The irony of that subject line….because I am not a professional anything, let alone a baker! Sure, I’d like to think that hours behind the oven, staring at rising biscuits formed by my grandfather (with my supervision of course) might induct me into some kind of secret baking knowledge group or hall of fame. But alas, I am a normal person who scours the web for fabulous recipes and reads up on baking tips from the likes of Joy the Baker, Pioneer Woman, and many more. So today, I am passing along my research to you!
Before the pour, measure! Many bakers, cooks, and all of the above know this as “mise en place,” which, in French, means “putting in place.” When you review the recipe, pre measure and prepare all ingredients in separate bowls. This way, as you move through preparing your meal or special treat, you can add just the right amount at just the right time!
Ideal temp is room temp. Ingredients tend to mix better together when they are “chill in” together (i.e. outside of the fridge!) Specifically the dairy products (think milk, butter and eggs) play together with more ease when they’ve already warmed up to one another.
Keep it in the (ingredient) family. Until the recipe calls for more specific instructions, keep dry ingredients with dry and wet ingredients with wet. This allows for even dispersement of all flavors and simple mixing when the time comes for one big bowl of goodness!
Split it up. If you’re making cookies or biscuits, work the dough in two halves to keep it moist and baking friendly. (Continuos handling of the dough will quickly dry it out!)
Don’t skimp on the good stuff. Light calorie “spreads” or tub butter do not adequately grease the pan for baking. Choose parchment paper or a metal baking sheet lined with coconut oil spray or shortening for optimal results.
One sheet at a time. Use caution when baking multiple batches at once. Too many ingredients can cool off the oven, causing uneven baking. If you have a smaller oven, consider one baking sheet at a time, making sure you allow enough time for the sheet to cool before piling it up with more dough for round two!
Let ’em cool! I’ve learned this lesson the hard way (more than once). Cookies are their best when allowed to chill off the pan and on a baking rack. Sometimes, baking sheets hold so much heat that some extra baking time transfers over unintentionally. Invest in a baking rack and make it simple by transferring parchment paper to the rack – thereby avoiding the dreaded “cookie crumble” that can occur moving one cookie at a time!
And as always, enjoy. Baking is not about perfection. It’s about connection. See for me, food means family. And without a doubt, the great baking moments happen alongside them…
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