Out of all the forms of cooking (or creating different types of foods), baking might be one of the most challenging. There are many steps to go through when baking. If even one step is either under or overly done, it can really change the final, desired product. Even when the ingredients are the same, with different wait times and baking times, one can create really different products.
For example with bread products, one might use flour, water, and yeast. Depending on the different yeast rising times, you might get some different textures like flatbread, crackers, soft bread, pizza dough, etc. Or even depending on how long you knead, you can get different fluffiness to the inside of the dough. This is quite an amazing phenomenon actually and it all really comes down to the science of things.
Most Challenging Thing With Baking
With regular cooking, one can just adjust the flavor as they go to achieve the desired taste. Even when finished, you can still make a few adjustments. Therefore, the chances of butchering the final product is very low. (Unless you burnt something). With baking, one has a one time attempt to get it right. (i.e. macaroons). In addition, you have to work with certain ingredients that require special attention. Here are some just to name a few:
- Certain bakery products require separation of egg yolk and white. (Perhaps for turning egg white to stiff peaks).
- Some bread products require salt, but salt can also kill the yeast.
- Certain ingredients must be warmed to room temperature after taking it out of the refrigerator. Otherwise, it may interfere with the science in baking.
- Temperatures of oven and cooking times need to be on point.
- Cakes cracking due to not enough moisture.
- Certain bread products requires a certain amount of kneading. If insufficient, it would not be as fluffy and soft on the inside.
As a first time baker, this can be quite challenging! It may even be frustrating especially after spending all that time and effort trying to create the beautiful final product.
(I once tried baking brioche bread but instead of coming out fluffy and soft, it came out more like hard biscuits. They were barely edible!)
When it comes to baking, it would be good to make sure the fundamentals are kept well. One of the most important steps for successful baking is getting the exact measurement of the ingredients.
Habit That You Might Have
When I became accustomed to cooking, I developed a habit of just wanting to eyeball the amount of ingredients needed. Toss in a bit of salt, sugar, and spices to the dish I am cooking and hope for the best. Perform a taste test and just add additional seasoning if needed.
Unfortunately, that can’t quite happen with baking (unless you’ve been baking for some time now). For some bakery products, you can probably add icing or cinnamon sugar and get by with that, but even that may be a hit or miss. So, what can you do?
A MUST-HAVE Tool When Baking
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Because baking requires such precise amounts of ingredients, it would be good to get some measuring tools. Probably not the most mind-blowing life hack for some especially those who already specialize in baking. Still, it’s simple and will help you get just the right amount of ingredients. There is even a leveler to help you remove excess ingredients. The tool even comes with a ring to help keep all your measuring spoons and cups together.
When working with larger volume of ingredients, you might want a measuring cup. Regular measuring cups require you to bend you knees and look at the level of ingredients from the side. If you dislike doing that, you can try using the angled measuring cup. Rather than looking at the level from the side of the cup, you can look from above. This might be better for your knees if you feel pain. (Click here to read about how to improve knee health)
Personally, I’ve been avoiding these types of tools for the longest time because I felt like it made things too easy. I guess I just enjoyed the challenge of being able to guess the correct amount of ingredients needed and not use too many tools to my advantage. However, when I started baking, I wasted so much raw ingredients. When I put that pride down and got myself some measuring tools, my baking became much more successful.
Baking is probably one of the most challenging forms of cooking and it is due to the precise amount of ingredients needed. You might be someone who wants to eyeball things like myself, but that may cause you to waste a lot of ingredients. Save yourself some time, money, and headache by getting some measuring tools or even something like the angled measuring cup.
Hope you have more successful baking experiences from here on! As you grow more confident with baking, perhaps you can take on the challenge of making macaroons!
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