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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baking Class

Sunday I will be teaching a class on baking.  For many people baking means using a mix. Those are fine and they do usually come out pretty good. I sometimes will use them  But once you learn how to make anything from scratch, you build your confidence and learn techniques that you can use and adapt. I find that my cakes, breads and cheesecakes that I make are more moist and stay fresh longer than a mix. Here are some tips that will help you be a better baker.

1. Always have your ingredients at room temperature. Butter, eggs and even milk will do better if they are not cold.  The batter will be easier to mix and you will avoid over mixing.

2. Measure exactly. In baking you are a chemist!  Do not guess on your measurements.  The ratio of flour, sugar, and leaving agents to the wet ingredients is what makes a great cake.

3. Do not over mix.  This is crucial in muffins and quick breads. You do not want to develop gluten stands or the item will be tough.  Likewise if the recipe tells you to mix for a certain time do that.  In some cakes the mixing adds air and will make the item lighter.  Follow the directions.

4. Test your oven for proper temperature.  All ovens vary. Learn how you oven cooks - does it have a hot spot/  Is the oven calibrated correctly.  - Most are not. Use an oven thermometer to check and adjust accordingly.

5. Pans - read the recipe. If is say to grease then do it.  (I use BakeKlean. It is a fabulous product.)  If needed use parchments paper as directed.

6. Time - not all ovens cook the same nor do all altitude and weather conditions.  All will affect how your item bakes.  Baking times will vary with the same recipe and the same oven due to the weather. So watch the time.

This sounds like a lot.  But it will easier than you think.  So get baking!!