Baking at home is an activity that can bring plenty of benefits to your life. The fun activity helps to foster your creativity, sharpen multiple skills and offers the perfect opportunity to create special moments with your friends and family. We have asked the experts to share their best tips for baking at home which you can’t miss.
What is an “allergy-free food” or “safe” substitute?
“”Allergy free” and “safe” are terms that are different for everyone which is why I put quotation marks around them. When these terms are used here, it means they’re free of the most common food allergens. It’s important to know that no whole food can be considered completely “allergen-free” because it is possible to be allergic to virtually any food. Your list of “allergy-free” foods is unique to you!”
What are the dangers people should look out for while baking?
“It may be tempting to save on dishes and dump your dry ingredients and wet ingredients in the same bowl, but it is important to mix them separately first. The reason for this is because you want to make sure your dry ingredients are evenly blended so your dish bakes evenly. You should also make sure to slowly add your dry ingredients and fully incorporate before mixing more in. You don’t want to overmix your batter because this ruins the texture of your baked goods.”
Lindsay Viker, EverydayDishes.com
How do you store baking equipment properly
“Baking equipment comes in all shapes and forms, so it makes sense that properly storing these will also depend on your baking style! For frequent bakers, it’s best to put store your equipment within reach and is easily accessible. I love using kitchen hooks to hang the spatula, whisk and pastry brush, as they also make up a beautiful display to show off your well-kitted baking set! For bigger items like mixing bowls, hand mixers, and baking trays, I recommend storing these in a dedicated deep kitchen drawer. Meanwhile, for smaller items, I like stacking them to save space, for example, placing a measuring jug within a mixing bowl, and using dividers for trays.”
Honest Food Talks
How can people make baking healthier
“As a food blogger, I’ve seen firsthand how baking “healthier” can mean many different things to different people. For some, healthier equates to a dessert that’s completely free of their allergies or sensitivities like gluten for dairy. For others, they might seek recipes that are made with more natural and whole ingredients. However you see the term “healthy”, the best way to tailor baking to your needs is to keep a list of really simple ingredient swaps. For example, in most cases, cup for cup gluten free baking flour works great in place of regular flour. There are also so many great butter alternatives on the market that act and taste just like real butter but without the dairy. I’ve even used peanut or almond butter in place of butter for a great whole-ingredient swap! Pure maple syrup and coconut sugar are also great alternatives to refined sugar.
Most importantly, try to keep an open mind when searching around for healthier recipes. Maybe you aren’t necessarily vegan/gluten free or don’t follow the paleo diet, but you find a recipe that’s labeled as such. It may be something completely new for you, but you would be surprised by just how delicious these recipes can be!”
Mistakes to Avoid When Baking with Chocolate
“One of the most common mistakes made while baking with chocolate is not tempering the chocolate properly. Overheating or melting it too quickly will ruin the chocolate. If it melts too quickly or for too long, the chocolate will clump together and won’t be usable for your recipe. If microwaving, it is important to make sure you are melting the chocolate in small increments (10-15 seconds). Stir and repeat so the chocolate can melt evenly, allowing it to reach the desired temperature. You can also melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water on the stove in quick increments to make sure it tempers properly. This will give you nice, creamy chocolate.”
How do you increase the shelf life of baked goods?
“Moisture loss causes the baked goods to become stale and dry. There are several ways to prevent moisture loss and keep your baked goodies tasting fresh longer. First step to proper storage is to cool your baked goods completely. To keep freshly baked bread crispy and fresh place it in a paper bag and wrap the end of the bag around. Then, place that bag in a plastic bag without twisting it closed. Cookies, brownies, scones and such can be kept on the counter, covered with a dome. If not planning to eat baked goods right away, cover or wrap them in plastic wrap well and freeze. Then, leave on the counter to thaw, and eat.“
Let the Baking Begin
What are the essential things people need to consider about baking pan conversion?
“The most essential thing people need to consider about baking pan conversion is volume and not surface. How many cups of batter is your recipe? For instance, if you have a recipe that calls for an 8” square pan, the volume is pretty close to 8 cups. Equivalent sized pans would be two 8” round pans or one 9” loaf pan. A standard muffin pan holds 6 cups so the same recipe would make 12 to 16 muffins (or cupcakes).”
What are the essential cake decorating tools?
