Baking Tips for Better Cakes and Pastries
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Published by TOP4 Team
When it comes to baking, we play by the rules. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional pastry chef or home cook, as accuracy is everything. Baking is a science that requires precision and often doesn't allow for creative liberties. But once you've got the right tools and knowledge to work with, it's easy to whip up deliciously perfect desserts. Consider these tips on how you can make better cakes and pastries.
Decide what you like to bake.
You won't have enough time in a day to bake a lot of items, so you should be selective. Making pastries tend to take more effort and skills than making cakes, so if you're a novice, start with cakes and work your way towards making pastries.
Use room-temperature ingredients.
One thing that can spoil baked goods is butter that's not at the right temperature. Bright yellow butter is a good indicator that it's warmer than room temperature, as is texture — it should give but not cave when you touch it. On the other hand, many recipes call for tempering a hot ingredient with a cooler one, as it ensures that the emulsion won’t seize or separate.
Invest in quality bakeware.
Low-quality bakeware like flimsy, thin pans and sheet rays won’t conduct heat efficiently, causing your cake, pie, cookies, or pastries to bake inefficiently.
Baking success means being able to eliminate as much potential for error as possible, and that means making sure your measurements are exact. A cup of flour measured in volume, for example, can vary as much as five ounces — an amount that can mean the difference between buttery and flaky — as well as dense and cakey.
Take your time to fully complete each step.
Pay special attention to key instructions like "cream until light and fluffy", "mix until just combined" and "fold in gently". Overmixing develops gluten and deflates the air pockets you worked so hard to create, as does a vigorous or overzealous folding motion. About sifting ingredients: Unless it's ultralight, ultra-delicate cake flour, or powdered sugar that needs as much aeration as it can get, it's a step you can skip.
Make your own experiment.
Once you get the hang of a recipe or type of dessert, you can start finding little ways to make it better. At the end of the day, it takes a little experimentation to find out what tricks and shortcuts that work best for you — so grab your whisks and remember to have a little fun.
To have an inspiration for your first (or next) baking project, consider visiting the best cake and pastry shops in Australia today.