Bakers' Hints and Tips
From rolls to dessert, these tips will help you turn out perfect baked goods for every course of your meal.
- Preheat your oven before you mix the ingredients or, for yeast breads, after rising.
- Measure liquid ingredients in a glass measure on a flat surface, lining up the markings at eye level.
- Measure dry ingredients in a dry measuring cup, leveling the top with a straight-edged blade.
- Stir all-purpose flour before measuring. It is not necessary to sift it. Cake flour does need sifting.
- Choose your bakeware according to its browning ability. Shiny bakeware reflects heat and slows the browning process, making it ideal for shortbread and soft-crust breads. Cookware with a dull finish and glass baking dishes will absorb more heat and brown crusts much more quickly, which is perfect for piecrusts, cookies, coffee cakes, and crusty breads.
- When making cutouts, try to get as many biscuits or cookies as you can from the first rolling. Too many rerollings may cause the dough to become tough and dry.
- For yeast breads, use active dry yeast that has not passed its expiration date and a thermometer to make sure the heat of the liquid won't kill the yeast.
- Grease muffin cups and baking pans on the bottoms and only halfway up the sides to prevent unwanted rims around the edges of quick breads.
- For even baking, bake on one rack of your oven and allow space between baking sheets or dishes for the warm air to circulate.
- To avoid soggy sides and bottoms, cool baked foods in the pans only as long as the recipe directs, then transfer the baked goods to a wire rack to finish cooling.