“Just like having the right ingredients will ensure you get a great tasting cake, having the right tools helps to ensure you end up with a great looking cake too! The essential cake decorating tools to get started include:
Turntable: To kick off our list of essential cake decorating tools is the turntable. There are a lot of turntables on the market, so depending on how much you’re decorating cakes will help determine what type of turntable you should get. If you’re making cakes pretty frequently, I think it’s worth investing in a cast iron turntable.
Cake Scraper: A cake scraper is the tool to smooth out the sides of a cake.
Icing Spatulas: Everyone needs a good set of icing spatulas – one straight and one offset.
Acrylic Disk: Helps to get sharp edges and straight sides.
Quality Cake Pans: Quality cake pans will step up your cake game.”
Cake by Courtney
How to start a home-based bakery
“Is baking your hobby? Then you can earn a lot of money from selling pastries, confectioneries, and baked foods like cake, cookies, bread, etc. To people in your locality, especially kids. Starting a home-based bakery is a great way for women to have their own business while still being able to stay at home with their children. Bakery and cake shops are always popular, and there are many ways for a home-based bakery to succeed. One way is to specialize in a certain type of cake or confectionery, such as wedding cakes or French pastries. Another option is to offer delivery service within a certain radius, or do custom orders. One thing to keep in mind when starting any online business is that it’s important to have a good marketing strategy. This can include setting up a website, advertising in local newspapers or online, and participate in local food festivals or farmers markets.”
What are the common mistakes in baking that you need to avoid?
“Not reading the recipe.
Using the wrong ingredients (baking soda vs powder).
Baking at the wrong temperature.
Not measuring ingredients correctly.
Incorrect buttermilk substitution’.
Over kneading bread dough.”
What are basic pie equipment and tools?
“Ginger Graham: A 9-inch ceramic pie pan, a food processor and a bench scraper, it makes life so easy.
Chef Deb Traylor: A nice big bowl, a good food scale, your favorite rolling pin and a fridge!”
What are the advantages of home baking?
“Baking at home presents several advantages. For one, it’s nostalgic. I think a lot of people get a warm and fuzzy feeling just being in their own kitchen, creating something amazing. It may cause them to reminisce about pouring themselves into a baking recipe that they might have shared with a loved one. Perhaps it’s just the act of baking itself that reminds them of a particular time or person. Baking is comforting. You also get to relax, destress, and control your environment. Maybe add a dash more cinnamon, or a touch more butter. You get to totally own what you’re doing and tailor the recipe to your liking. Also, baking is such a precise science. When you successfully create a baked good, it inspires you to keep creating because it builds confidence. Lastly, when baking, it forces you to value your time. We are all so busy and constantly moving, and rushing through life. Baking is the one thing you cannot rush, and it forces you to be patient — especially bread baking. It’s a great way to pause from the regular busy norm we’re all so accustomed to. That’s very beneficial for brain activity and overall self-care.”
What are the essential ingredients every baker needs?
- “Plain All-purpose Flour
- Sugar (granulated, brown sugar, powdered sugar)
- Oil (vegetable oil, canola oil, shortening)
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Chocolate (cocoa powder, chocolate chips, etc.)
“There are many things you can do to make your box cake mix taste better. Here are my top 5 tips for making doctoring up a cake mix:
-Swapping out butter for oil
-Swapping out water for milk
-Adding more eggs Adding extracts and spices
-Adding Instant Pudding Mix
For a more in-depth look at making all these adjustments to your box cake mix check out my post on How to Make Box Cake Better.”
Confessions of a Baking Queen
How do you organize a baking station?
“I have a rolling cart for my baking station. It has a large drawer across the front of it plus two shelves and a closed cupboard. There is also a hanging rack on the side for tea towels, etc. Obviously the top is where the work goes on and that is where I keep my stand mixer. The drawer contains other baking tools such as my hand mixer, rolling pin, cutters, silicone sheets, measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, etc. The shelves hold my mixing bowls, weight scale and some of my baking tins. The closed cupboard stores my sugars, flours and flavorings. Other than my fresh ingredients such as butter, milk and eggs, with this rolling cart I have everything I need to use for baking most items right at my fingertips! When baking its nice and important to have all your ingredients stored and close to each other. This helps to make the exercise much more convenient and saves many needless steps in the kitchen.”
What should people consider before buying baking equipment and tools?
“There are two important questions to consider when shopping for baking equipment: what is your budget and what will you be creating? Versatile tools make a big impact on bakers of any skill level. An item like a stand mixer may seem too expensive, but it can be used to knead dough, whip ingredients for souffles or meringues, make homemade ice cream, the possibilities are endless.”
