Tag Archives: Baking Tips

Baking Tips

Challah Here are some tips I’ve collected from texts, trials and favorite chefs that might get a rise out of you!

  • When baking cookies, Chef P says if you’re not serving them that day, store them in the freezer (after cooling) and let them thaw before serving.  You can ice, decorate, sprinkle or whatever once they are thawed. Cookies start to stale almost immediately and freezing keeps them fresher longer.
  • Always refrigerate opened yeast.
  • When making yeast bread, activate the dry yeast in 110 degree F. water.  It makes a difference!
  • Don’t add the salt directly on top of the yeast, put it on top of the flour.  Salt kills yeast.
  • You know your yeast bread is done when you thump the bottom of the bread and it sounds hollow.  If you can’t thump it, check the temperature and it’s done at 210 degrees.
  • Be sure to adhere to mixing, fermentation and proofing instructions. Most yeast doughs should be mixed with the dough hook for 8-10 minutes to develop the gluten.
  • Before baking yeast breads, consider washing the dough with egg white and water for a shiny, crisp crust or whole egg and milk for a golden, soft crust.
  • Don’t adjust dry ingredient amounts in baking formulas.  It’s a science!
  • When baking with chocolate chips, nuts, berries, etc. toss them in flour before adding to mixture.  It will keep them from sinking to the bottom.
  • For the best baked product end-result, consider weighing ingredients instead of using measuring cups.  Only water, egg and milk is measured by volume in a real bake shop.
  • Move baked breads and muffins to a cooling rack as soon as possible to keep the bottoms from getting soggy.
  • Never submerge a rolling pin in water. It can get inside the well and leak out onto later batches of dough.
  • When baking bread loaves, make small cuts or “score” the top of the dough to keep loaf from splitting when baked.
  • If you’re using a shortening-based cake icing, add a little lemon juice to improve the “mouthfeel” of the icing.
  • Don’t store your bread and muffins in the refrigerator.  Keep lightly covered at room temperature for a day or just bake and freeze, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and inside a freezer bag.  Let thaw at room temp and refresh in the oven.  Refrigerate only baked goods containing cream fillings.  The fridge dries out baked goods.
  • When bread is properly proofed and ready to bake, it springs back slowly when touched.
  • Use cake flour only for cakes and pasty flour only for pastries.  Bread flour is a high-gluten flour you can use for making yeast breads.  All-purpose flour is a cross between pastry and bread flour so you can use for many types of baked goods.  Cake flour makes cakes tender and fine-crumbed.
  • Only use your mixer whip attachment for foaming egg whites and cream.  The paddle should be used for everything else, except mixing dough!  That’s for the dough hook.

Some Basic Baking Tips

If there is an budding baker in you, here are some basic tips for getting that cake to turn out just right!  Some of these tips are from Wilton Cake Decorating.

  • A pan with a lighter color (finish) like a shiny metal will result in a lighter colored crust.  I don’t like the dark non-stick pans, they always make my cookies and cakes too dark on the outside.
  • Two really cool tools to make your baking more successful:  Cake Release (a product you brush lightly on the bottom and sides of pan) and Bake-Even Strips (wrap these around outside of pan before baking to bake more even cakes without that puffy crown.)
  • Measure liquid ingredients at eye level and always level off dry ingredients.
  • Fill prepared pans only half full.
  • Bake cakes immediately after mixing in the center of oven.
  • Allow at least 1 inch of space on all sides and between pans.
  • Don’t open the oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking.
  • Test cakes for doneness while they are still in the oven.
  • Cool cakes in pans for only 10 minutes, using a cooling rack.
  • Plain Crisco is the only kind of shortening I will use in a cake.
  • To remove cake from a pan, place waxed paper over top of cake and place a second grid (cooling rack) on top of the paper.  Flip it over and remove bottom pan.  The wax paper keeps grid from making marks on the cake.

Did you know?
-3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon
-The number of X’s on confectioner’s sugar indicates the number of times it has been sifted.