HEADLINE: Top 10 Common Baking Mistakes You Might Be Making
Baking can be easy yet tricky to get right. Baking for your friends and family is a fun experience, but it can also be cause for frustration when things do not go your way. Here are some reasons why your baked goods are turning out no good:
Just because your dry ingredients are premixed doesn’t mean that you don’t need to sift. Sifting allows you to measure exact amounts of flour, baking soda or baking powder and gets rid of the clumps that may come from storage.
Softened Butter is not a Substitute for Melted Butter
Butter is an important ingredient in baking, but not all of its forms are created equal. Softened butter does not mix the same way as melted butter, in the same way that freshly chilled butter is not going achieve the same effect as softened butter. Baking is as much a science as it is art, so the temperature and state of the ingredients matter in the outcome of your baking. Take care to avoid shortcuts or alternatives unless the recipe specifically mentions it!
Baking soda is NOT Baking powder
These are two products people often get confused about. Baking soda and baking powder are NOT the same. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate and is often combined with an acidic ingredient like yogurt or buttermilk that will cause baked goods to rise. Meanwhile, baking powder contains baking soda and includes an acidifying agent like cream of tartar mixed in along with a drying agent like starch.
You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda, but not the other way round. It’s understandably confusing, so it’s best to keep both in the house so you will never have to substitute either for the other.
Twisting the Cookie Cutter
This baking mistake may be something that you’re unconsciously doing when carving out cookie shapes from dough. Here’s what happens: you lay your dough flat on the lining, press the cookie cutter into it, and to make sure the outline comes off you give it a little twist. That little twist inadvertently seals in the edges of your cookies, which prevents the dough from rising properly.
Not Scraping the Bowl
Pay attention to the bits of your mix that sticks to the sides and bottom of the bowl. By not scraping the bowl, you’re wasting ingredients and could leave you lacking if your recipe calls for a carefully measured list of ingredients.
Not Levelling the Measuring Cup
Stop scooping your flour, baking powder or baking soda straight from the bag! You’ll never get accurate measurements that way. Instead, it’s better to fill the measuring cup by spooning the ingredients into the cup and levelling it with a knife once filled. A top tip is to never measure your dry ingredients above your mixing bowl, you’ll never know if you spill some of it into the bowl by accident!
Using the Wrong Pan
The size of the pan matters and affects whether your baked goods has the room to rise or breathe once inside the oven. Choosing the right pan can mean the difference between an amazing cake or a slab nightmare. Also remember to line and prep your pan before you start on the batter. This way, you’re not scrambling to tear off pieces of parchment or hurriedly grease a pan before you put your batter in the oven.
Getting the Math Wrong
Experimenting with recipes and adjusting them to your liking is one of the joys of baking, but there are inherent risks involved if you get the math wrong. For situations where you need to bake a larger quantity than what the recipe states, doubling the amount of ingredients used in a recipe does not mean you’re going to get double the outcome. Instead, just do the same recipe in multiple batches.
Opening the Oven Door While Baking
Trust us when we say you must resist the urge to keep on checking on your cake while it’s in the oven! Opening the oven door lets hot air out and you risk deflating your cake or bread with the rush of the cold air. If your oven requires you to adjust the pan for the baked goods to bake evenly, wait for the sides to crust properly before opening the oven door.
Baking is all about timing. It takes practice, but keep at it and soon you’ll be able to tell by instinct when the batter is overbeaten or when it needs more work. The more you bake and practice, the more you improve your instinct, master timings and routines!
Get the freshest ingredients for your baking practice at Bake With Yen! Visit our stores at:
📍 34 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427364
🕘 9am – 7pm daily (Closed on PH)
☎ 6242 8017
📍 5 Tampines Street 32, #01-11/12, Singapore 529284
🕘 9am – 6pm daily (Closed on PH)
☎ 6904 8670