General Baking Tips
For the best baking results, make sure all ingredients are fresh.
Use accurate measurements and the proper measuring cups. Use metal or plastic measuring cups for dry ingredients and glass measuring cups with spouts for liquid ingredients.
Dry ingredients should be mixed together thoroughly before adding liquids.
Before measuring shortening or butter, dip the measuring spoon into hot water and it will easily slide out of the spoon.
After measuring shortening for a recipe, use the same measuring cup for the sugar. Once the sugar is added, you can easily scoop out the remaining shortening and sugar with a spatula.
When a recipe calls for packed brown sugar, fill the measuring cup with sugar, press it down firmly with a spoon or your fingers and level it off with the edge of a butter knife or spatula.
Preheat the oven 10 to 15 minutes prior to baking unless otherwise directed.
When using glass baking pans, reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.
Use the center oven rack unless otherwise directed.
Since oven temperatures vary, its a good idea to check your food 5 to 10 minutes before the end of the recommended baking time.
To hold a mixing bowl in place when you are whipping or blending ingredients, place a damp cloth or grip shelf liner under the bowl.
When baking, it is best to allow ingredients, such as eggs, butter, and milk, to become room temperature before mixing with other ingredients.
Be sure eggs are fresh and cold when you have to separate the whites from the yolks.
When whipping egg whites:
- Be sure there is no yolk in the whites.
- The whites should be at room temperature.
- The bowl and beaters must be clean.
- A pinch of salt added to egg whites will help them whip up more quickly.
When whipping cream, the cream, bowl, and beaters should be chilled to produce the best volume.
Chill a glass or stainless steel bowl for whipping cream by filling a sealable bag with ice cubes and then placing the bag in the bowl for 5 or 10 minutes.
When making a two-crust pie, moisten the edge of the bottom crust with water before placing the second crust on top. The moistened edge will help create a good seal once the two crusts are crimped together.
Keep the crust of a custard pie from becoming soggy by carefully adding a raw egg in the shell of the pie crust. Slowly swirl the egg around the pie crust shell until the crust has all been coated with egg white. Once it is coated, pour the remainder of the egg use it in the filling.
Prevent meringue from shrinking by adding it to the pie while the filling is still hot and making sure that it is touching the crust around all the edges.
Rather than discarding pie crust scraps, lightly butter them, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake until golden brown.
For best results when making pastries, use whole milk rather than low-fat or fat free milk.
White or milk chocolate make better chocolate shavings because they are a softer chocolate and will curl better.
For cake-like brownies, increase the amount of eggs used. For chewier brownies, decrease the amount of eggs used.
For baking recipes that call for oil, replace half or all the oil with applesauce to produce a low-fat version of the recipe. Reduce baking time to prevent the recipe from becoming too dry.
To keep a layer cake in place on the cake plate, place a dab of frosting on the cake plate before adding the bottom layer. This will hold the cake in place while you are frosting it.
When making powdered sugar frosting, add a pinch of baking powder to make the frosting creamier and keep it from cracking.
Dust the surface of a cake with cornstarch to prevent the frosting from running off.
Have drop cookie dough on hand and ready to bake by making up a large batch of dough, roll the cookies into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer. When the cookies have frozen, take them off the cookie sheets, place in a freezer proof sealable bag and store in the freezer. When you want fresh baked cookies, just take them from the freezer, place them on a cookie sheet and bake. They do not need to be thawed.
Use powdered sugar instead of flour when rolling out sugar cookies. The powdered sugar will add sweetness to the cookies and you won't have to worry about adding too much flour.