Many bakers would say that baking is a science – it requires accurate measurements and timing in order to produce perfectly moist red velvet cupcakes. They are not far from it! The steps to achieving perfectly baked goods are not hard, but they are precise. But once you get to learn of these baking tips, your pastries will never taste the same again!
1. Stop Using Cold Butter
Avoid throwing in butter straight from the fridge. Batters made with room temperature ingredients are smooth and evenly incorporated. Instead, pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds after taking it out so you can bring it down to room temperature – without melting it! At room temperature, butter, when combined with milk and eggs bond and form an emulsion that traps air. During baking, the air expands to produce light, airy, evenly baked treats.
2. Use a Kitchen Scale
Using weight as a measuring unit is much more accurate than volume. Did you know that a cup of flour weighs anything between 4 to 6 ounces? That gives a lot of leeway for inconsistencies in your baking. It’s not just that. A kitchen scale also makes baking faster, easier and cleaner! Now that’s a win-win for everyone.
3. Preheat the Oven First
This step often appears first in recipes and while it might be tempting to skip it, not preheating your oven will only result in soggy crusts or cakes that are not fully raised. Simply turn it on to the temperature you want and wait at least 10 minutes before checking your oven thermometer. Once it reaches the temperature you desire, slot your baking tray in.
4. Drop Your Pan While It’s Hot
To get the perfect texture for cakes and cookies, drop your cake pan onto the counter a few times after you have filled it with batter. This releases the bubbles in it, helping the cake to bake more evenly in the oven. For cookies, dropping the cookie sheet after it comes out of the oven helps to make them settle quicker. Plus it can be a good stress reliever if you have had a hectic day at work!
5. Coat Your Trays
To ensure your cake does not stick to your tray or mould, all you need to do is to coat it with butter and a layer of flour. This helps you to remove your cake easily without having it reduced to crumbs.
6. Fold Your Egg Whites Gently
To make meringue, first whip egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. Make the batter base in a separate bowl before incorporating the egg whites into the batter very gently with a scooping-and-folding motion. Keep folding and turning the bowl and folding again, but be careful not to overfold it. Within a few minutes and some patience, the mixture will come together nicely.
7. Whisk Your Mixture Constantly
When making crème anglaise, slowly pour your hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add the egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk and stir quickly. This prevents the yolks from being cooked. Stir constantly until the mixture coats the back of your spoon – and you’ve achieved the perfect custard sauce!