September 24, 2021
Cupcakes that stick to the pan, cakes that won’t rise & pies that won’t set up. We’ve all been there - more times than we can count! Baking goes hand-in-hand with troubleshooting. We’re sharing five baking mistakes we’ve made so you don’t have to!
Knowing when to stop mixing your batter is a huge test of self control. There is a delicate balance between making sure all the ingredients are properly incorporated vs overmixing to the detriment of your recipe. If you overmix some recipes (cake batter especially!) you may knock out the air bubbles that you so carefully achieved during your creaming - resulting in a denser and chewier cake. Overmixing cake can also overdevelop the gluten (the protein in the flour) - resulting in a less tender/more tough cake. The key is to pay diligent attention during the mixing to stop just when all the ingredients are combined..
Imagine you are a local from-scratch bakery with Thanksgiving orders piling up. You make pie dough, roll it out and flute the edges into pie pans. Then you make a big batch of pumpkin pie filling, fill up the beautiful waiting pie crusts and pop them in the oven to bake. You notice as the pies are cooling...that something just doesn’t look right. You slice one and take a bite. It tastes pumpkiny, but it’s not KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF good. You go hunting for the recipe and start looking at the amounts of ingredients that were put in. Then you compare it to your original recipe (that made only a couple of pies) only to realize there was a math mistake when scaling up the recipe. This was one of our, ummm, most MEMORABLE baking mistakes. We had no choice but to make them all again, because part of baking is being meticulous on measurements AND on outcomes.
Temperature of Ingredients
Read and re-read those recipe directions! Baking is a science and the temperature of certain ingredients can make a huge difference in the outcome of your treats. We recommend reading your recipes a day or two in advance. This allows you time to prepare your ingredients if you should leave them out at room temperature the night before. Using room-temperature butter, eggs, or milk when the recipe calls for it means that your ingredients will be able to emulsify better and trap air, giving you a smooth batter and fluffier end result..
Not having all the tools needed or using the wrong tools can make a huge difference in the outcome of your sweets. For instance, it’s just not the same to use a hand held mixer when you need a dough hook for yeasted sweet roll dough. There are so many kitchen tools, but some that we absolutely can’t live without: bowl scrapers, bench knives, offset spatulas, KitchenAid mixers and Americolor gel food coloring! You can find all of our favorite baking tools: Dolce Amazon Storefront.
There’s nothing worse than planning, prepping all the ingredients, then working hard to execute a recipe only to have your dream pastry not turn out. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Mistakes can happen to even the most experienced bakers! Baking from scratch is a labor of love & the most important thing to never forget is to HAVE FUN. Failed cakes make lovely trifles, failed rolls can make a delicious bread pudding, and there’s not much that icing and sprinkles can’t cover up!
. . . . .