YOU are a Baker

IMG_1919I love to bake even more than I love to cook, but It is easier to mess up a recipe when you are baking than it is when you are cooking. Here is what I have learned:

  • Know your oven. Get an oven thermometer, hang it on a rack and see what temperature your oven really is.
  • Baking times matter. A convection oven will be more efficient and therefore with a recipe that reads “bake for 12 to 15 minutes” you will be more on the 12 minute side.
  • Cake testers were invented for a reason. Pull the cakes out and test them for doneness.
  • A kitchen timer is your BFF. I time EVERTHING I bake.
  • A medium to small sized ice cream scoop makes filling cup cakes and making even sized cookies super easy.
  • Silpat baking mats – I use them instead of parchment paper. They are awesome.
  • Read through the entire recipe at least twice so there are no surprises. Sometimes you aren’t supposed to use all of a specific ingredient listed, it will be divided instead to reserve some for the middle or end of the recipe.
  • Follow the recipe and measure or sift or whisk as directed. Baking is a science.
  • When a baking recipe calls for eggs and does not specify a size,  use large eggs.
  • Use table salt when baking unless otherwise specified. It is easier to incorporate into the ingredients than kosher or sea salt.
  • Once you have made the recipe a bunch of times then you can mess with it, but be careful. Adding wet ingredients without balancing the dry and vice versa will alter the outcome.
  • As with any craft, tools matter. Using an offset spatula to ice cupcakes is easier than using a butter knife.
  • Just do it. Start baking and you will learn as you go. Some mistakes look funny but actually taste good.