Friday, April 3, 2009

Essential Baking Tips and a Guide to a Well Stocked Kitchen

The following easy cooking tips are for everyone, whether you are a beginning cook or an old hand at baking. These baking techniques will make preparing your favorite recipes easier, better, and more fun!Let’s start with some basic rules about preparing your kitchen for baking.

Basic Baking Rules:

  • Be Orderly and Organized – Plan the things you need before you start baking. Choose the recipe you want to make and read through it carefully. Make sure you understand all the measurements and preparation needed. Collect all the ingredients the recipe calls for, following the ingredients list in order. Assemble all the kitchen utensils that are needed. Cultivate this habit of being orderly and cooking will be a breeze.

  • Use Quality Kitchen Tools - Good kitchen utensils make cooking a lot easier. They allow you to mix the ingredients more efficiently and measure ingredients with more accuracy. Quality mixers, blenders, baking pans, and measuring cups speed up the food preparation process, saving valuable time and energy. Here are a few kitchen essentials for preparing any recipe: electric stand alone mixer or electric hand mixer, assorted spatulas, measuring cups and measuring spoons, wooden spoon, sharp cutting knives, wire whisk, flour sieve, mixing bowls in a variety of sizes, baking pans (stainless steel pans are wonderful), pastry brush, biscuit cutter, cake tester, wire cooling racks, oven thermometer, candy thermometer, cake decorator tubes with assorted cake decorating tips. Obviously, you don’t need all of these items for every recipe, but if you stock your kitchen with these baking utensils, you will be ready to prepare just about any recipe.

  • Buy Good Ingredients - You can’t expect delicious results without good ingredients. Be sure to buy fresh ingredients and fine quality products. This is especially true of baking powder and baking soda. They lose their effectiveness over time, preventing proper rising of the cake batter.

  • Measure Accurately – This is a “must” for all baking! You can buy the finest ingredients available, have the best cooking skills, but if you don’t measure correctly, the recipe will be a flop. Measurements are always level.

  • Mix Carefully – Most recipes explain exactly how and in what order to mix ingredients together. Follow the step by step instructions that the recipe illustrates. You can’t just mix all the ingredients together at once. Follow the recipe to the letter and you won’t run into any problems.

  • Know Your Pans, Oven, and How to Cool Your Cakes - The baking process for any recipe is very important. Having the correct size pan, accurate oven temperature, a time-table for baking, and the correct cooling time after baking is necessary (most cakes should cool in the pan for 10 minutes before trying to remove them). This can vary by recipe, so make sure you follow the cooling instructions.

I’ll be adding many more cooking and baking tips on a regular basis, as well as tried and true, delicious recipes, so check in daily for more techniques on how to become a Star at baking!


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