People are intimidated by baking/cooking-don’t be. “I can’t boil water!” Yes you can, just add more water, watch it so it doesn’t boil over, turn the temp down. We can all do something, maybe just not as well as others. I came into baking late, just about 4 years ago. And I wasn’t awesome when I started, it took a lot to get here 🙂 But you can bake if you want to, cook if you want, you just need to practice, pay attention, and practice. The saying “your nose will know when it’s done” is so true now. Here are a few basics that can help you along the way:
1. Measure your ingredients. Don’t think “that looks like a cup of flour” make sure it is. Baking is science, baking is exact. If you have a scale, even better, weigh it. Never guess on baking, I am a certified professional, and I don’t do that.
2. If it says sift, sift. Don’t skip this step. If it doesn’t say sift, don’t. Recipes can have additions and subtractions later on down the road when you know it well enough to know you can add chocolate chips, vanilla, etc.
3. Read the recipe first! Your butter might need to be room temp, your dough might have to sit, your oven might need an hour to pre-heat. I have skipped this and had to start again, wait, make something else, or cancel plans.
4. If it says cold butter, it better be cold. Ice water, put it in the freezer before you start baking. Pie crusts can collapse in a second if your butter isn’t cold. Room temp butter and ingredients is key when making a cookie or something that calls for room temp ingredients. Don’t think that you can just put it out while you get your mise en place together-you will notice a difference.
5. Use good stuff if you have access/can afford it. If you need to use margarine this time, do it. If you can’t afford gourmet chocolate, Nestle works too. If you need to use a cake mix, go for it-cake mixes taste good! Just don’t claim it’s from scratch if it isn’t. But use what you can, just make it taste great.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.