Top 10 Baking tips

Get The Right Pizza Peel

I bought a metal peel first, which caused me some problems with sticking for a while. Then I bought a wooden one and never had the problem once. The metal peel tends to get moisture from the condensing dough, while the wooden peel absorbs it. So go for a wooden peel if you are a beginner. A metal peel comes in handy for retrieving the pizza once cooked, as the thinner edge can get under the pizza better than 1cm of wood. So if you can afford both then I would recommend it.

Use a toothpick to create a guide before writing on a cake.

We’ve all been there. You are piping “Happy Birthday” on a cake and it’s all going well until you realize you don’t have room to fit the whole word or it is going to be off center! Save yourself the hassle and trace where each letter goes using a toothpick. (via Lauren Conrad)

Use a little flour or cornstarch.

I am a believer that a little flour makes a difference in a cheesecake. The starch prevents the egg proteins from over-coagulating, giving you a creamier texture and helping you prevent any cracks. If you are looking for a gluten free alternative, cornstarch will work too. Use half as much cornstarch as you would flour.

Learn To Use A Peel Properly

If you’re using a pizza stone or wood fired oven then you need a way to get the raw pizza into the oven. The best way is a pizza peel, and these can now be bought very cheaply online. There is a specific technique to getting it right, as it can often stick or you can flop the edge of the pizza over the stone. Make sure to use semolina and flour on the peel itself, and follow some tips on how to use it. There are some videos and images in my postHow To Use A Pizza Peel Properly: No More Sticking.

Use a cookie cutter as a sprinkles stencil to decorate your cake like a pro.

There’s something very special and thoughtful about a homemade birthday cake, but the decorating can be tricky. This hack makes in a breeze, though! The cookie cutter acts as a stencil to create whatever shape or number you’d like. Then, if you want to make sure it stays put, you can spray it with warm sugar water to set it in place. (via Reddit)

Add some sour cream.

While this one doesn’t necessarily ensure your cheesecake bakes properly, I do think the added tangy flavor and creamy texture helps to give you that perfect cheesecake. If you absolutely must substitute it, greek yogurt is fine but the flavor is definitely a little different.

Adding cocoa powder

If you want to turn a plain flour cookie into cocoa cookie just reduce flour and add equal amount of cocoa. For an instance, if you wish to change 3 cup flour cookies recipe to chocolate cookies. So will add ¾ cup cocoa powder and use 2 ¼ cup flour. You might need to make more adjustment but this is a good place to start and develop a new recipe.

BONUS TIP – Time Saver

I NEVER remember to take the cream cheese out of the fridge in time. The quickest way to bring it up to room temperature is by defrosting it in the microwave! Yes, I know it’s not “frozen”, but the defrost setting warms up the cream cheese VERY gently and slowly. Yet again – low and slow.

  • Don’t use the quick defrost setting though, which is too intense. Auto defrost for meat is perfect.
  • I let it run for 2 minutes at a time. The cream cheese usually needs 2 sessions of minutes each to reach room temperature.
  • If you can press your finger in to the cream cheese with ease, then it’s ready. Obviously feel the temperature of the cream cheese as well. If you can’t really feel it, it means it should be around body temperature which is perfect. If your eggs are cold too, simply place them in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Tada!

Slowly Proof Your Dough In The Refrigerator

This is the most important step in creating good pizza. By lowering the temperature of the dough, the fermentation process is slowed down allowing it to develop the flavor and texture it needs, without over proofing. The yeast can now break down more of the starches in the dough. This improves the texture by making it tender, lighter and with a crust with larger holes. The flavor greatly improves as this process produces lots of byproducts which add to the depth of flavor. After kneading, let the dough rest at room temperature for an hour before moving to the fridge to ferment in bulk. Cut 220g pieces off when you need it, then ball them up on the worktop and rest for an hour to warm up before stretching or rolling out. A minimum time the dough should ferment is 24 hours to see big benefits. It improves over the next 1-2 days, before starting to over proof. If overnight is all you can do, then that is better than nothing. Once you start using this technique, if you ever go back to ‘one hour’ proofing times like most recipes will tell you, you will see how this is such bad instructions!

Mise En Place – Measure all your ingredients before you start baking.

I am a firm believer in mise en place baking. Mise en place means cooking and baking like a pro. It’s a French cooking term that translates to ‘put in place”. When you measure your ingredients ahead of time and prep, you uncover problems well before you even start baking. When steps in a recipe require quick additions or temperature measurements (like with candy or cooked allulose), having your ingredients ready will ensure that the recipe is perfect. How many times have you started a recipe only to discover halfway through you are out of cream, butter, or salt! Or the vanilla isn’t where it is supposed to be, and while you hunt your kitchen, your allulose is over-browning, and your egg whites are going flat. And we all know how expensive low carb ingredients are to buy. It’s absolutely no fun to bake up a cake only to realize you forgot the melted butter in the microwave or forgot to add the vanilla. The solution – mise en place!