One of the hardest things to master in cooking is learning how to bake. Baking requires time, patience, and practice. Try using these tips to help you learn either how to bake or make yourself a better baker. If you stick to these tips and practice them, you should be able to bake breads, cakes, and pastries with ease.
Prepare in advance as much as possible. You’ll be glad you have your prep work done when it’s time to cook. Having a deadline for an important meal or event can become quite stressful when you are starting from scratch. Prepare your food in advance if you want to minimize the stress that you feel.
When you are making stock, make a lot of it. Then save it in a plastic zip bag, date it and freeze it. That way you can pull it when you would like to make a soup. You can use it to boil some veggies in. Having some in the freezer will make preparing healthy meals very much easier.
Easy measuring cup clean up. Many baking recipes call for sticky ingredients such as butter, honey, syrup or peanut butter. Instead of having to wash out a gooey mess every time you need to reuse the measuring cup, spray the inside of the cup with non-stick cooking spray. The ingredients will slide right out and you can reuse the measuring cup right away!
Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.
Keep a potato masher in your kitchen at all times. This useful device can be used to mash more than just your typical potatoes. Try mashing carrots, cauliflower, and other root vegetables. You can mix any of these in to your usual mashed potatoes to make them more vibrant, nutritious, and interesting.
To keep your cakes from falling flat, mix dense batters by hand with a wooden spoon. Electric mixers beat too much air into the batter, causing the cakes to fall when they are baked. Meanwhile, by using a wooden spoon to gently mix thick batters like carrot cake you protect the consistency of the batter from absorbing too much air.
Frozen vegetables should only be used as a last resort in home cooking. Though they are cheap and usually available year-round, they fall far short of fresh vegetables in several important areas. Frozen vegetables have lost some of their healthy vitamins and nutrients. They often have unhealthy food additives. They also tend to taste worse than their fresh counterparts.
For fluffier pancakes, allow the batter to sit for about five minutes before you start pouring it into the pan. This will allow the flour to absorb more of the moisture in the mix, making for much lighter pancakes that will rise more when you cook them and give them that great restaurant flavor!
Optimize your efforts when making your own chicken stock. Make enough stock so that you can freeze the excess and use it later. There’s nothing better than homemade chicken stock as a flavorful base for casseroles, stews and soups. Freeze premeasured amounts of your stock in freezer proof containers or bags when cool.
How to achieve perfect scrambled eggs. Always cook your eggs in butter. Don’t be tempted to use oil. Allow two eggs per person, and beat with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Scrambled eggs should be cooked slowly over a low heat, and stirred continuously. Scrape the bottom of the pan and constantly bring the outside edges into the middle. Serve on a warm plate. Enjoy!
Make sure not to use oil in the water you are using to make pasta. This will only keep sauce from sticking to pasta when mixed together. In order to give the water a little flavor and prevent the pasta from sticking the pot, you can add in a little bit of salt.
You should take special care when you are preparing mushrooms to cook. Make sure you take the time to carefully clean each mushroom with a dry cloth or paper towel. You should not consider rinsing mushrooms in water as they will quickly become soaked and slimy. They will be easier to work with dry.
Make sure eggs are still fresh before using them. Eggs that are no longer good can cause salmonella poisoning among other deadly diseases. You can test an egg’s freshness by lowering it into a bowl of water. If it settles horizontally, it is still good. If it rises to the top, it is bad.
In addition to staples, condiments and seasonings, keep your kitchen stocked with healthy convenient foods and quick-fix items. A no-stress kitchen should include eggs and dairy, fruits, vegetables, breads, baking products, canned and bottled items, grains, refrigerated and freezer items, and condiments. When you run out of a product, don’t forget to make a note of it, so you won’t be caught out if you need it in the future.
A great grilling tip to improve flavor and consistency is to try to cut similar foods into the same size pieces. This ensures that foods stay moist and grill evenly. A nice side benefit is that it also makes your workload a little easier. By cutting out the hassle of constantly monitoring foods for doneness, you have the peace of mind of knowing your foods will all be ready right about the same time.
Save your leftover sauces, and freeze them into ice cube trays. When you’re looking for a quick meal, the sauce cubes are easily tossed into a frying or sauce pan to reheat. By keeping the frozen sauce in smaller pieces, the sauce thaws and heats quickly, and your family thinks you spent all day making a homemade meal for them!
Although there are many intricacies to baking, using these tips should allow you to become an excellent baker. There is no doubt that baking is a difficult cooking skill to master. So take your time, and do not be discouraged by minor setbacks. Practice these tips, and eventually you will get it perfect.