Top tips to bake the perfect cookie
“Make sure your oven is the right temperature by using an oven thermometer. Placing parchment paper on your baking sheet prevents the cookies from sticking and makes for a super easy cleanup. Chill your cookie dough before baking to prevent spreading. The biggest tip in baking cookies is to have patience – it may take a few rounds to get the recipe right!”
Emily Ploch, Emily Enchanted
Tips for improving your baking skills
“When I advise new bakers, I always tell them these 3 things: get to know your oven, don’t change the ingredients, and measure them correctly. Every oven is different, and getting familiar with the one you’re using helps both to know if you’re baking at the right temperature, and to find out its hot spots. Replacing an ingredient can be tricky, so unless you know what you’re doing, I recommend sticking to the ones the recipe calls for. Lastly, for baking, it is preferred to measure the ingredients using a scale, especially if you’re a beginner: a few grams more can make a huge difference at the end.”
Milk and Pop
What are the essential tools that a bread making kit should contain?
“A basic kit for making handcrafted artisan bread in your home kitchen should include a few essential tools and resources. A proofing basket with a removable liner helps to support the dough after shaping. Round loaves (aka boules) are the easiest to shape so we recommend starting with a round proofing basket. The kit should also include a dough whisk to mix batters and dough, a flexible dough scraper to mix & scrape bowls clean, a metal bench scraper to divide and shape dough, scrape and clean work surfaces and transfer shaped loaves, and a bread scoring lame, plus extra blades, for making decorative slashes in the dough. Some nice to have items include parchment paper sheets for proofing and transferring loaves to baking pots, and paper bread bags for gifting homemade loaves because bakers love to share their creations. In addition to the baking tools, the kit should provide a recipe book in the form of a downloadable ebook (or other format) so bakers can get started on their baking journey right away.”
What are the essential baking pans people need to have?
“- 12 Cups Muffin Pans are essential pans and it’s so simple to use. It’s hard to mess up using a muffin pan, because they offer the right amount of quantity to each container (muffin tin hole), and it always comes out neatly and nicely. Some would even say perfect for offering dessert to family, friends and guests, as well as decorating. Our muffin pans are also high quality, consisting of 2 Layers Premium Quality non-stick coating for Easy-Release when you bake. On top of that, they are super affordable to everyone. Therefore, our muffin pans are baking essentials that people need and just a classic must-have pan to bake that traditional American cupcake/muffin.
– Round cake pan, another essential pan that Americans/North American use on a day-to-day basis. For this pan, you can switch up your baked good to make cakes, pies, layered cakes, quiches, frittatas, pizzas, and so much more. Because of its simplicity, this pan offers versatile ways to create sweet or savoury baked goods. This round cake pan make it perfect for any occasion, whether its a birthday party, national pie day or holiday (that requires to bake pies), events, bbq, or even potluck — a round cake pan can never go wrong. Also, our round cake pans are all under 17USD.
– Roaster pans are essential as well because the size provides enough space to fit large meats and all sorts of cuts during lunch, dinners and family gatherings. Furthermore, roasting pans allows even heating when it’s in the oven, rather than being braised. Therefore, this pan allows you to optimise roasting your meats and veggies for any special occasion.”
What are the benefits of baking?
“Baking is meditative and helps in reducing depression and anxiety. Meditation to me means awareness. Anything that you do with utmost awareness is meditation. So is Baking. You need your complete attention when you bake. Awareness is what strengthens your mind and it wouldn’t be a lie to say that bakers are happier than others. Watch somebody baking. They are just in themselves. It’s such a therapeutic way to bake for yourself and your family. When baking at home, you have complete control over the ingredient quality and portion size. This makes it healthy.“
Anybody Can Bake
Tips to design an aesthetic and functional baking station
“My number one advice to a functional home baking station that’s delightful to use and produces volumes of delicious goods with ease and efficiency is simple: Organize everything you need in one place. If the parts of your baking station are scattered around your kitchen, hidden behind appliances or at the back of drawers, you’re simply not going to use it nearly as much and you won’t experience the joys of home-baking nearly as much! At its most basic, a baking station consists of 1) some counter space, 2) mixer(s), 3) dishware, utensils etc., and 4) ingredients. You need to have all these parts organized together in one place. When it’s time to bake, it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to be able to immediately access everything you need. My home kitchen isn’t very big, yet my baking station at home is probably larger than what most households would have. So I use a metro wire roll-in rack. It’s about 5 feet tall and has 5 shelves that are 1 ft deep and 2 ft wide. On the bottom rack are my pans. The next level holds all my utensils such as measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, whisks, small dishware, scales, thermometer etc. The next 2 levels hold all my ingredients. The top level holds 2 mixers. I keep this rolling rack in my utility closet next to my kitchen. When it’s time to bake, I simply roll the rack into the kitchen and have everything I need accessible in an instance. After I’m done baking, I make sure to put everything back in an organized fashion. If you don’t have a suitable utility closet, you could recreate this arrangement in one of your cabinets or in a couple of drawers. Whatever you do, make sure that you can access everything you need for baking immediately and keep it organized. It makes baking at home so much more fun and more productive!”
