If you are like me, when you decide to bake, you don't always feel like reading the fine print. But to make the best baked goods it is important to know your recipe. Below you will find some tips to make your baking experience a great one!
Read before you bake – It helps if you are baking a recipe for the first time to thoroughly read through the recipe so that you understand all the steps, and have all of your tools, pans and ingredients lined up. Otherwise, you may end up halfway through your recipe, only to realize that you have to run next door for your missing ingredient!
Bake with the finest ingredients – Your desserts will only be as tasteful as the ingredients that go into making them. Using only pure cane Domino® Sugar (of course!) and the freshest ingredients for dairy, such as eggs, butter or milk, as well as fresh fruits and spices, will give you the best results.
Room temperature – Remember to bring refrigerated items like butter, eggs, and cream cheese to room temperature before you start to assemble your recipes. Average indoor room temperature is usually 68 to 77°F (20 to 25°C), so adjust according to any weather related extremes. A good idea is to take those ingredients out of the refrigerator at least a of couple hours before you plan to bake. If you forgot to take the eggs out, and you need to use them right away, take the chill out by dipping them in a bowl of warm water. For butter, cut into chunks, and at room temperature, it will soften in about 15 minutes.
Measure accurately – Be certain that your measurements are accurate and consistent. Use metal or plastic measuring cups for dry ingredients, and glass or clear plastic for liquids. Use calibrated measuring spoons – not table utensils – to measure dry ingredients.
Fluff up flour or confectioners' sugar – Before you spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, use a fork to fluff up the flour. Then level it in the measuring cup with a butter knife. Also fluff confectioners' sugar before you spoon into a measuring cup.How to pack brown sugar – To firmly pack brown sugar into your measuring cup, as the cup fills, press the sugar down firmly with a spoon or your fingers, and then level off with a butter knife or with the top of a flat spatula. The brown sugar should just hold its shape when turned out of the cup.
Mix it right – Dry ingredients should be combined together thoroughly in one bowl before you combine them with liquids.
Gentle with pie crust and other pastry dough – After you add liquid to the dough, handle it gently and use only a dusting of flour on the rolling pin or counter. Too much handling and/or flour results in a tough pie crust. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes makes it easier to handle. Use as few firm strokes as possible when rolling.
The right pan size – Always use the pan size called for in a recipe to avoid burning or over brimming when baking. To calculate the pan’s width, measure across the top from inside edge to inside edge.
Always bake at the correct temperature – Be sure to accurately preheat the oven. Then closely monitor the oven thermometer to maintain a consistent temperature. Try not to open the oven door; use the oven light instead to check on your baking. If you have opened the oven door, you may need to increase the baking time.
Let the air circulate – When you place your pans in the oven, place them in the middle of the center oven rack to allow for air circulation.
Is it done yet? – To be certain if your baked item is done, carefully insert a cake tester or wooden toothpick into the middle of the dessert. Be careful not to insert it into any moist ingredient like jam or jelly. Your dessert is ready to enjoy when the tester comes out clean.
Cool it – Just because it’s out of the oven doesn’t mean you’re done. Cooling time is also key to your end result. Some recipes call to cool completely on a wire rack. This is important, because if you leave the item in the pan, the heat from the pan will continue to bake it to the point where it gets overdone.
Adapted from Domino Sugar