Top 10 Baking tips

Keep all your chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom by coating them in flour first.

If you are baking with chocolate chips, you may notice that they all seem to sink to the bottom. Well, to keep them from sinking, you can coat them in flour first. This hack also works for chopped up nuts and other baking add-ins. (via Cake Whiz)

Start Using Semolina On Your Base

This is a game changer in the war of trying to not get your pizza stuck to everything when assembling it – the worktop, the peel, the stone. You should make a mound of a 50/50 mix of semolina and flour and drop your pizza dough in it when you start to stretch it out. Then sprinkle a thin dusting on your peel before placing the pizza on top. The semolina is better than just flour as it acts like small ball bearings when moving the dough around. This ensures it doesn’t stick to anything and you have no more worries. It also adds a nice texture and flavor to the base. Just make sure you add some flour to the mix, as straight semolina is a bit coarse.

Cake Flour

The more cake baking experience I have, the more often I reach for cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. You see, cake flour is a low protein flour that’s finely milled into a delicate consistency. This soft, tender texture directly translates into your baked cake. However, some recipes simply cannot withstand fine cake flour. Chocolate cake, for example, already has cocoa powder— which is a VERY fine dry ingredient. In my experience, the combination of cake flour and cocoa powder results in a flimsy chocolate cake. Likewise, spice cake, carrot cake, hummingbird cake, and banana cake contain additional wet ingredients (the fruits or veggies), so cake flour usually isn’t ideal. These days, I stick to cake flour when making vanilla cake, white cake, red velvet cake, and other cakes where a fluffy texture is favorable. I’ve been successful substituting cake flour for all-purpose flour to create softer pineapple upside-down cake and funfetti cake. Make a 1:1 substitution with no other changes to the recipe. I’m not being paid to type this, but Swans Down and Softasilk are my preferred cake flour brands. I use unbleached when I can find it, otherwise I just stick with bleached. Both brands provide consistent quality results for a good price. You can find cake flour in the baking aisle next to the all-purpose flour. If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute.

Don’t Stretch Cold Dough

If you take dough straight out of the fridge its coldness makes the gluten contract and the dough tighten. This makes it very hard to stretch as it springs back to the ball every time you try. I’ve found I get other unwanted affects with cold dough too. When placed in the oven, the crust tends to spring up too much, creating an overly large crust when I’ve aimed for a thin crust pizza. To avoid this, take the dough from the fridge and form into balls. Then leave them covered on the worktop for at least an hour. Two hours is best if your kitchen is on the cold side.

Don’t Over-mix, Don’t Under-mix

Whether a recipe calls for mixing batter with an electric mixer or simply using a whisk, make sure you’re mixing the cake batter together just until the ingredients are combined. Over-mixing batter, whether that’s for cakes, cupcakes, breads, muffins, etc, lends a tough-textured baked good because you’re deflating all the air and over-developing the gluten. Don’t turn on the mixer then leave the room! Likewise, don’t under-mix. Obviously we want all of the ingredients incorporated together.

Use mason jar lids to hold cupcake liners

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.

Bake one batch at a time.

Concentrate on one batch at one time. Cookie burn quickly, ovens have hot spot so baking one batch at a time gives best results. If you have to bake lots of cookies and try than rotating trays can help you achieve even browning of all cookies.

Avoid the mess and easily fill up your piping bag using a cup.

It can get messy when you are filling up a pastry bag with icing because it can stick to the sides and you end up wasting some of it. Instead, use a cup to easily fill your pastry bag every time. (via Creations by Kara)

Use Parchment Paper Rounds

First, make sure you have quality cake pans. From one baker to another– I swear by Fat Daddio’s cake pans. Incredible quality for the price. I’m not working with this brand, I’m just a genuine fan. No matter what size or brand cake pan you use, make sure you prepare it appropriately. These days I ALWAYS use parchment paper rounds. Trace the bottom of the cake pans(s) on a large piece of parchment paper. Cut out the parchment circle(s). Then, very lightly grease the cake pans with butter or nonstick spray. I usually use coconut oil nonstick spray or “baking spray” which has a little flour in it. Place the parchment round inside, then grease the parchment round too. Yes, grease the pan AND the parchment. This promises an ultra non-stick environment for your cake. Never any sticking. I usually keep a stack of parchment rounds on hand just in case I’m in a rush to get a cake in the oven. When the cake has cooled, run a thin knife around the edge, invert the cake on your hand or work surface, then pull off the cake pan. Peel off the parchment round. If you’re serving the cake right out of the pan, such as a sheet cake, no need to line with parchment. (Though you certainly could if desired.) Just grease the pan.

Don’t Open the Oven

Don’t open the oven 25 times as the cake bakes. This lets in cool air and the drastic temperature change causes the rising cake to sink. (Temperature change is the same reason cheesecake can develop cracks. See How to Prevent Cracks in Cheesecake.) Rather, follow the baking time in the recipe and check the cake one or two times for doneness. (Next tip.) It’s also wonderfully helpful to own an oven thermometer. Unless you have a new or regularly calibrated oven, your oven’s temperature is likely inaccurate. When you set your oven to 350°F, it might not be 350°F inside. An inaccurate oven can ruin your baked goods. The inexpensive remedy is an oven thermometer. While cheap, they are totally irreplaceable in a baker’s kitchen. Place it in your oven so you always know the actual temperature. Also, if you use a convection oven, always reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. It’s best to reduce the baking time as well– for cookies, it’s around 1 minute less. For cakes, cupcakes, bread, brownies, bars, etc (items with longer bake times), it’s usually reduced around 5 or so minutes. My recipes are written for conventional ovens.