Helpful Kitchen Bakeware Tips
A Baker’s Dozen of Suggestions and Tips from AirBake
1. Follow best practices.
Since baking involves the interaction of different ingredients and temperature, it is important that you always follow good baking practices for best results.
2. Do not overmix and do not overbake.
Some recipes call for the use of a hand held or stand mixer, while other recipes are mixed by hand using a spoon or spatula.
After placing baked goods in the oven, set a kitchen timer for the specified baking time.
3. Carefully read the recipe before proceeding.
Use the specified ingredients, and pre-measure them.
Always use metal or plastic measuring cups or spoons for dry or soft ingredients and a clear glass or plastic measuring cup for all liquid ingredients like water, milk or oil.
Stir flour in the bag or canister with a large spoon to lighten it. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a spatula or knife. Be careful not to tap or shake the measuring cup when measuring. It is not necessary to sift the flour in baking unless the recipe specifically states to do so.
When measuring water, milk, oil, etc., place liquid measuring cup on a level surface. Bend down so your eye is level with the marking on the cup. All ingredients should be at room temperature, unless otherwise specified.
Spray or rub vegetable oil on measuring spoons when measuring sticky ingredients like honey or molasses.
When measuring granulated sugar, spoon the sugar into a dry ingredient measuring cup and level with a spatula or knife.
Lightly spoon powdered or Confectioners’ sugar into dry ingredient measuring cup and level top with a spatula or knife.
Pack brown sugar firmly into a dry measuring cup. Brown sugar should retain the shape of the cup when turned out.
For convenience, use stick butter with markings on the paper indicating tablespoon and cup measurements
Use a sharp knife to cut off the amount needed for a recipe.
Butter measurements follow
2 cups = 4 sticks = 1 lb.
1 cup = 2 sticks = 1/2 lb.
1/2 cup = 1 stick = 1/4 lb.
1/4 cup = 1/2 stick = 4 tbsp.
4. Measure and use the appropriate type of flour according to the recipe
Use all-purpose unbleached flour unless specified differently in recipe.
Cake flour, available in 2 pound boxes is a softer wheat flour and is sometimes specified in some cake recipes.
Self-rising flour contains baking powder and salt and should be used when called for in a recipe.
Whole wheat flour contains fiber-rich wheat germ and bran that creates a heavy crumb when baked and should be used when called for in a recipe.
5. Properly store ingredients and use the highest quality and freshest ones possible.
6. Many recipes for baked goods use a leavening agent for them to rise. The two most commonly used leavening agents are baking powder and baking soda.
Baking powder is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar and usually cornstarch. In the presence of heat and moisture, the baking powder reacts to form carbon dioxide gas in a baked product to make it rise. The most common type of baking powder is double-acting baking powder.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), when combined with an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk, vinegar, molasses or sour cream creates a chemical reaction to form carbon dioxide gas making the baked product rise and become light and porous. Heat is not necessary for the chemical reaction, so the reaction begins as soon as liquid ingredients are added. Products leavened with baking soda should be baked immediately after mixing or the gases will escape and the product will not rise.
Store baking powder and baking soda tightly covered in a dry place and they will stay fresh for about one year. Check the container for the expiration date.
7. Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans, if directed.
A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.
8. Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies or quick breads by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the greaseline.
9. Take your time to properly preheat the oven, and practice safety
Most ovens take 5 to 10 minutes to preheat. Never put pans in oven until preheated.
Most baked goods are baked on the center rack position, unless specified differently.
10. Use an oven thermometer, readily available in grocery stores.
Ovens can vary by 50 degrees.
11. Don't crowd the oven.
The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven, or be placed over or under each other on the racks.
12. To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and bar cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the center.
The toothpick should come out clean and dry, or have only a few crumbs clinging. Yeast breads, rolls and loaves should be golden brown on top, sides and bottom.