7 Simple Baking Tips for Perfect Pastry
Improve your techniques with our top 7 baking tips and tricks. Some of these baking tips may seem a little ‘Captain Obvious‘, but these tried and true methods will help you turn out amazing treats, every time! Bake your best, improve your skills and pass it on. Enjoy!
1. Rubbing butter in
If you wish to make pastry, it is essential that the butter is well chilled before you begin to rub it into the flour. Rubbing butter in by hand takes little effort and is the best way of controlling the end result, since using a food mixer for this task can often result in overprocessing.
1. Use only your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. This little trick prevents the mixture from overheating.
2. For simple pastry, the finished result should have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Using ice-cold water
Using cold water, or even ice water, to bind pastry together is a simple way to achieve better results. Ice water prevents the fats in the pastry from breaking down, which would leave the pastry crumbly and difficult to handle when rolling out.
Rising in the refrigerator
Certain baked goods, such as cinnamon rolls, are better served fresh for breakfast, but they are too time-consuming to prepare on the spot. Plan ahead and allow the second rising to happen in the refrigerator overnight. Just be sure to bring the rolls to room temperature before baking as usual.
4. Using butter in danish pastry
Most recipes for danish pastry call for the butter to be rolled out between pieces of parchment paper before incorporating it into the dough. However, this is a sticky and time-consuming process. For a simple, fuss-free result, try cutting well-chilled butter into slices and laying them directly onto the pastry. Keep the butter in the refrigerator until it is time to use it to ensure it is well chilled and firm. Cut it into equal-sized slices. Lay the slices of butter evenly on one half of the pastry, making sure you leave a small border all around. Fold the other half of the dough over the butter, pressing the edges together to seal it in. Flour the dough well and roll it out into
A rectangle ⁄8in (1cm) thick, before folding and chilling it as required.
5. How to make quick flaky pastry
Making a classic flaky pastry involves a time-consuming process of layering the butter over the dough, then folding, rolling, and chilling it numerous times for the lightest, flakiest result. Although this traditional method makes a fine pastry, when time is short it is possible to adopt this simple and speedy alternative, which produces pleasing results and is a lot less messy, too.
6. How to make a chewier meringue
There are times when a crisp meringue is called for, and others when a chewier result is what is required. To give your meringue a chewier finish, gently fold a teaspoon each of cornstarch and white-wine vinegar into the mixture before cooking.
7. How to clean a bowl for use with egg whites
Whisking egg whites can be a difficult process—even the smallest amount of shell or egg yolk in the bowl can cause the whites to resist your efforts to bring them to soft or stiff peaks. For perfect results every time, go through the following procedure. First of all, ensure that the bowl is perfectly clean, free of any greasy or dusty residue. Next, rub the inside of the bowl with the cut side of a lemon or a little white vinegar, then wipe it dry with a paper towel before beginning to whisk the egg whites.