You’ve got the apron; you’ve got the oven mitts and you’ve been waiting for this night all week. You’re ready to whip up your first dessert. But hold up! Before you begin to bake, here are some cooking tips every beginner should know.
Read the recipe thoroughly
Before you buy baking powder from McKenzie’s Foods, read your recipe from beginning to end. This will help you plan out your time, organize the ingredients needed and make sure you have everything on hand. Reading through the recipe will also clue you in on any special instructions or techniques that might need extra attention.
There is an art to measuring ingredients as it relates to cooking tips for beginners. Our best advice? Don’t guess! Instead, use a dry measuring cup for dry ingredients (like flour) and a liquid measuring cup for wet ingredients (like milk). Also, be sure to read the measurement labels on your containers and adjust accordingly. For example, make sure that a 1-cup measure is filled with 1 full cup of ingredient, not just halfway or three-quarters of the way full. Many recipes call for accurate measurements so that your final product has the right taste, consistency and look.
Use the Correct Pan
Every recipe has pan size listed in it. If it says 8” square pan, then use an 8” square pan. The same goes for round pans. Use what is called for in the recipe, because different sized pans will affect the baking time and overall results of your recipe.
When purchasing pans, look for aluminum pans that are a heavier gauge and have straight sides that are not fluted or raised like pie plates. These will give you precise edges on your recipes and create even heat distribution within the pan that will cook your food better.
Never use 1/4 cup of oil to grease the pan
Instead of measuring out a quarter cup of oil or butter to grease your pan for baking, use a non-stick spray. Cover the bottom and sides evenly with non-stick spray, then get rid of any excess by wiping off with a paper towel. This will help give you an even, golden-brown crust every time.
Don’t overmix the batter
Especially when making bread, pastries, pancakes and waffles, overmixing the batter can create tough, chewy results. Stir the ingredients together until they are just combined, but not completely smooth. If they look lumpy or “rough,” that’s perfectly fine! Overmixing batters can cause glutens to form in wheat-based products and result in loaves of bread that are rubbery instead of soft and fluffy.
Read the recipe all the way through before beginning
Before you start any recipe for the first time, read it all the way through. This will help you see what ingredients and tools you need, how long the recipe takes and if there’s anything that you don’t quite understand.
Reading through a recipe also will reveal any steps that require advanced preparation. For example, some recipes require you to marinate ingredients overnight or use an ingredient that needs time to cool before using it in another step of the recipe. It’s best to find out about these steps before you begin so that you can plan accordingly.
Use Room Temperature Ingredients
When it comes to cooking and baking, there is a reason why many recipes ask for room temperature ingredients. Butter, eggs and other dairy products should be left out for about 30 minutes to an hour before using them in a recipe. This makes it easier to cream butter with sugar, beat eggs into dough or batter, and incorporate ingredients more easily. Using cold ingredients will not give you the same results as room temperature ones would.
Measure Your Ingredients Properly
It’s very important that you measure your ingredients properly. A difference of 1/8 cup of flour can lead to a completely different result with your baked goods! The best way to do this is by using a measuring cup or scale. Be sure to level off your dry ingredients with a knife when measuring them into the measuring cup. Fluff up flour with a fork so it’s not compacted in the measuring cup when you level it off.