Top 10 Baking tips

Quick fixes for cookies

If your cookies go flat, first try chilling them. You can also add extra spoon or spoons of flour so it hold the structure of cookie. Lastly, baking paper helps them stay in the place and doesn't let em spread to much. If your Cookies burns from bottom while it is still runny in the middle. Reduce oven temperature or/and bake cookies on top shelf. You need to judge here what works best for you. If you want soft cookies, take out cookie as soon as sides turn brown and center is just set. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Yes! Don't forget to chill dough for soft centres. For chewy crispy cookie use more brown sugar and butter in a recipe. Brown sugar caramelise and make em crispy. Extra butter helps them spread more.

Don’t open the oven.

If you open up the oven during baking, you’ll let out all the good hot, steamy air. The change in temperature can possibly cause the cheesecake to fall in the middle or bake unevenly.

Blend Different Flours Together

Just as with alternative sweeteners, it is best to use more than one flour when making gluten-free baked goods.  It helps prevent just one flavor or texture from dominating the final product and also helps with texture. I tend to use about 1/2 sweet brown rice and then make up the rest with whatever flours I have on hand (typically that's buckwheat, brown rice, amaranth, and millet.) I really do love using homemade oat flour in almost all of my gluten-free baking, however, due to the lovely flavor and texture it adds.

Bounce-Back Test

You can determine if a cake is done by testing with a toothpick. Stick a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s cooked through. But let me tell you what I do instead. And you don’t need to waste time and fumble around for a toothpick: Remove the cake from the oven or leave it in, your choice. Gently press down on the cake. If the cake bounces back completely, it’s done. If your finger left a dent in the cake, it needs more time. So easy. I always do this! This little trick can be used on muffins and cupcakes as well.

Don’t have a rolling pin? Use a wine bottle in a pinch.

Simply sandwich your dough between sheets of plastic wrap and use a wine bottle to roll out your dough. (via Real Simple)

Try The Autolyse Technique

To autolyse in baking means to soak your flour in water before adding the rest of the ingredients. This allows the water to activate the flour, so that enzymes get to work, and gluten starts forming early. This has a wonderful effect on the extensibility of the dough – it gets very soft and easy to work with and stretch. This also helps the crust rise in the oven – you get a more pronounced crust with an autolyse. Overall it has better texture and flavor because you don’t have to knead the dough as much, which can damage pigments in the dough. How to do it? Simply add your flour and water for 30-60 minutes before the rest of your ingredients. I did a test of the technique so you can see the results in Autolyse Pizza Dough: Testing The Technique.

Get A Pizza Stone Or Even Better – A Pizza Steel

A home oven isn’t designed so well for cooking pizza as it isn’t hot enough and doesn’t have a hot surface to cook pizza on. That’s where a pizza stone comes in – it mimics the effects of a traditional pizza oven by turning into a red hot surface to cook pizza. The stone also draws moisture away to make the crust crispy, much like the bricks would in a brick oven. The result is a pizza with a delicious crispy base. Often when you cook on a cold, thin, baking sheet you will end up with a doughy, undercooked pizza so this problem is fixed with the stone. A newer invention is the pizza steel. This is a quarter inch thick piece of steel which works the same way as a pizza stone. Except the steel conducts heat better so it heats up faster, and then transfers more heat to the pizza, making it crispier and cooking faster. An added bonus is that they don’t crack from thermal shock. They are slightly more expensive but will last a lifetime. I have this pizza steel and can fully recommend it (click to see on Amazon). If you’d rather get something a bit cheaper, then at least get a pizza stone made of cordierite like this one from Amazon. It is less likely to crack like other pizza stones. See all the essential tools I recommend on my pizza equipment list guide.

Add Starch to the Mix

This is one tip I share with hesitancy.  I personally almost never use starches in my baking since we deal with digestive issues (including gut dysbiosis, which is just too much bad bacteria and not enough good.) Anyway, most gluten free baking "connoisseurs" recommending using a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of starch to whole grain when baking to give the baked goods a fluffy texture reminiscent of baking with all purpose flour. For me, our intestinal health is more important than having the perfect baked good around so I prefer to bake only using whole grains. The only exception is when I am baking cupcakes or cakes, particularly when making them for others and the "sagging in the middle" thing is a concern.  Then I will go "light" on the starch and maybe use a 1:3 ratio of whole grain to starch.

Use A Starter

Using a starter will improve the depth of flavor and aroma in your pizzas which you can’t achieve by the standard fermentation process. It also means you don’t need to bulk ferment your dough before it is balled. A starter can be called a preferment or sponge and is a mixture of flour, water and yeast that has fermented before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Biga and poolish are Italian and French terms for starters that have different quantities of water and use bakers yeast. Sourdough starter is a longer process and uses natural yeast from the air. Try using a biga in your recipes. You will need 100% flour, 60% water and 0.25% yeast which is mixed and left at room temperature for 18 hours – adjust your recipe for the extra yeast and hydration.

Allow to Cool Completely in Pan

This sounds like a no-brainer, but we’re often in a rush– myself included. Assembling and/or decorating cakes before they’re completely cool is literally a recipe for disaster. The flavor hasn’t settled and the frosting will melt. Some bakers may disagree, but I always cool my cakes completely inside the pans. I do the same for cupcakes, quick breads, and more. Place the pan on a wire rack and leave it alone until completely cool. If I’m in a rush, sometimes I’ll place the rack and pan in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. If I’m in a major rush, I cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes. Then I remove it from the pan and place it on a baking sheet inside the freezer for about 45 more minutes. Depending on the size of the cake, it’s completely cool in a little over 1 hour.