I started baking in my late teens, but I grew up in a home where baking was around me from day one. At this point in time, baking has become a delicious form of therapy for me (and one good looking Instagram page). As you begin the baking journey, there can be a lot of hiccups if it doesn’t come naturally, which is the case for many people. Here are some tips that helped me become a better baker, if I do say so myself.
Follow the recipe.
I am slightly obsessed with Pinterest when it comes to finding good recipes (although a good Google search will come up with just as many options, if not more). Most recently I went hunting for a good chocolate chip muffin recipe, a blog, which I found by way of Pinterest, came to my rescue.
So first rule of thumb for a recipe I have never executed before – I follow the recipe to the letter. I measure everything like the recipe says to do (unlike cooking, measurements in baking, like flour, butter, sugar, and eggs are critical for the best consistency and flavor). I don’t go so far as buying the exact same brand as the recipe calls for; I mean, sugar is sugar and salt is salt.
Check your baked good before the allotted time is up.
I have burnt a few brownies in my day. Why is that do you ask? Because I didn’t realize my oven was much stronger than that of the person who wrote the recipe. Whenever a recipe says to bake for 30 minutes, I check after 20. My rule of thumb is 10 – 15 minutes before the recipe calls for. This move has saved many a baked good in my day.
Add more of what you love.
If, like me, you LOVE chocolate, or macadamia nuts, then feel free to add more such items into your baking. Sometimes I’ll add nuts when they aren’t even called for, this form of additive will not change the consistency but rather add a certain flavor that you may like.
Don’t rush – you will forget to add the eggs.
Now don’t laugh, this has happened to me more times than I care to admit. The second I put the dish in the oven I realize I rushed through things and forgot to add something (weirdly enough it’s usually eggs). When you’re baking, take your time, enjoy the process. Like I said before, this is a form of therapy for me, I no longer rush through it and I never forget to add something now.
Plus, it makes your house smell soooooo good!
Let it rest.
Letting a baked good rest after the oven is super important. Remember how your mom would smack your hand away when the dish was still hot? It had more to do with the fact that the dish needed to rest than the fact that it was too hot to touch. Once it comes out of the oven, it is still self-baking for a little while, which is why it is important to let it kind of do its thing for half an hour or so.
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
Many people try their hand at baking and fail miserably, some are just naturals. If you are the initial failure, don’t fret. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! Baking is not a snap your fingers kind of thing, it takes practice; over time you will come to have a form of intuition when you bake. You’ll know when to add and what, how long the dish will really take to bake through, and all great things that come with gut feelings (which could also be hunger, so watch out).