New To Baking - The ABCs Of Baking!
Baking can be a very complicated science; measuring and concentration are
the two most important ingredients. This is no reason to be deterred
though, when just starting out baking; with a little determination and a
joy for the craft, baking can be mastered following a few guidelines:
One important step that should be done every time you start to bake is to
read through the entire recipe first! Everyone has had nightmares of
getting half way through the recipe then realizing they don't have a
certain ingredient; this means the recipe gets scrapped, or a run to the
store is necessary. To avoid this common inconvenience, know what you
need and make sure you have it and make sure nothing you do have has
Also, preheat your oven. There is nothing more frustrating than getting
ready to throw that cake in the oven and finding out that the oven isn't
even warm! And know that preheating is very necessary. Especially when it
comes to baking, don't even consider not doing it.
Also, having an oven thermometer can be a great asset when it comes to
baking. Unfortunately ovens can run as much as twenty-five degrees cooler
to twenty-five degrees warmer. Having a thermometer will act as a baker's
insurance policy. Also, be sure your oven racks are adjusted to the
recommended height. Follow the directions for the type and size or pan
recommended for the recipe.
To properly measure dry ingredients, overfill, and then level off with
the edge of a knife. For liquid ingredients, set measuring cup on a flat
surface and bend to eye level to make sure the measurement is accurate.
And don't forget to bake with love; being agitated or stressed can cause
mishaps in the kitchen.
There are also some things to keep in mind when using certain baking
ingredients. Not all flour is created equal; wheat flour is used for
yeast breads, bread flour is for yeast loaves, cake flour is very fine,
and all-purpose flour can be used for nearly anything. Bleached and
unbleached flours are always interchangeable, and be sure to store any
flour in an airtight container in a cool dry place for as much as six
Baking soda and baking powder are also cause for some confusion for the
new baker. They are not created equal and should never be used
interchangeably. Baking powder is a combination of acid and baking soda
that when added to wet ingredients causes something to rise. Baking soda,
however, causes carbon dioxide giving the food bubbles and making it
light and airy.
There are a few pointers to go by when baking with chocolate too.
Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor that is 50% cocoa butter and no
added sugar. When sugar is added to the mix bittersweet, semisweet, and
dark chocolate are created.
Milk chocolate is created from dried milk powder, cocoa butter and sugar.
White chocolate uses cocoa butter instead of chocolate liquor, while
unsweetened cocoa is made from chocolate liquor with 70% cocoa butter
removed, dried, and ground to a paste. Chocolate is also very easy to
burn so watching and stirring constantly are essential. Melting over low
heat is best, and many prefer the double boiler method. Using microwave
ovens or direct heat are also always options.
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