They say “practice makes a man perfect” but in baking, we say: Avoid blunders and it’ll make you a flawless baker. Perfection doesn’t come in a week or two. Bakers have to go through a lot of challenges on a daily basis (if you are a professional). You may commit something wrong today, tomorrow it might be something else. So to help you avoid that ‘Something’ wrong while baking, here we are with a list of some common mistakes, which are generally made while baking.
When you don’t pay attention to your recipe
Okay, it took all my day and efforts to complete this recipe, it would be the same I was expecting. What’s that? How all my hard-work turned into broken pieces? Be careful because this can happen to you as well if you do not go through your recipe by heart.
To make it more clear let’s understand the grammatical rules of baking like this: one recipe says “1 cup almonds, chopped” and the other one says “1 cup of chopped almonds”. The first one means to get a cup full of almonds and then cut them on your cutting board. But with the second one, the quantity will be more as you’ll take already chopped almonds in your cup.
It might take some time to understand the recipe but that way your baking experience becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.
When you directly take a dive into your flour bag
Do you know if you scoop out the flour directly from the bag of flour then my friend you are adding more flour than your recipe called for? Stop being lethargic and instead use a spoon and scoop flour and add one by one into your measuring cup.
Then use a knife to level off the top. Remember not to shake your measuring cup in this way of getting your perfect cup of flour.
When you don’t let your ingredients to come to room temperature
This is why we have kept that “Read your Recipe” point as the priority. A maximum number of cake recipes calls for mixing dairy products (at room temperature) with the dry ingredients. We know while learning this beautiful art, most of the times you become impatient and can’t really wait to let these things to reach the room temperature.
Maybe this is the beauty of this art that you cannot make yourself wait. Ingredients kept at proper room temperature results in dense treats and in fact, they emulsify to capture air. The heat in the oven let this captured air to grow, giving your baked good a light and fluffy texture. And this is exactly what you wanted right?
When you use leaveners you bought long back
Now, you know that without your baking soda or baking powder it’s difficult to get that store-bought feel. These commercial ingredients can be proved as bane or boon to your baked goodies, depending on their expiry dates. If you don’t bake frequently then you need to be extra careful because even though you still have them but they are not fit to be added to a cake.
Using any of the leavener that was resting at the back of your pantry might stop your cake from attaining maximum lift and making your final product flat. Always check the expiration dates and leave those older packs for cleaning and deodorizing.
When you forget about the parchment paper
So in order to save yourself from those nasty cake removal situations, don’t forget to line the bottom of your baking pan or tin with the parchment paper. These papers are easily available at the grocery stores near you.
When you open the oven too often
We know that it is very hard to be patient at that time when you realize that your cake is about to get ready in a few more minutes. This tends you to open your oven too often that actually makes the baking process slower.
Do not commit this kind of mistake because that way you are allowing your oven to let hot air flow out and eventually it decreases your oven’s temperature. In fact, doing this might cause your cake to collapse a bit.
When you take ‘Baking is Science’ very casually
Keeping general cooking out of the mind baking is all about the high level of precision, which is why bakers love it and give them a feeling of satisfaction. No matter how experienced you are, it is always good to have measurement cups or spoons for the exact measurements.
A small blunder and your cake will turn into something else or something you were not even expecting as the baking recipes are designed on the basis of the ratio of ingredients mixed together. Add more flour and your cake will become a denser one. Extra baking soda and your baked good will taste metallic. So keep the rule in mind: Measure before adding.
When you do baking at the wrong temperature
You don’t want your goods to be under-baked or over-baked. Perfection is all that matters to you while baking, right? Thus, make sure that you are baking them at a correct temperature. With maximum recipes, you’ll be informed about what should be the right temperature of the oven. DON’T FORGET to preheat your oven to give it enough time to get up to the same temperature.
Never trust your oven when it comes to right temperature unless you have a brand new oven or you use it regularly. Otherwise, it is recommended to get a small oven thermometer for the accuracy.
When you use the wrong kind of baking sheet
So you have followed the recipe in a right way? And you haven’t forgotten any of the ingredients? But still, your cookies are burned at the bottom. So have you checked what kind of baking sheets would be suitable for baking? Yeah, this thing also makes a difference how your cookies will come out. Dark and non-shiny baking sheets tend to absorb more heat and might burn them from the bottom.
And insulated sheets which come with ½ inch lip takes more time and simply under-cook your cookies. Baking sheets that are heavy and shiny aluminum with no side edges are ideal for transferring the cookies onto the cooling rack.
When you substitute ingredients
It’s obvious is you are out of any ingredient you should be smart enough to understand what other ingredients you can use. But that doesn’t mean you can use substitutes every time. A cup of milk can’t perform in the same manner a cup of buttermilk does.
It is more acidic and if your recipe already calls for baking soda, the cup of milk can make your end product taste acidic. So keep this option of using substitutes for an emergency.
When you don’t sift your ingredients
If your recipe says sift your xyz ingredients then DO IT. It’s not written there just for the fun, they really mean it. Once in a while, this point is unnecessary but when it comes to cocoa powder and powdered sugar, you just can’t skip it.
These are the ingredients that could form lumps while mixing thus, should be sifted.
When you don’t rotate your cake
No matter what kind of oven you use or which brand it is, ovens somehow tend to circulate heat bit unevenly. For your information, the back of the ovens is usually hotter than the front.
While in some ovens the top or bottom is hotter. Make sure you rotate your cake halfway through baking in order not to bake your cake unevenly.