As the Easter weekend is approaching, you might feel like doing something special. Who doesn't feel like having a fun day baking? You may have visited a lot of sites for the perfect recipe but are you still not getting the confidence to bake? You are not alone my friend. There are many of you who are not aware of the right way to bake a mouth-watering cake. But fret not! We are here to tell you about the common mistakes people make while baking. This will help you brush up your baking skills and make you enjoy Easter 2020 to the fullest.
10 Common Mistakes People Make While Baking
Here is the list of ten baking mistakes people often make:
1. Baking In An Oven Not Yet Preheated
Most often people forget to pre-heat the oven. They straight away place the baked goods and preheat them while in there. No, this messes up with the chemistry of baking and can create a total disaster. Wait until the oven is completely preheated before baking.
2. Not Measuring Ingredients Correctly
Your ingredient measurements have to be precise to get the chemical reactions you need and to score that perfect, consistent result every time. Be it using metric measures with a cup or spoon, or while using a weighing scale to weigh in grams.
3. Opening The Oven Too Often
Opening the oven lets hot air flow out and decreases the temperature of the oven. It could even cause cakes to collapse if you open the oven too often. Unless you're rotating your baked goods or checking for doneness, it's best to observe the baked goods through the window to avoid letting outside air into the oven, which will affect the overall temperature.
4. Your Cake Is Too Dry Or Too Wet
Baking for too long will result in a dry cake, while baking too little can result in a mushy center. If your cake comes out dry, poke some small holes in the top and brush the cake with simple sugar syrup, which will permeate the cake and give it some much-needed moisture. If the outside of your cake appears perfectly baked but the center still looks wobbly, decrease the oven temperature by 20-25 degrees celsius, cover the top of your cake with foil, and continue to cook for a few minutes until a toothpick through the middle comes out clean.
5. The Flour Isn't Incorporating Smoothly
If your batter or dough is taking on an odd texture (lumpy, uneven, too stiff, too runny), then you could have made either of these mistakes-using the wrong amount of flour (measuring it incorrectly) or not sifting the flour and thereby causing it to become lumpy or mix unevenly.
6. Ingredients Are At Wrong Temperature
When a recipe calls for room-temperature butter, milk or eggs, it's important to not bypass the temperature step in order to save time. While it might be tempting to zap your ingredients in the microwave to speed up this process, ultimately that will just result in uneven heat levels and too-high temperatures.
7. Egg Whites Aren't Getting Fluffy
If you've been whipping away at your eggs for some time and they're still not developing any kind of peak, there are a few possible issues to blame. Eggs for whipping should be as fresh as possible and at room temperature; cold eggs are unlikely to whip well. As for your whisk and bowl, both should be completely dry before whipping. Any added water can throw off the chemistry of the eggs and prevent them from hardening.
8. Products Are Not Baking Evenly
The heat within your oven is unlikely to be perfectly distributed throughout, with certain parts of the oven containing hotter pockets of air. Because of this, if your baked goods remain in the same position throughout the baking process, they will most likely bake unevenly. To avoid this, make sure to rotate your goods at least once throughout the baking process to make sure they're being baked evenly.
9. Cakes Are Not Baking With A Flat Top
When making layered or decorated cakes, it's essential that each layer is flat and even. To avoid your cake rising in the center and taking on a domed shape during baking, wrap an even-bake strip or damp towel around the edge of your cake pan, which will prevent the top from rising, and leave you with a smooth, level cake.
10. Cookies Aren't Getting Flat
The secret to a perfectly shaped cookie is the temperature. Cookie dough that's too cold will result in rounder, thicker cookies that won't have a satisfying crunch. However, cookie dough that's too warm can spread too much while baking. Allow your dough to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking, and cook on a tray that is at room temperature, not chilled.
About the author: Chef Michelle Peris is the Senior Pastry Chef at Academy of Pastry & Culinary Arts.
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