7 Small Baking Tips That Make a Big Difference
Some people throw their hands up and say, “I can't bake!”, but these simple baking tips and time savers may change your mind. The primary goal in my kitchen is easy and tasty, with quality ingredients. A reader said I remind them of their grandmother, and I'm okay with that. Baking should be all about home and comfort.
1. Use separate bowls for cracking eggs
Even seasoned bakers get the occasional piece of eggshell in their cracked egg, or manage to damage the yolk while cracking it. It is therefore good practice to crack your eggs into a separate bowl before you add them to your mix. This is also a good defense against any rogue rotten eggs that might be hiding in your fridge. If you plan to separate your eggs, it is an even better idea to have one bowl for the cracked egg, and then an additional two for the white and the yolk. This way, if you should happen to break one of the yolks while separating it, it only affects the egg in question. This is especially important if you plan on whisking the egg whites into peaks, as any fat from the yolk will prevent the whites from transforming effectively.
2. Separate eggs with a soda bottle
There seems to be as many techniques for separating eggs as there are bakers. So here is my favorite technique to add to the list! First, crack the egg onto a plate or into a bowl. Take an empty plastic soda bottle, squeeze it a little to compress it, and hold it over the egg yolk. Release the pressure in the bottle to create a vacuum, and the yolk will be sucked up into the bottle, leaving the whites behind. You can then squeeze the bottle again to release the yolk. Not only is this method effective, but it looks really cool too!
3. Use wet hands when handling rye flour dough
Taking the step up from wheat bread to rye? It can be very rewarding to bake, and is a nutritional powerhouse, especially if you use wholegrain flour. One problem however is that it very sticky, and can be difficult to handle. The best solution to this is to wet your hands and tools with cold water, before handling the dough. This will allow it to slide off them with ease, and make leveling out the dough in its form a breeze.
4. Chill your pastry and cookie doughs
Once you have mixed up your pastry dough, wrap it in plastic and let it rest in the fridge until it has cooled. This will make it much easier to roll out, allow you to create better fluting or other fancy designs, and can also help prevent it puffing up while blind baking. By doing the same with cookie dough, your cookies are more likely to hold together when baking in the oven, preventing them from spreading too much.
5. Flexible Straws and Ziploc Storage Bags for Cupcakes
To fill a cupcake with cream, let the cupcake cool and insert one end of a Glad Flexible Straw into the middle of the top of the cupcake to create a hole. Fill a Ziploc Storage Bag with vanilla frosting and seal the bag shut. Using a pair of scissors, snip off one of the bottom corners of the plastic bag and pipe the frosting through the straw into the center of the cupcake. Cover the top of the cupcake with frosting to cover up the hole.
6. Milk Chocolate Bar and Wrap
To create quick icing for homemade cupcakes, the moment you remove the cupcakes from the oven, place a piece of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar on top of each cupcake and cover with a piece of Reynolds Wrap. After the chocolate melts, spread the chocolate icing with a butter knife.
7. Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.
To frost cupcakes with ease, two minutes before removing the pan of cupcakes from the oven, place a Jet-Puffed Marshmallow on top of each cupcake. The heat melts the marshmallows, creating creamy icing.