If you asked me four years ago to write an article on how to avoid baking mistakes, I would have told you “keep me out of the kitchen” … I couldn’t bake or at least didn’t think I could, and I certainly didn’t enjoy it.
But somehow it happened, I started with muffins, then donuts then cakes, ended up with a pastry chef certificate. What made me really interested in baking is the science behind It and the challenge. It’s way more than just mixing ingredients. It’s a science with its own rules.
You will be surprised with the amount of time I spent testing, experimenting, modifying recipes, getting frustrated and repeating over and over the same recipe until I understood what went wrong.
It’s a never-ending learning cycle, even till now, with all the baking that I’ve done, I still don’t get sometimes the same texture and consistency.
The mistakes I was making had nothing to do with the ingredients, that’s why it wasn’t easy to figure out how to fix them .
The most common baking mistakes are ;
1. Not getting familiar with your oven
It’s easy when you’re cooking on your stove top, you can directly spot if something is going wrong and adjust the heating accordingly. But when it comes to cooking in the oven, things tend to be different.
It’s difficult sometimes to know the exact temperature even if it’s showing on the oven. It’s not always accurate so having a thermometer helps.
you have to take into account that there are some hot spots in your oven. Hot spots are something that lead to the food cooking faster in some areas rather than others so it’s very important to know your oven.
Make sure to preheat your oven before putting anything in it. Using the oven before it comes to the proper temperature can lead to uneven cooking and mess up the baked goods.
Another big mistake is opening the door of the oven while it’s doing its job! What you need to know is, every time you open the oven door, the inside temperature takes a hit, and when you do this multiple times, it can lead to uneven baking.
2. Relying on estimates rather than measuring ingredients
(This one is especially for me! ) it’s very important to use measuring tools to be precise and know the quantity you need. Ingredients, both wet and dry need to be properly measured. Be consistent in the measuring tools you are using, whether cups and ounces or weight. That’s the only way to get consistently perfect outcome.
3. Changing recipe without understanding the chemistry behind baking
Sometimes we just look at a recipe and decide to replace an ingredient or simply omit one, especially if we are trying to avoid sugar or oil.
However, it’s very important to know why each ingredient was originally used in the recipe and what was its role. for example, if you’re trying to replace oil or butter in a specific recipe, but don’t substitute with another fat that takes care of the moisture, you may end up with something too dry.
Baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable! watch out for that (checkout my post about difference between baking soda and baking powder if you want to know more).
Egg Substitute; It’s not so simple. There’s isn’t one replacement that works for all. Apple Sauce, banana, flax seeds are great, but they don’t work for all types of recipes. You can either stick to what the tested vegan recipe says or take risks and experiment until you get the outcome you want.
4. Getting too rough with the batter and dough
Do not overbeat! Just mix until all ingredients are combined. over mixing will lead to tough or cracked surfaces. Flour and dry ingredients should be sifted to remove any clumps. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages. I also tend to mix batters by hand
5. Not cooling the baked goods properly
If you don’t let the baked goods cool enough and try to remove them from the pan , they could stick and the bottom of your beautiful muffin or cake will rip off and stay in the pan!
Hope that helps ! leave a comment and let me know your thoughts 🙂
Happy Baking !