For the first time bakers, knowing these basic baking techniques and these baking tips will make your journey in the amazing world of baking more fun and easy. You will find that these baking techniques will crop up again and again and so it is best to master these basic baking techniques so you can be ready to bake anything from cookies, to tarts, to pies and puddings, to cakes!
Preheating the Oven
Almost every baking recipe requires you to preheat your oven before you begin the actual baking. This is so your oven can gather enough heat before it can bake your goodies; think of it as a warm up before the workout, but with ovens. This baking technique is simple and straightforward: you just turn on your oven according to the temperature stated in the baking recipe. Ten minutes of pre-heating seems to work best if you are a little bit concerned of the time.
In baking, the dry ingredients (for example, flours, sugars, baking powder) almost always need to be sifted over the dough or the batter. And for a good reason! Aside from separating clumps of unwanted elements, sieved flour is also important to aerate the dough or the batter, yielding more volume. Baking tip for sieving: use a sifter that is completely dry and when sifting over your bowl, tap the sifter gently and slowly from a good distance.
Air is important in baking, especially for baking recipes such as cakes and cookies. Air makes your finished product softer and more chewy. And so folding can be a delicate baking technique because its main goal is to mix ingredients without deflating your dough or batter. So, one of the baking tips in folding is to do it one step at a time. Do not fold in huge amounts of ingredients into the batter all at once to keep your folding gentle.
Rubbing in Method
For this baking technique called rubbing in method (or rub in method), you are simply combining the butter into the flour, but instead of creating a creamy or runny texture, you want the mixture to resemble chunks or crumbs. This baking technique is often used in baking breads and pastry. Baking tip for the rubbing-in method: you should keep a light touch so as not to put pressure on the butter.
The creaming method aerates the batter and is often used for baking cakes and cookies. In this baking technique, the butter and sugar are creamed or blended together before any other ingredient can be mixed in. You know you are done once the butter and sugar mix is pale, light, and of course, creamy. Make sure that you will not under-cream as this may result to a tough and dry texture in the finished product, which is the complete opposite of what you are trying to do.
This baking technique is most often used for baking meringues as well as decorating your cakes with pretty shapes. Before you can perfect this baking technique, piping takes a lot of practice and patience. Baking tip: explore different sizes and shapes of corner snips to find what works best for you – the smaller ones are good for slow and steady while the larger ones are quicker. Also, squeeze the bag instead of pinching the corner opening for more even flow.
Blind Baking Method
Blind baking works best for baking recipes where the casing takes longer to bake than its filling, such as in pies and tarts. What you do when you blind bake is you pre-cook the pastry casings before adding the filling and baking it again. This is to prevent your pastry (especially the bottom part) to be under-cooked and soggy.