7 of the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Baking
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
Amazing Reasons Why Baking Is Good for You
Science has provided various ways to unwind and relax after a long and stressful day at work. While lying in bed for long hours is not one of them, practically learning a recipe has been proven to help one calm their mind down.
Therapeutic cooking has the beneficial effect of managing mood inconsistencies and depression because cooking imparts a goal-focused mentality in the person doing the activity. Additionally, cooking is advantageous over most of the therapeutic exercises as it can be done from the comfort of our homes and with locally available ingredients. Also, only some little effort is needed to step into the kitchen.
Therapeutic and Practical
According to Nicole Lambert, a professional counsellor working at Movement Counseling Services, cooking provides a platform to express one’s creativity and a distraction to channel out mind energy. Additionally, one is mastering a skill that can be used to benefit oneself or others at home.
In as much as there are potentially many mental benefits in cooking, the process is not easy. The exercise is made harder to accomplish especially if we are mentally stressed. Scientifically speaking, a low mood feeling depletes us of energy and motivation to cook as well as the desire for food.
Regardless of the complexity of the dish/food we are cooking, studies have shown observable and a positive mental feeling at the end of the cooking process. This beneficial mental mood is compounded if you are cooking a meal for yourself and others too.
Cooking can be good for your mental health in the following amazing six ways:
Cooking is Rewarding In An Abstract and Tangible Way
The cooking process is seen into two parts; the cooking activity and the resulting food/dish at the end of the cooking process. Psychologists identified the reason why therapeutic cooking is so effective was that the participants got a physical result as a reward for the cooking effort.
The basis of this presupposition is regarded as behavioural activation where the human mind develops the required motivation to carry out activity after establishing the goal or the purpose of the activity. The resulting reward for cooking can be understood partially as delicious food and partially as a show that the cooking activity has given rise to tangible results regardless of the taste of the food.
Cooking Lets Us To Be Creative
The creativity of the human mind is an essential factor for feeling happy. Easy cooking recipes have more beneficial effects compared to the more difficult ones. This is because simple recipes do not generate anxiety conditions associated with the execution of difficult tasks. This is according to a 2016 test study carried out on a total number of 658 people.
The study established that individuals overall felt more content and happy, confident and capable when they completed a simple task like baking.
It Increases Quality of Social Life and Working With Others
A study carried out in 2018 on a select community of individuals established that therapeutic cooking made the participants feel more self-confident and improved and expanded their socialisation skills.
Cookery programs and cooking classes bring people together and teach them calmness and other dynamic attributes required when working with others in a team or a group.
Cooking is Economical
All hotels and restaurants are businesses seeking to make a profit from selling cooked food to their customers.
According to Shane Perry, a finance expert from Max Funding, “Cooking saves money and alleviates the overall financial position of an individual. Poor use of monetary resources can be the source of stress to persons and their spouses at home. Arguably, the use of money is a common area of conflict between married couples.” She adds, “When we cook at home, we cut down on food cost. Cooking at home strengthens relationships between family members.”
Therapeutic Cooking is a Good Mind Distraction Activity
Many people say cooking makes them feel calmer and according to Justyna Wawrzonek, a professional therapist, cooking almost feels like meditation because people often lose track of time when they pay attention to the cooking process.
Therapeutic cooking has been shown to give tranquillity to many people especially someone struggling with negative thinking patterns of worry and fear.
Cooking For Others Teaches Selflessness
Cooking for other people is in itself a self-sacrificing activity. It is through such altruistic mannerism where we learn to empathise with others among other social qualities. Apart from the objective of preparing tasty food, there are mental beneficial virtues to be learnt from cooking for others.
Altruistic cooking strengthens social bonds while we are celebrating or entertaining our friends and family.
Baking Unlocks All Your Senses
According to psychologist Dr. Linda Blair, a qualified psychologist, baking triggers all 5 sensory organs in the human body such as smell and results in the production of stress and pain-relieving chemicals in the brain.
When we are baking, all our senses such as sight, taste, smell, feelings and even sound are active and on high alert. Cooking/baking can be used as an alternative to using mobile phones, movies and television shows that are daily on our screens.
The sense of smell or taste can rekindle old blissful memories that had been long forgotten.
By all measures, it is not surprising at all that baking and generally, therapeutic cooking has been used by many as a mind-relaxing hobby and a way to improve the overall quality of life.
Cooking/baking provides an effective alternative to watching movies for people who might feel a bit depressed or stressed by daily life challenges. Instead of turning on the television, playing video games or sleeping for longer hours, you may decide to walk to the kitchen and bake some cookies or a brown cake. The process will also certainly be interesting.
Cooking provides an alternative to divert mind energy and at the end of cooking/baking, one feels self-assuring and relaxed.
Are you looking for ways to get rid of boredom at this time of social distancing?
Learn all about Pastry using the latest techniques direct from Europe!
All our classes in Sweet Artist Academy are well- designed for beginners!
