Baking is not like cooking. Not at all. Many people assume that if they can cook, they can bake. They assume that they’ll easily be able to knock up a simple sponge or cupcake if they can create elaborate meals and make dinner every night. But, they are often wrong. Baking isn’t the same, sometimes even the very best cooks aren’t great bakers.
That’s often because it takes an entirely different kind of skill. When we cook, we can taste as we go. We can add seasoning and flavors as a sauce simmers away, it’s instinctive and creative. Baking is more of a science. You can’t taste it until it’s baked (well, you can, who doesn’t love licking the bowl? But it won’t tell you if your cake will rise), and if you get your measurements wrong, there’s a pretty good chance that it won’t work at all.
Baking is also much more reliant on your oven. When we cook, we can turn the heat up or down as needed, and just leave our food in the oven if they need longer. You get your times and temperatures wrong when you bake, and you could be left with a big soggy mess.
It’s no wonder that many of us struggle with baking. It’s hard. It often takes far more patience and precision than cooking, and it can be exceptionally frustrating. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve. Here are some ways that you can become a better baker.
Find Good Recipes
Recipes aren’t all equal. As a beginner baker, or someone looking to improve, you want to use the right recipes. Cake recipes like this pineapple upside down cake are easy to follow and hard to get wrong. But, you should find recipes that you find easy to follow, and try to stick with the same bakers while you are learning.
Be More Precise
Precision is key when it comes to a good bake. You need to measure and time very, very carefully. It can help to make notes on recipes, as you may need to adjust them to suit your oven, ingredients, or equipment.
Clean as You Go
Baking is messy. If you are naturally untidy, your kitchen can quickly get messy, you might find it hard to find things and your bake can devolve into chaos. Start with a clean kitchen and tidy as you go to keep everything in order and make things easier.
Invest In Quality Supplies
The supplies that you use do matter. Non-stick cake tins and those with loose bottoms are ideal. Silicone spatulas can help you to move mixture, and wooden spoons are good for stiff dough. You don’t need expensive machines, but the equipment that you do use should be of good quality.
Get to Know Your Oven
One problem with following recipes is that you will be using a different oven to the writer, and they aren’t all the same. Get to know your oven, monitor how it works compared to recipes, and experiment with turning the temperature up or down slightly.
What are some tips that makes you a better baker? Let me know in the comments below!