. It brings out the other flavors in baked goods, so your taste buds aren’t overwhelmed with pure sugar. Next time, don’t be afraid to use this salt. (Not too much though!)
10. You put the icing on the cake too soon.
Make sure your cake has cooled completely before trying to brush it with buttercream frosting. It can be really hard to wait, especially when the cravings for that delicious cake strike. Even though baked goods seem to take still to cool down completely, it is better to wait in a situation like this. If you frost the cake too soon, all of your frosting will melt and result in a big gooey mess.
These ten simple tips and tricks can save your life for your delicious baked goods. It can be the difference between a dessert contestant on the baking show “Nailed It!” and an Instagram-worthy dessert. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, get out there and cook! Bakers will always make mistakes, learn from them, and keep improving their skills.