Home Baking Tips for Beginners
Does your family have a taste for pastries? Do you host parties or little gatherings often? In any case, you should learn these essential tips from the pastry chefs across Australia:
Read the Whole Recipe
The recipe is like a blueprint. You’d prefer to see the whole picture than to take glimpses of it as you go, right?
Read the whole recipe first so you can prepare all the ingredients and materials. Doing this can also help mentally prepare for the task.
Use A Digital Scale
Weighing can take up a lot of time. A digital scale speeds up the process because you won’t have to firmly pack the floor into a cup or manually calculate how many raisins is equal to a cup of raisins. There will be fewer utensils and less clean-up.
Invest in Quality Tools
DAR Kitchen Rental Expert, Karina Wolfin says, “If you’re determined to become a pro, make sure you have the tools of a pro. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should purchase high-end brands. Browse the internet and consider more affordable alternatives with good user reviews.
For a less messy baking experience, get a standing mixer. It does all the work!”
Room Temperature is Better for Most Ingredients
Room temperature maintains the right consistency in most ingredients, including eggs. When eggs and other ingredients are within the same temperature, they tend to mix and rise faster. Overall, you can save a lot of baking time.
Unless the recipe specifies the ingredients should be chilled, frozen, warm, or hot.
Mixing and Beating Are Not the Same
Beating is more intense than mixing. It means totally blending the ingredients until you can’t see any clumps. You’re done beating if the ingredients are now a sticky amalgam with no exact representation of its ingredients.
Beating introduces air into your mixture, giving your baked goods a light and crumbly texture. The air is particularly important with pies and bread.
Melted Butter and Softened Butter Are Not the Same
Some home bakers think that sitting out a hard butter or putting it in a microwave for 10-15 seconds is equal to “softened butter”. Melted butter gives a chewy effect, while softened butter delivers a cake-like consistency.
Sometimes It’s Far from What You See in Magazines
When we see a pastry recipe with mouth-watering photos in magazines, we tend to get frustrated if we don’t get the same results.
Accept that it takes practice to master baking. Start with simple projects and build your skills from there. Invite a loved one to help and ask for feedback and just make think of it as a bonding time. Baking can be truly relaxing and enjoyable if you remove the pressures.
Learn to bake from a world-class pastry chef Patrick Vuaillat at the Sweet Artist Academy! He’s worked in the pastry industry for over 41 years now, winning the Edith Cowan University’s Business Person of the Year award and owner of Sugar & Spice Patisserie in Joondalup, winner of the best bakery in Australia in 2010.
6 Signs You Are in The Right Pastry Cooking Class
So, if you enrolled in a pastry cooking class Perth a few weeks ago. And now you’re wondering if you made the right decision.
We’ve prepared a checklist for you. Read through to know if you should go on or try a different culinary class.
1. You’re having fun
The most important thing about learning to cook is having fun. While it’s true that the culinary life isn’t always butterflies, the experience should be enjoyable as a whole.
Despite the bread-like croissant surface and burnt pies, there’s fun in learning to cook pastries. You just have to find it.
If you’re having fun, it’ll be easier to learn and share your knowledge. You might even develop a passion for baking over time.
2. You’ve accepted the non-creative aspects of cooking
One of the common obstacles that culinary students have to overcome is accepting the technicalities of cooking.
While limitless creativity is essential, there’s also a lot of science and math. You will scale, sieve, mix, knead, punch, heat, etc. These might sound dull, but they’re all essential processes.
If you’re not attempting to circumvent these processes and are learning to appreciate the importance of each step, you’re on the right pastry-making class.
3. People are starting to commend your kitchen skills
Some kitchen techniques are universal. Some of your learnings from the pastry cooking class can manifest in the kitchen—even if you’re not making pastries.
“These could be in picking and measuring ingredients, knife skills, and organisation of kitchen equipment. Understanding the basics of cooking will help improve, not only your cooking but also your efficiency and safety in the kitchen.”, says Nate Hawking, a food and nutrition expert at Monkeyfoodz.
4. You’re starting to make better food choices
In a pastry cooking class, you’ll learn the science behind the food you eat. You’ll know if the ingredients used, and the cooking process was right. As a result, you become more meticulous of your food choices.
You can tell that you’re in a good pastry cooking class if you’re inspired to prepare healthier food using high-quality ingredients. Here are 14 healthier ingredient substitutions!
5. You’ve become more confident not only in the kitchen
Acquiring a new skill can boost one’s self-confidence. Once you’ve overcome the major obstacles in cooking pastries and have become comfortable in the kitchen, you’ll be inspired to achieve more goals.
Attending a good pastry cooking class teaches patience, determination, attention-to-detail, and creativity. These values, when cultivated, add up to your overall confidence.
Do you want to be more confident? Master several dishes!
6. You’re considering a career in culinary arts
One of the strongest indications that you’re in the right pastry-making class is when you’re starting to think of becoming a chef. It means you’re seeing and accepting all the triumph and challenges that are attached to the food preparation industry.
Do you want to boost your cooking confidence? Attend workshops and classes at Sweet Artist Academy now!