When prompted, line your baking pans and sheets with parchment paper or with silicone baking mats to make it easier to remove your baked good without sticking or breaking apart. It also helps avoid a major clean up. Low carb sweeteners do tend to stick. To prevent ruining your desserts, I highly recommend parchment over greasing pans.
Even though you set your oven at a certain temperature, it doesn’t always mean that it’s completely accurate. Between the calibration of the oven, altitudes, and simply opening and closing the oven door, the internal temperature of an oven can fluctuate. I would recommend investing in an oven thermometer and use this baking tool as a temperature reference. It could mean the difference between perfectly moist muffins and dry, overly browned door stops. We also have a full guide for all the must have tools for the low carb baker.
I can’t say this enough. ALWAYS read your recipe from start to finish before going out to buy your ingredients. From personal experience, I can tell you what a pain it is when you’ve arrived home and are halfway through the recipe and realize you don’t have all the ingredients you need. Low carb and gluten-free baking different from traditional baking in many many ways. There are often important steps, tips, or notes that need to be followed to ensure the baked goods come out perfect every time. I don’t tell you my life story in my blog post (you’re welcome!), but I do give you every single tip and trick I used, so your results mimic mine.
Since there are so many carbs in recipes that use flour (gluten), lots of low-carb and keto recipes use other types of flour such as almond flour. That’s why pretty much all keto-friendly recipes are gluten-free. Because you are using flours that have zero gluten in them, you need some binder to really hold your baked goods together- and that’s where xanthan gum comes in. It mimics gluten most wonderfully! Xanthan gum holds all the ingredients together and makes the dough gummy and sticky. If you try to bake without it (or another xanthan gum substitute), your recipe is just going to fall apart. We have a full guide on Xanthan gum with a list of possible substitutes if you don’t have any on hand.
This is actually one of the most important baking tips many low carb bakers tend to skip, but it can actually make or break your low carb baked goods. Low carb ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, and powdered sweeteners tend to lump. If you do not sift, those lumps will remain present in your final baked goods. When lumps present themselves in the dough, it is easy to over blend to incorporate them. This is why low carb baked goods sometimes turn out heavy and dense. The second reason why you want to sift all your dry ingredients is air. When we sift, we lighten the ingredients and add a bit of air. This tiny bit of air helps the leavening agents do their job and part of what creates lift and rise in low carb baked goods. Always sift after measuring out your dry ingredients.
Nothing beats good vanilla, high-end cocoa powder, or even fresh spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. When the flavor is high quality or fresh, it shines through to the result.
If you have the budget and can purchase higher quality ingredients, I would say go for it. Everything down to the type of butter, milk, or sweetener you use can affect your dessert’s flavor and outcome. We created a low carb bakers pantry list to give you an idea of some of the ingredients and brands we use in our test kitchen.
Spoon and sweep! What does this mean? North American recipes are usually based on volumes, measured with standardized measuring cups. If you press down into the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, etc., you’ll compress it and end up with too much. When you fill a measuring cup with spooned ingredients and then sweep off the excess, you get the right amount. Always spoon and sweep!
If you are working with a particular dough or sticky ingredient, lightly wet your hand to allow you to work with what’s in front of you. That way, you can shape or work with your sticky food! You can also use a piece of parchment paper as a barrier between your hands and the sticky dough; this works incredibly well.
Don’t have a muffin tin? This is a perfect alternative. (via The Kitchn) Now, if you don’t have cupcake liners, stay tuned for one of our baking tips and tricks coming up below.