The do's & don'ts of baking
Ever wonder why your baking treats never work out?! Or even worse – when they ‘sometimes’ work and other times don’t? We have the top tips on what to do and what not to do
Cream your ‘sweet & oil’ component first
No matter whether you’re using coconut sugar, honey, rice malt or maple syrup.. always beat together your oil component [ coconut oil / ghee / grape seed oil ] and your sweetener component first. Not only does this dissolve and immerse your sweetener into the batter evenly, but it also starts off a light & fluffy batter because you’re beating air into the mixture.
Read the recipe VERY CAREFULLY
Be really mindful of terms bakers use such as, beat, whisk, cream, fold, stir, double-boil etc. There is a reason why they used these words instead of others! Especially when terms such as ‘double-boil’ are used, you should be placing a glass bowl over a saucepan filled with water over the stove as this gradually melts the chocolate without burning it like a microwave or direct heat would do!
Folding is also a big one! Using a spatula, you make a figure of 8 with your utensil, gently folding one element into another. You have to make sure not to over stir a batter when the instructions tell you to ‘fold’ it in because otherwise the batter may lose its ‘lightness’ and fall when baking.
When baking brownies – BEAT THOSE EGGS!
A little brownie crust tip I use is to vigorously beat the eggs within your brownie mixture. By beat, I mean 5-6 minutes worth! This will not only make the egg’s very fluffy and lighter in colour but it gives you that crusty goodness on top of a brownie batter when baked. You can also place your brownie mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes too if you want EXTRA fudgy goodness to occur!
Don’t open that oven door!
A common mistake among so many baking beginners is that they open the oven door to check on their treats too often by opening that oven door to see how it is going. The reason you shouldn’t do this at all is because you are releasing hot air out of the oven and changing the treats heat environment. This is why your cake will start to deflate earlier than the cooling process or why your cake may crack on the top. Always keep that door closed and only open it when time is up to check if it is ready or not. You can do so by tapping your finger on the top and if it ‘springs’ back like a sponge it is ready!
Your meringue or ‘egg whites’ component is contaminated!
An easy error when having to ‘whisk’ egg whites to stiff or soft peaks or make meringue is that your bowl & whisk were not clean enough to begin with! You have to make sure there is absolutely no trace of detergent, water or dirt on your glass bowl or whisk. Wash it just before using, rinse it thoroughly with hot boiling water & dry it with a clean dry tea towel.
You also need to ensure that when ‘separating’ the eggs, NO egg yolk makes its way into the ‘whites’ component. This will also equal a whipped up fail.
Do not cut into that delicious treat too early!
Let it cool. I know it is super hard to resist a yummy treat right out of the oven, with it smelling oh so amazing but patients will pay off! I myself get very impatient when testing a recipe to share and all I want to know is did it work or not! Do I clean up? Or do I make another…
I have actually found many recipes to have a completely different texture right out of the oven then cooled. I actually had an experience last week where I made a fudge cake, and I cut into it way too early and it wasn’t what I wanted. I was disappointed but I didn’t have enough ingredients to make another. Funnily enough, 2 hours later of cooling and icing complete & the cake was absolutely delicious! Better yet – I put it in the refrigerator, which ended up enhancing that dense fudgy flavour, & it has definitely become my favourite cake recipe so far.
I hope these little tricks help you next time you decide to tackle the kitchen & bake some yummy treats for your family & friends!
Humble Wholefoods x.