Baking 101

Baking is all about following the recipe.

The joy of sinking your teeth into a lovely slice of cake or a crisp cookie is unparalleled. Especially, when you have baked these yourself. But, a good baker always has to bear a few pointers in mind. When it comes to baking, precision matters a lot. Here are a few baking hacks that can go a long way in making your cakes and cookies drool-worthy:

* Invest in a good kitchen scale, thermometer and oven. Baking doesn’t encourage creative liberties with both the measure or temperature.

* Read the recipe thoroughly before you start. Make sure you have all the ingredients in the right measure.

* Never ever use substitutes for any of the ingredients. For instance, using soy milk instead of dairy milk will not give the same result, as also using artificial sweeteners or honey in place of granulated white sugar.

* If a recipe has liquid measures in weight instead of volume, follow the same. In fact, measures mentioned in weight are more accurate than volumes.

* Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Take the butter and eggs out of the fridge hours before you plan to bake.

* Egg whites have to be whipped in a clean bowl as even a little amount of fat or yolk can pose a problem.

* Butter and sugar need to be creamed together leisurely as the fat in butter holds air, and when whipped, expands, resulting in fluffy cakes.

* If the recipe calls for double-boiling the chocolate, never use plastic or non-stick ware for the same. Use only glass and metalware.

* Always use fresh ingredients. A simple trick to check the freshness of baking powder is to pour some boiling water over it — if it bubbles, then it’s good to be used. Similarly, dissolve yeast in warm water to see if it bubbles; if it does, then it’s safe to be used.

* Always add a pinch of salt to your baking batter. It works as a taste enhancer.

* If the recipe calls for fruits, try and use seasonal ones as they impart a fresh flavour to baked goodies that no canned fruit can.

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Baking 101

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