If we say baking is an art, it would not be wrong. In art we need to get command on its basics for a perfect artist. In same way, we need to know basics of baking for being an expert. Baking is not like cooking. In baking, the recipe alone is just 60% important and 40% is important to learn the skill behind baking, in order to get the 100% result. While cooking you can adjust spices even at the end or substitute ingredients. In most of baking recipes you cannot alternate oil for butter and get perfect results. Different ingredients will give different results. But sometimes it’s ok, likewise if you do not have vanilla essence, you can use another flavor or rose water.
Utensils & Other Things you Need:
• A wide and deeper mixing bowl
• Spatula and electric beater
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Baking pan and cookie tray
• Cookie cutters
• Butter or brown paper
Information About Oven:
• Read all the instructions carefully mentioned in booklet of oven, so you know how to operate it.
• Run your oven at the highest temperature for approximately 15 minutes to eliminate any packing residue and to remove all traces of odor initially present.
• You must understand different levels of oven. Top level of the oven is best for high temperature cooking, middle is good for moderate temperature cooking and bottom level is best for slow cooking.
• For baking mostly middle level is used.
Selection of Baking Pan:
Selection of appropriate baking pan size is also important for a perfect baking result.
• Different recipes call for different sizes of baking pans. Look at your recipes to see what sizes of baking pans are called for. Usually 6x6 inches round pan uses in most recipes.
• A narrow rectangle pan uses for baking loaf, fruit cake and bread.
• A specific pan is required for pizza and muffin/cup cakes. You can also bake pizza on baking tray placed inside oven.
Common Baking Mistakes:
• Always weigh the ingredients correctly.
• Measure your ingredients carefully. Adding extra sugar can leavening causes a cake to fall and extra flour makes it dry.
• Bring your eggs and butter to room temperature before baking.
• Once you’ve put cake, pizza or other thing in the oven, don’t open the door until more then half of the baking time has passed. Because opening the oven while the baking can interrupt the cooking process.
• Mix ingredients as mentioned in the recipe. If recipe says to mix at low speed then never mix it on high speed, it causes cakes to sink in the middle. Also avoid over beating the mixture.
• Must preheat your oven. Keep a good care while setting temperature of oven.
• Make sure you always check you have the correct equipment before you start baking. Using the wrong sized or shaped pan can result differ.
Q- Why does my cake rise in the middle and then splits? Why isn't it smooth?
A- Keep care of the temperature because baking on high temperature and over baking causes the cake to rise in the middle and then splits. Also some times if baking pan is not of proper size it makes cake to rise in the middle and split. So make sure that you use the correct size of pan as called out in the recipe and of course heat is also a factor. Another thing that can essentially destroy your cakes, use fresh ingredients. Don't take out 5 month old flour and use it.
Q- Why the cake falls?
A- It could be because your oven was not hot enough or you did not bake the cake long enough, the batter was under mixed, or too much baking powder, soda, liquid or sugar was used. To avoid this, try not opening the oven door while baking and being very accurate with measuring your ingredients.
Q- Why the cake bakes dry?
A- There can be different reasons of drying cake like over beating eggs, over baking, using too much flour, baking powder, or soda, or not enough shortening or sugar.
Q- How to mix ingredients for cake?
A- Always follow the recipe exactly. There are different ways of mixing different types of cake. If a recipe calls to only mix until just combined, use a spatula (preferably) or wooden spoon to do the job. If the recipe wants you to beat for a good 2 or 3 minutes, do just that and always mix in one direction only. For some types of cakes, over mixing can result in a hard cake.
Q- When baking is done, after how much time cake should take out from the pan?
A- It is important to take the cake out of the pan immediately. Don't let it sit and cool as it will continue cooking in the pan. Just put it on a cooling rack for at least 3 hours and let it cool.