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It’s impossible to talk about food without mentioning cakes, pastries, waffles and yummy croissants. While not everyone has advanced baking skills, no one minds a quick chocolate pastry in the dessert. And who doesn’t like to bake some savoury cakes in their free time? Most of us do but don’t have the basic baking skills needed.
Whether you are a baker-in-making or already one, an occasional baker with basic baking skills, or someone who would love to take it up as a professional, here are the 6 easiest baking skills and tricks for beginners to hone their baking skills and get better at it.
How to become better at baking?
1. Recipe is the king
So invest 2 minutes in reading a recipe if you don’t want to waste the ingredients and time on a failed recipe. Failed recipe?
Yes, baking without reading and understanding the recipe beforehand is a disaster waiting to happen. But what does understanding the recipe actually mean?
Understanding the recipe means knowing the dietary requirements, steps, baking tools, and ingredients. Not only does it help in time management, but it also helps you get that perfect result as you are prepared in advance.
2. Give ingredients the attention they deserve
Once you are thorough with the recipe, ensure you have all the ingredients. Make the batter in advance, mix the ingredients beforehand wherever possible, and understand the right temperature needed for each ingredient.
Three baking skills to get the ingredient game right
Follow recipes that provide the ingredients in grams, not volume.
Fresh and good quality ingredients for the win because leavening agents and spices lose their potency after a while. Use fresh ingredients to avoid ending up with a flat cake. It’s best to buy small quantities to prevent them from going bad sitting in your kitchen cabinet.
Avoid using ingredient substitutes whenever possible and try to follow the recipe. However, it’s okay to add some extra nuts or berries, don’t mess with the flour, sugar, or eggs.
3. Learn Ingredient Measurement
Measuring ingredients means precise ratios of everything you’ll use and precision is critical in baking.
Trust me, even the slightest change in the base ingredients can screw up the recipe completely. There is a reason why professionals use digital scales for measuring the ingredients. If you don’t have a measuring scale, use the spoon and sweep method.
Moreover, liquid measuring cups with pour spouts and precise gradations on the sides work best for liquid ingredients.
4. Invest in baking tools; they are life-changing
Investing in essential baking tools is a must, especially if you want to pursue baking as a profession and amp up your baking skills. Here are some must-have baking tools crucial for bakers.
a. Oven thermometer to get the accurate oven temperature because most ovens don’t do so.
b. Digital weighing scale
c. A good quality mixer
5. Befriend Your Oven
An oven is probably the most important yet tricky baking tool that needs your attention. You need to understand that mere setting the required oven temperature won’t do the job for you. In 99% of cases, the oven’s temperature is inaccurate, especially if your oven is old. The oven may show the temperature to be 250 degrees, but it would be just 100 degrees in reality. So, what is the solution? Using a good quality oven thermometer is the best solution.
Having an accurate oven temperature is also essential to get that perfect chocolate pastry or lemon tart. Further, here are 5 things you can do to make yourself oven-ready:
Grease and flour the baking tin
Line the trays, cookie pans and muffin cases with parchment paper. Parchment papers are reusable, easy to remove and clean.
Use heavy-duty aluminum foil to line the baking pans for bar cookies.
Silicon mats are great alternatives to parchment papers as they are more durable.
Don’t forget to preheat the oven to the required temperature at the beginning of your recipe.
6. Don’t take the temperature for granted
The right temperature of ingredients and oven makes a huge difference in deciding the consistency. Mere following the recipe won’t be enough. You will have to go deep into understanding the right temperature for each ingredient. E.g., someone with basic baking skills will know that there are 3 types of butter and 3 types of egg based on temperature.
While most recipes require 25°C, don’t forget to take care of variables including season, ventilation, and moisture. Having said that, room temperature is the key, especially when using eggs, butter, milk and yogurt. Ingredients at room temperature mix better and emulsify better, forming an excellent consistency batter with a uniform texture.
7. A Closed Oven Is Must For The Perfect Cake
While it’s extremely tempting to sneak a peek inside the oven, repeatedly opening and closing the oven door will allow the cool air inside that disturbs the baking. Even when you need to open the door to rotate the pans or test the cake whether it’s done, do it as quickly as possible.
At last, doing proper research and being prepared beforehand is the key to not panicking and getting the baking process right. So, ensure you have all the ingredients prepared in advance and lined out in an orderly sequence, clean utensils, a calibrated oven, and other tools.
Are You Prepared to Bake Your Dream Job As A Baker?
If you enjoy desserts and enjoy baking, ITM is the place to be. Simply enroll in our diploma programme in Patisserie and Confectionery to lay the groundwork for your baking profession.
ITM's Patisserie and Confectionery course is meticulously developed to offer our students an in-depth understanding of the bakery. The programme is designed expressly to guarantee that students learn the practicalities of baking and ingredient measurement and soft skills that will help them ace their interviews.
But what will I do once I finish my diploma in Patisserie and Confectionery?
1. ITM offers our students 100% placement assistance. Huge companies like Four Seasons, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Oberois, Radisson, Taj, and other leading industry companies employ students from our Patisserie and Confectionery courses. You can land a job as a pastry chef or head chef at top restaurant chains after completing the diploma.
2. Establish Your Own Bakery: If your interest levitates towards doing something of your own and being your own boss, you can start your own bakery business.
3. Pursue Higher Education: If you want to advance your education in the pastry and bakery fields, you have many UG and PG options to pursue in culinary arts and baking.
Want to explore a career beyond baking and cooking? Check our international hospitality & tourism management courses here.