Representative image: iStock/AndreyPopov

How to beat the oven game: Mistakes to avoid while baking

It is said that "baking is a science." But let's be honest - sometimes, these experiments fail quite terribly and dramatically. Does that mean we stop baking? Absolutely not!

Baking is therapeutic and can be very rewarding and relaxing. There's nothing better than mixing the batter, baking the cake, and then rewarding yourself with the heavenly dessert you've made by yourself.

Sometimes, even after years of baking experience, the cakes we take hours to bake look perfect on the outside but turn out to be completely raw on the inside. Even the cookies we make after all the meticulous preparation turn out to be rock-hard.

No, Baking isn't easy! But where there is an error, there is room to learn.

Most of these errors can be fixed easily, especially by using the right method and technology. So, the next time you put on your apron, avoid these common mistakes to ensure that your batch of cookies, cakes, and bread is entirely worth it.

Forgetting the key ingredients

Imagine this: You've mixed the butter and sugar for your son's birthday cake, and then you realize you're out of flour.

It happens quite often that you remember the main ingredients when you're halfway through the process. You might use alternative ingredients, but it won't taste half as good as the original recipe.

So, before you begin, always ensure that you have all the ingredients you need on the table. Be prepared and stock up well beforehand.

Representative image: iStock/AnVr

Opening the oven quite often

Checking your baked items in the oven is quite tempting; it is as tempting as eating chocolate chips before using them. But, opening the oven window frequently leads to the hot air escaping and inconsistencies in the baking temperature thereafter.

If you open the oven too often, your food won't bake at the correct temperature.

Once the baking time is up, check the baked foods with a fork or skewer. If they look done on top and are still raw in the middle, cover the top of the cake with foil and pop it back in to fully bake the middle. Keep your oven door closed until you have to, and you'll avoid baking mishaps significantly.

Not using a scale

Over and under-measuring ingredients can mess up your dish completely. Even a pinch of salt can ruin your cake's texture and taste. Getting the right measurements every time is imperative- especially when you're working with precise recipes.

Equip yourself with a food scale to get the most accurate results. This will, in turn, ensure that you get the perfect measurement of every ingredient that goes into your mixing bowl. Buy a set of measuring cups as well; using the bowls available at home is never a good idea. Adding the right amount of ingredients helps your bread, cakes, and cookies taste better and adds consistency to your baking.

Representative image: iStock/urbazon

Using ingredients at the wrong temperature

Most of the time, when you're cooking dinner or lunch, you don't pay close attention to the temperature of the oven. But, when it comes to baking, the temperature of each ingredient and equipment plays a vital role.

The best way to avoid a big mess is to preheat the oven before baking the items.

Pro Tip: Read the recipes carefully; most baking recipes require the butter to be at room temperature. So, be sure to remove the butter from the refrigerator well beforehand so that it isn’t frozen when you need to begin the baking process.

Not letting the baked item rest

We get it; after spending a substantial amount of time preparing and mixing the ingredients, you just can't wait to serve it to your kids or guests. The second it comes out of the oven, you quickly jump into the next steps, whether it's slicing it into a loaf of bread or putting the icing on the cake you've worked so hard on… because you just want to taste the fruit of your labour!

But here's the thing, when you don't let the baked goods cool off after they come out of the oven, you might encounter new problems. Problems like ruining the texture of bread or unappetizing frosting.

So we recommend allowing the baked goodies to cool off for a bit; while you don't have to wait for them to completely cool off, give them a few minutes to release some heat before you dig in. After all, anything you make is worth the wait.

Not using an electric mixer

Several new bakers ignore electric mixers as they assume their arm strength will help them out. However, various baking items have ingredients that need to be beaten together until they reach a certain consistency. Arm strength would never give you the same results and would also increase baking time.

A wide variety of electric mixers will help you get through the process efficiently and more swiftly. Where different mixers do exist for various recipes, we recommend opting for a standard electric mixer.

Representative image: iStock/valentinrussanov

Practice and patience are your best friends when it comes to baking. There will be plenty of mistakes along the way, but don't let them bog you down. Learn from them and excel.

Happy baking!

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