Ever feel like you’re following a recipe to a tee and things still don’t work?
It’s a dilemma that shows up often when it comes to baking. Some people wonder where they went wrong, others are adamant the recipe is to blame.
In most cases, people will have a problem because they don’t know or don’t follow the fundamental rules of baking.
Knowing what these rules are and following up across all your baking will inevitably improve your success rate.
Here are some common mistakes many novice bakers make, learn now in order to avoid them.
1. Not Measuring Correctly
Similar to cooking, baking involves a science.
Yet unlike cooking, the repercussions of not using precise measurements will show up in your baking.
This is why it becomes important to know about the rules on how to measure correctly when it comes to wet and dry ingredients, to ensure that they work in a harmonious way.
According to the custom cake makers at Pearl’s Creations, measurements are important. “Things like cup measurements are measured in a certain way in order to be correct. Alternatively, measuring in grams will always best the most reliable and accurate way to measure in baking. It’s also worth keeping in mind, not all countries use the metric system so you have to make sure your convert with certain recipes.”
2. Not Knowing How Your Oven Works
In the ideal world, it would be safe to assume that when an oven displays 180C, it is actually 180C, right?
Yet this is not always the case.
According to the kitchen renovation specialists at Smart and Fast Electrical, not all ovens are accurate. “There are many different types of ovens, and even the more expensive and current models, could have the potential to be off. This might have to do with worn seals on your oven door, or due to wear-and-tear. The best way to avoid these issues is to invest in an oven thermometer.”
Furthermore, recipes in other countries may use Fahrenheit, which you will need to convert to celsius in order to be accurate.
Another issue that is common when it comes to ovens has to do with “hotspots”.
This is when a portion of your baked goods cooks or burns faster when compared to the rest.
Avoiding these hot spots or turning the pan regularly is the best way to avoid this issue.
To detect the “hotspots” in your oven line a baking tray will bread slices. Bake the bread for 5 to 10 minutes.
The bread slices that brown the most are where the hotspots are located in your oven.
3. Over Or Under Beating Your Batter
Another common mistake that many people make is to overbeat their batter (this mistake is even more common than under beating).
In many recipes, light stirring or folding is usually more than enough.
Getting rid of your frustrations works well when you knead dough when baking bread as it helps to develop the gluten, yet this is not the case when it comes to baking cakes.
4. Opening Your Oven Frequently During Baking
I was guilty of this common mistake when I first started baking.
When you open your oven too often, the temperature will drop which will cause uneven baking.
So make sure you resist the urges to open the oven door.
5. Making A Substitute Without Understanding The Science
People are different preferences and tastes, which is why many people make substitutions in baking.
However, it becomes necessary to first find out why the ingredient was used in a specific recipe before you decide to make a substitution.
Once you understand the chemistry that is involved, then you can decide on whether a substitute will work in the recipe you are working with.
According to the nutrition experts at Get A Healthy Life, eggs are commonly eliminated in a diet due to personal preference. “Omitting eggs can be detrimental to certain recipes because you must first understand the purpose that the egg plays in the recipe. If you’re deciding to swap it out for something else, it helps to know a substitute that will play the same role with the other ingredients.”
This same rule applies to any other ingredients that you would like to substitute.
6. Using The Wrong Temperature For Your Ingredients
I used to do this when I first started baking, and I am certain that many other people have made the same mistakes.
For example, forgetting to leave the butter out so that it reaches room temperature, and then trying to save time by putting the butter in a microwave or close to a preheated oven.
Butter at room temperature is very important when it comes to the process of creaming when you add sugar to the butter. It provides a tender and fluffy texture to your baked goods.
The same goes for eggs. When it comes to pastry-based recipes, it is important to use cold ingredients.
It is worth your time to read and follow the instructions to increase your chances of success when it comes to baking.
7. Using Out Of Season Or Expired And Inferior Ingredients
Another common error that many bakers make is to forget about checking on the expiry dates on ingredients such as leaveners.
Ingredients that are fresh make a significant difference when it comes to the end result of your baked goods.
The same applies to the quality of the ingredients that you are using. Using ingredients that are cheap might save you a bit of money, but you will probably sacrifice on the taste of your baked goods.
Try to use superior quality ingredients as much as possible.
When it comes to baking with vegetables and fruit, I go for the recipes that include what is in season.
The quality and the taste will differ dramatically. For example, very sweet and ripe strawberries will make a far better strawberry shortcake than choosing to use frozen or out-of-season strawberries.
If you’re ready to put these skills into practice but need some inspiration, why not book a course with Sweet Artistry Academy today?
Written by: Luke Baker