How to choose the perfect oven for baking?
“In the baking industry, there are two main methods of baking – convection baking and deck baking. In convection baking heat is recirculated around the baking chamber using a series of fans. In-deck baking product is usually baked directly on a stone hearth/deck that radiates heat. These ovens may be fueled by either electricity or gas but the principles remain the same. As a general rule, convection baking is good for cakes, cookies, pastries, and confections; whereas deck ovens are well suited for artisan bread products such as baguettes, rolls, boules, sourdough, and pizza. Both convection and deck-style baking can be scaled to your production needs with options ranging from retail to industrial baking.“
Erika Record Baking Equipment
What are the top tips for baking in an Instant Pot?
When baking cakes or cheesecakes in your electric pressure cooker, be sure to use a springform pan around 7″ in diameter. Any pan bigger than this won’t fit the 6-quart Instant Pot.
You should always pre-soak your cake pan before placing it into the Instant Pot. This helps to protect the non-stick coating on the pan from coming off.
When baking in the Instant Pot, always use a trivet at the bottom of the pot. This helps to elevate it above the water, which prevents soggy cakes or other baked goods. It’s important to leave enough room so that the cake can easily move around during cooking.
If you’re making a cheesecake, be sure to wrap your cake pan tightly with aluminum foil. This will help to prevent water from getting into the pan and ruining your creation.
Angela Milnes, The Instant Pot Table
Why is the quality of ingredients important when baking and how to choose them?
“There’s an old saying–what you put in, you get out. If you use quality ingredients your output will be a higher standard product. We look at each ingredient, determine how it’s manufactured, and then decide if it’s good enough to use in our kitchen. Also, some substandard ingredients don’t perform as well as others that are made to a higher standard. For example, we’ve tested less expensive cream cheese, but have found they can be gummy and change the texture of a frosting. It always pays to use quality ingredients.”
How long can baked goods be refrigerated?
“My experience is working with gluten free products from Dempsey Bakery and retail products from other outlets. I mainly recommend gluten free baked goods be frozen rather than refrigerated to have the best results. The fridge seems to dry out the products, especially breads. Baked goods with sugars and butter, etc can usually sit on the counter for a few days.”
How to overcome the most common challenges of gluten-free baking?
“Gluten free baking presents a lot of challenges yet people around the world are cooking fabulous foods with varying combinations of flours and starches. Here are 3 tips to get you excited about the possibilities.
- Be open to learning new techniques and using different methods than you’re used to.
Develop a discerning palate and keep baking until everyone asks, “Is this gluten free?”
Organize for success! Make your Baking Station work for the dietary needs in your life and the way you cook.
Gluten free cooks need more ingredients to bake so organization is essential. Here are three tips to get you started.
- Choose easy to grab, clear containers to store ingredients you usually use together.
- Buy stackable containers with wide lids for quick and easy access.
- Label containers and lids with tips to help you learn. (Tapioca Starch is the same as Tapioca Flour or the opposite, Potato Starch – is NOT Potato Flour.)”
What should people look for when buying an oven thermometer?
“A home oven temperature will fluctuate therefore, getting an accurate idea of the temperature of your oven can be difficult. I recommend a thermometer that will read your oven’s temperature over a short interval of time and then produce an “average temperature”. An average will more accurately portray what the heating conditions are like in your oven.”
What are the basic tips for successful baking?
“Tips for successful baking is to follow the recipe, people. Make sure equipment & ingredients are ready. Preheat then oven & place the pan in the oven. Once done, cool it before cutting (when baking bread or cake).”