9 Simple Baking Hacks

Blossom Lady
Mar 26, 2022 12:12 AM
9 Simple Baking Hacks

It is often said that cooking is an art and baking is a science. There is some overlap - you definitely need technical skill in cooking and artistry in baking. But in cooking, you create a dish like a painting, trying it out and adjusting it as you go, while adding your own personal style. When baking, you have to be exact and stick to the recipe or your pies will fall over, your cookies will fall apart, your pie crust will be tough, and so on and so forth. But with these baking tips, you do not have to worry about baking anymore! Most baking mistakes can be easily avoided if you understand the basics, avoid substitutions, and follow a few simple rules.

1. Unsalted butter for everything

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Some recipes call for both unsalted butter and salt. If you come across this instruction, do not try to save time by using salted butter. Unsalted butter is a better choice when baking, and it is much better to control the amount of salt in the recipe itself.

2. Using vanilla beans

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Vanilla beans are an expensive but sometimes essential, luxury when it comes to fine baked goods. If you invest in them, it makes sense to maximize their use. After scraping out the seeds, the part most often needed in baking, you can also put the empty pods to good use.

3. Choosing the right salt

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Different salts taste different. Naturally produced flaky sea salt has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor that is complementary to most sweet baked goods.

4. Grinding nuts for recipes

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Freshly ground whole nuts yield a more intense nutty flavor than store-bought ones. Beware of the method you use, though. The best thing to do is to pulse the nuts in a food processor gradually, until you achieve the desired consistency. Grinding them too quickly will release the oils in the nuts, resulting in a greasy paste.
Nutty crumbs
Grinding your own nuts allows you to control the finished texture, making them perfect for decorating either cakes or cupcakes.
Grind your own
Walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts—you can grind all types of nuts and use them in baking.

5. How to slice a cake perfectly

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Slicing a frosted cake neatly can be a challenge. For perfect results every time, try the following method. Have a cup of hot water ready, and dip your knife into it to heat it slightly. Wipe it dry with a paper towel, then slice the cake. Wipe any crumbs off the knife and repeat the process for each slice.
The perfect slice
Presentation—of both the entire cake and the individual slices—is important, especially after all the effort you have put into baking it.

6. What if? No parchment paper

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Sometimes a recipe might instruct you to line a baking pan with parchment paper. If you do not have any in the house, there is a quick fix. Use good quality aluminum foil instead, either lightly sprayed with baking spray or brushed with melted butter or an unflavored oil.
Better conductor
Be aware that aluminum foil will heat faster and retain heat better than parchment paper. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

7. What if? No buttermilk

9 Simple Baking Hacks
Buttermilk is more readily available in some locations than others. If this product is hard to find in your local supermarket, it is easy enough to make your own. Simply mix 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar into 8fl oz (250ml) milk. Leave it for a few minutes, until it has curdled and thickened slightly, then use it as you would use buttermilk.
Adding acidic content
Fresh lemon juice is the simplest addition, but white vinegar or rice wine vinegar can also be used, if you have either on hand.

8. What if? No baking powder

9 Simple Baking Hacks
As annoying as it is to realize that you have run out of an important ingredient when you want to bake, it is often possible to improvise an alternative. Such is the case with baking powder. If you find yourself without any in the cabinet, combine ½ tsp cream of tartar with ¼ tsp baking soda. This mix can be used as a substitute for 1 tsp baking powder.

9. What if? No self-rising flour

9 Simple Baking Hacks
If you should find yourself without any self-rising flour, here is a handy substitution: simply whisk together 1 cup (4½oz/125g) all-purpose flour with 1½ tsp baking powder.
Beware salt content
In some countries, self-rising flour already contains salt. If you wish, you can add ¼ tsp salt per cup of flour.
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