Top Baking Secrets You Need to Know Now!

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Top Baking Secrets You Need to Know

Top Baking Secrets You Need to Know Now will teach you a few secrets that will help improve your ability to create delicious baked goods.

“If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.” – Regina Brett

There’s something so wonderful about baking your own homemade pastries and bread. The smell of freshly baked goods waft through the house and entice your family members down to the kitchen.

Whenever any of the grandchildren were going to my grandmother’s house, she would call ahead and ask what type of pie we would like.  If all three of us went to her house, there would be three different pies cooling on a rack whenever we would walk in the door.

One time I asked for blueberry pie and when I arrived, she apologized and said that she didn’t have enough blueberries to make a pie so she added apples and made me a blueberry-apple pie.

From that point on, my favorite pie was that perfect combination. I love that I have that memory and I treasure that I had a grandma that valued her grandchildren so much that she made them each a pie when we visited. It made each of us feel so special.

Family recipes are treasured keepsakes that nourish your loved ones. Baking is a learned skill, so make sure you know the best tips to create dishes that will have everyone amazed with your culinary skills.

Here are the Top Baking Secrets You Need to Know Now!

1) Use a digital scale instead measuring cups.

When I worked a large convention hotel, we hired an amazing chef. The hotel didn’t have a digital scale to measure ingredients.

The chef was shocked that we didn’t have one and he raced out to get it. He said it’s impossible to have correct measurements without the scale and baked goods can taste off by just the smallest variation.

When you use a measuring cup, the weight of ingredients you use can be off by up to 50%. Most recipes call for ingredients to be measured in cups or tablespoons; you can easily convert quantities with the internet.

A digital scale is an inexpensive addition to add to any kitchen. Here’s the digital scale I recently purchased:

2) Review the recipe and prepare ahead.

As obvious as this rule is, how often have you not planned ahead and made a disaster out of a perfectly good recipe by either not have an ingredient that you thought you had or messing up a step in the process?

My hand is definitely in the air.

Read the recipe throughly and take out all the ingredients ahead of time.  You’ll be happy you did.

3) Use the best ingredients you can afford.

There is a definite difference in how your baked goods come out depending on the quality of ingredients you use.

If you’re going to go to the trouble of making a delicious home-baked goods, make sure the ingredients make them go from good to great.

I always use the best baking chocolate I can afford because there is such a difference in taste.  You also want to make sure your ingredients are fresh.

Spices, baking soda and baking powder lose their potency over time.

I buy Ghirardelli chocolate for my baked chocolate goods.  You can find it here:

4) Prevent overworking your dough.

Once flour hits the bowl, you want to handle it as little as possible.

The reason for this is the gluten in the flour becomes tougher the more you handle it.

This rule does not apply if yeast is added. When rolling out pie dough, roll it out only once for best results.

5) Use Kosher salt instead of table salt.

I was surprised what an important step this is because table salt has twice the potency as kosher salt.

This is the reason why most recipes call for it instead of regular salt.

Do yourself a favor, and always have Kosher salt on hand to use for your cooking.

6) Make sure you preheat the oven.

I live in a small town. We have a merchant market where everyone has booths where they sell their goods. Inside the building is a place that makes hamburgers from local meat and a coffee stand.

The building was never busy until the coffee shop hired a man who retired to our area to bake goods. He was a pastry chef in Paris and the coffee shop convinced him to work with them.

Now, there are lines of people waiting for his sconces, cookies and pies. How do I know this? Because I’m in line for my white cheddar chive scone.

My week is not complete unless I get my scone fix. I asked him what his number one tip was for a home baker.

Preheating your oven was it. He said it is the MOST important step in baking and most people don’t do it.

The oven has to be hot when the trays go in the oven, otherwise the items won’t turn out nearly as well. There you have it, advice from a master baker from Paris…

7) Let cookie dough “rest.”

You should let your cookie dough rest for a period before baking it.  Ten minutes should do it.  The reason for this is to let the sugar dissolve in the liquid ingredients before baking.

8) Use ice cream scoops to make perfect sized cookies.

The best thing to do is have an array of ice cream scoop sizes to make perfectly formed cookies. Ice cream scoops come in sets now with all different sizes so you can make the right size for each recipe.

This set is the right one for accomplishing that and they have high quality stainless steel to prevent corrosion.

You can find the set here:

9) Fill cake pans half way with batter.

By filling your cake pans only halfway, you ensure the cake doesn’t spill over the edges and the cake will bake evenly.

A Professional Nonstick Bakeware 3-Piece Round Cake Pan Set by Cake Boss.  You can find it here:

10) Use a cheese grater to make your cakes, cupcakes, bread, biscuits or muffins perfect.

A cheese grater will smooth all the bumps on your masterpiece and make imperfections obsolete.

11) Butter and flour your pans generously or use parchment paper.  

I go the parchment paper route.

I love not having to clean up as much now that I use it to line my bakeware.

I’m also able to lift out cakes, bread, cupcakes and muffins easily out of their pans so my hard work isn’t ruined.

