8 Baking Tips & Tricks
Follow these pro tips from pastry chefs across the country for better at-home baking. Let's say you were (lucky enough) to be in a room with the nation's top pastry chefs. What would you ask them? If they would follow you home and bake you a cake? Absolutely. But you'd probably also want to find out a secret or two. Like maybe their top baking tip? Well, we've asked them for you. Read on to learn the secrets of the pros.
1. Cold Concoctions
When using extracts for cooking, add them when your mixture is cold. If added when the mixture is hot, some flavor may be lost due to evaporation.
2. Pack It In
Brown sugar should be measured by packing it in a dry-cup measure, whether specified or not. With brown sugar, packing is always assumed.
3. Trade-Off Cakes
Missing the right size cake pan? Two 8-inch square baking pans will work instead of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
4. No Peeking
Don’t open the oven door while your desserts are baking. Each peek lets out 20% or more of the heat.
5. Repurposed Tools
A chopstick or broken kitchen tool handle can be stored in the flour container as a measuring cup level. This prevents dirtying another utensil each time.
6. Cool Off
Run out of cooling rack space for pies? Use an upside-down muffin pan as an extra cooling rack. The middle space between molds allows free airflow.
7. Parchment Pointer
When rolling piecrust, place dough between 2 sheets of parchment or waxed paper. This avoids the flour mess and makes for a more tender crust.
8. True Trifecta
Chocolate, vanilla, and salt are made for each other. Use vanilla to give chocolate a smooth taste, and salt to enhance the chocolate taste and balance the natural sweetness.