6 Ways to Become a Better Baker This Year

6 Ways to Become a Better Baker This Year

Baking Basics

So the deliciousness of your favorite Mother Rucker’s cookies has inspired you to hone your home baking skills. Great idea! We’re not going to give away all the secrets to our tasty treats, but we will share a few tips that will put your on your way to creating your own delectable baked creations.

Here are the six ways you can improve your baking in the new year:

1. Get a baking textbook—not a cookbook. Cookbooks are a wonderful reference for finding recipes, but a baking textbook details the science and chemistry of the methods and ingredients involved in baking—basically explaining why and how they do what they do. The Culinary Institute of America’s Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft is an excellent choice.

2. Plan ahead before you start baking. Before you do anything else, make sure that your ingredients are out, your eggs are cracked, butter is softened and flour is measured and sifted—and that everything is measured out in prep bowls. When a recipe asks you to do something in a flash, you’ll need those precious seconds that could be lost looking for the right ingredients.

3. Clean as you go. Cleaning in between all that sifting and mixing will keep you organized, cut down on clutter and give you more space to work. This can speed preparation time and streamline the process.

4. Loosen your flour if taking it straight from the bag. Flour right out of the bag may be compacted and will need to be loosened. To do so, just scoop it out of the bag with another instrument before pouring it into the measuring cup for a more accurate measurement. Level off with a knife to ensure you’re getting a precise measurement.

5. Soften brown sugar if hardened. No need to throw away your hardened brown sugar. Just place a piece of bread in the sugar’s container overnight. The moisture of the bread will make your brown sugar soft and usable by the next day.

6. Remember to test the goods. No two ovens are alike, so make sure you test the doneness of all of your baked goods—especially the center of your pies, cakes and brownies. Just place a toothpick into your baked good of choice, and if the toothpick is clean when you take it out, your goods are good to go.