12) High altitude means baking differently.

I belong to a homesteading group and one of the members said her top baking tip was to buy the book “Pie in the Sky.”

She said living in high altitude areas your baking comes out different and this book “Saved her biscuits!”

Go here to get your resource into high altitude baking:

13) Clean as you go.

If you clean as you work, it will make the baking process go more smooth.

Since you won’t have a big mess to clean up at the end, you will be more likely to want to bake again soon.

That’s a good thing.

14) Use a toothpick to outline your design on frosting.

Before writing or drawing designs on a cake or cupcakes, use a toothpick to write our your message or draw your design before piping on frosting.

If you make a mistake, you can always smooth it over and start over before putting on the colored frosting.

15) Use a muffin pan to form perfect cookies. 

Dorie from Dorie’s Cookies knows the 411 on creating perfectly round cookies – she uses a muffin tin to bake the cookies.

You can find Dorie’s cookie cookbook here:

16) Perfectly sliced desserts.  

Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water.  Make sure you wipe it clean before making the next slice.

17) Easy molasses clean-up. 

Dust flour into your measuring cup before adding molasses.  Now it will easily pour out and clean-up is a breeze.

18) Separate containers.  

You don’t want to store crispy cookies and soft cookies in the same container.  The crispy cookies will absorb moisture from the softer cookies.

19) Coolness. 

Make sure you let your cookies cool off before storing, because the steam will make your cookies turn soggy.

20) No waste. 

Did you know that they made reusable cupcake liners made out of silicone?  Neither did I.  You can find them here at Amazon.  

21) The next day.  

A professional pie baker suggested waiting a day before serving your freshly baked pie so all the flavors have a chance to blend.

22) Cooling off. 

Let your cookie sheets cool off between your batches.  When you place your unbaked cookies on hot metal, it will cause the cookies to spread and they will end up being too flat.

23) Orange zest.  

If your recipe calls for orange, lemon or lime zest, it is easier to do if your fruit is at room temperature and the fruit you pick has a rougher texture skin.  Smooth-skinned fruit is harder to grate.

24) Dusting wand. 

Did you know there is a dusting wand that will allow you to dust each cookie or bar individually?

You’ll love this little magic baking tool, and the reviews agree.  You can find it here on Amazon.  

25) Cool down.  

Allow your cookies to completely cool down before serving.   The cooling process is what makes the true texture develop.

21) Moister cakes. 

Grandma knew a secret or two about baking.  To get a moister cake, place a pan of water on the rack under the cake during baking.

22) Plump raisins. 

If a baking recipe calls for raisins and you like the taste of softer raisins, boil them for a few minutes until soft and then proceed with the recipe instructions.

23) Great pie crust.  

One of the secrets of a great pie crust is to cover the edge for half the baking time so it doesn’t overbrown.

24) Instead of chopping.

Put nuts in a plastic bag and roll them with a rolling-pin to your desired fineness.  It’s quicker than chopping the nuts and doesn’t make as much mess.

25) Moister cakes.

Store your cake in an airtight container and add two sugar cubes that will absorb moisture.

26) Perfect layers.  

Keep your cake layers from sticking in the pan.  Grease the bottom and sides of the pan and then line the bottom with wax paper.  Create the perfect sized wax paper by tracing the bottom of the pan and then cut out.

After the cake has finished baking, invert cake layer on the rack to cool.  Gently peel off wax paper while the cake is warm.

27) Frosting cake. 

For a cleaner cake plate, place three pieces of wax paper on the cake plate, hanging the edges over the ends.  Place the cake on the plate and frost it.  When you’re done, carefully pull the wax papers out.

28) Garnish.  

Make your dessert even more special by adding special garnishes. Fresh fruit on top or even chocolate curls will add pizazz to your dish.

You can make chocolate curls with a vegetable peeler.  Pull the peeler firmly down on a chocolate bar and it will make perfect curls.

29) Egg wash.

To make an egg wash easier to apply in a single layer, add pinch of salt and tablespoon of water.  This will thin out your wash.

30) Soften Brown Sugar.  

Brown sugar has a tendency to get hard.  To soften it, add a slice of bread to the container.  It takes about one day for the brown sugar to absorb the moisture from the bread, making it soft again.

We’ve reached the end of the Top Baking Secrets You Need to Know Now! I hope you learned something new about baking that will help you in the kitchen. Please let me know if you tried any of these tips and if it helped your cooking. If you have a baking tip that I missed, I would love to hear about it as well.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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10 Comments

Christine

My cousin bakes amazing cookies and says to never melt the butter for cookie dough as they turn out flat but to blend in the coldest butter possible. She also taught me to freeze extra cookie dough in perfectly equally sided balls and set on cookie sheets and bake at top rack at 380-90 degrees. Make a few at a time more often than one big batch at once so they are always fresh for guests. Result: crispy outside and soft inside— amazing professional cookies! My other friend shreds her butter and keeps in the freezer—her secret to amazing scones. Butter has to stay cold!!!

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