Baking is considered one of the toughest things to master. This is because baking is considered an exact science. Add too much of one ingredient and what you are baking will fail. Do one thing wrong in the process and the outcome will not be as you expected.
This is why it is a good idea to develop the right habits when it comes to baking. When you start doing things the wrong way and get used to it, these become really bad baking habits that may be harder to get rid of. Whatever the case may be, break them you must, and here are some of the more common ones that a lot of people tend to do:
Greasing the sides of your baking pans – when instructions for baking tell you to grease your pan, it is usually to help you easily get your cakes out of it once these are baked and cooled. One flaw of this instruction is when you are told to grease the sides of the pan as well and are not told to cover these with wax or parchment paper. If you want ease in removing cakes from your pans, it is better if you line the sides and the bottom after greasing rather than just greasing.
The reason why this is a bad habit you should break is because, for cakes to rise properly, it needs to have some friction in order for it to climb the baking pan’s sides. If the sides are greased, there will be no friction there, hence the lack of rise in your cakes. You can grease the bottom of the pan but not the sides. Instead, opt to line the sides with paper to facilitate proper rising of your cakes.
Overworking the dough – this is probably one of the most common bad habits people have when it comes to baking. Overworking your dough actually results in tough pastry, which is not what you want. The reason why overworking or kneading your dough too much results in tough dough is because it overworks the gluten in the dough.
Overworking does not only mean kneading but also shaping, stretching, rolling, and other things you do when you handle the dough. This is why noodles, which are overworked with all that kneading and stretching, is chewy and tough. It is because of this.
Not using fresh ingredients – when you bake, you should always strive to use fresh ingredients every single time. If you have flour that has been in your pantry for more than 6 months, it is likely going to be stale and will affect the outcome of your bake. If you can, always buy fresh before you bake.
The worst things you can use stale when you bake include spices (which will have a reduced flavor and will affect your product), yeast, baking soda, and other leavening agents.
Not cooling cakes enough before handling – while it is okay to grab a cookie that is fresh out of the oven, doing this with a freshly baked cake is a no-no. Cakes and breads need at least ten minutes to cool down before you can even touch these. And even then, this is only to turn them over on a rack to cool even further for the next step.
Always make sure that you have enough time to cool your cakes before you do anything with it. Don’t fiddle with it, don’t touch it, and don’t try to remove it from the pan. Just let it rest for at least ten to fifteen minutes before you even attempt anything to keep it intact.
These are just a few of the really bad habits you have to break (or try not to form in the first place) when you are baking. If you do so, you can be sure that what you bake will turn out just fine, as long as you follow the other baking instructions for it as well.