Hey friends! I am so excited about today’s post! If you know me, you know that I LOVE to bake. I’m talking get stir crazy when I haven’t done it in a while, host a party dedicated to my love for cookies, have a pinterest board a mile long of new recipes to try, LOVE to bake. My friends often ask me for tips that could help them with their baking adventures. So today I’m sharing a few of my top baking tips and tricks that I always refer back to.
Top 10 Baking Tips
- Read the recipe all the way through before you begin, and prep as much as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been burned (figuratively, that is) by not following this rule. Some doughs need to chill for hours, or even overnight before they are ready to bake. Some steps in the baking process will move very quickly, meaning you need to have your ingredients fully measured and ready to go before you begin the process. You will save yourself a lot of grief and be very thankful if you read the recipe in its entirety before you ever begin to bake.
- Speaking of that: FOLLOW THE RECIPE! If you don’t get anything else from this post, pay attention to this. It has been said that baking is more of a science, and cooking is more of an art. No matter how you feel about that statement, it holds true that your dessert will generally turn out much better if you follow every detail in the recipe. (Side note: I think this is why I love baking…I’m a rule follower and I love following detailed steps to get a certain outcome. Cooking on the other hand gives me a headache. I’ve been known to bake as a way to de-stress after cooking dinner. Thank goodness for Graham!)
- Don’t melt the butter too much! This is a huge, common mistake that can drastically alter the outcome of your dessert, especially when you’re making cookies! I’m a big fan of thick, soft, chewy cookies, and you can’t make that happen with butter that’s been melted too much. If the recipe says to soften the butter, don’t microwave it until it’s melted! It takes much less time to soften butter than you may think. If a recipe calls for butter at room temperature, pull the butter out of the refrigerator first and let it rise to room temp while you are prepping all the other ingredients. Your tastebuds will thank you if you don’t take shortcuts!
- Measure your flour correctly! This is another common mistake that I was making for years until I learned about this technique a couple years ago. Measuring flour can be very tricky. It’s not as simple as using the measuring cup to scoop the flour and calling it good. First, you should fluff the flour in its container with a spoon or whisk. Next, use a spoon to scoop the flour into your measuring cup. Finally scrape off the excess from the top with a knife or other straight edge. If you make this simple change in your technique, you will see huge improvements in your baked goods!
- Invest in a digital scale. On that note, if you want to really up your baking accuracy, go ahead and buy a digital scale. I’ve linked the scale I use below. By using the technique I described above, you can do a pretty good job measuring flour by volume. But measuring by weight is always going to be more precise!
- Be mindful while mixing. Take your time while mixing! Unless I am making an icing, or the recipe specifically calls for it, I keep my mixer on low. This allows me to watch what is happening to the dough, and to stop the mixing process before it becomes over mixed. I also use a rubber spatula to scrape the edge of my bowl multiple times during the mixing process for a consistent dough.
- Don’t over bake. Nobody likes a burnt, crispy cookie. Okay, sure, some people do, but I am not one of those people! Cookies are generally ready to be taken out of the oven when the sides are set, even if they don’t look super done in the middle. They will continue to set up while they cool, so don’t leave them in the oven too long! The same goes for many brownie and pie recipes.
- Be patient! As hard as it may be, don’t rush past the cooling process. I am a sucker for a warm cookie, but even so I still let my cookies rest for three to five minutes on the sheet before serving them. As I mentioned in the last step, this allows the cookies to set up to a perfectly soft consistency. Also, when you are baking anything that will be iced, it’s very important to allow the dessert to completely cool before you attempt to ice it. Invest in a set of cooling racks to help with this process- I’ve linked the ones I use below!
- Freeze whatever is left over! This is one of my very favorite baking tips! After I finish a batch of cookies, I roll whatever dough I have left into balls, just like I would if I were going to go ahead and bake them. I write simple baking instructions on a freezer bag, and store the cookies in these bags. By doing this, Graham and I never make more than a few cookies at a time, so that we aren’t tempted to eat a whole batch of cookies in the days after I bake. On the other hand, we nearly always have multiple types of homemade cookies in the freezer ready to be enjoyed, so it’s your call on whether or not that’s actually healthy and helpful haha. Whenever I go to bake cookies that have been frozen, I typically do not thaw them. You may have to bake them for a bit longer, but just watch for those set edges we talked about in tip 7 and you will be fine! I also am not 100% sure how long cookies can last in the freezer. They never sit around very long in our house so I haven’t had to know.
- Make it fun! Baking is pretty technical, but it can be so fun. Listen to your favorite album (read: the Moana soundtrack), catch up on a podcast, or whatever makes you happy while you bake. Most importantly, share your baking with others! That’s the best baking tip I can give 🙂
Here are a few of my favorite baking tools! I’ve used all of these tools, either at work or at home, and I own most of them! Sure, you don’t have to have a fancy mixer and all this gear to be a good baker, but it definitely makes it easier!
I hope these baking tips are helpful to you! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section! I’ve picked up these baking tips from years of testing recipes, trying out new things and seeing what works for me. But there are so many amazing baking blogs out there dedicated to helping people become better bakers! I want to end this post by linking to a few of my favorites 🙂
- Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Broma Bakery
- Gimme Some Oven
- The Baker Upstairs
- Baked By Rachel
- Handle the Heat