They say cooking is an art and baking is a science. But for real, passionate bakers, baking is both an art and a science.
It is a science because coming up with a perfect confection that has a balance of flavours and great texture means strictly following a process. Not measuring the flour, for instance, or just eye-balling the amount of butter or yoghurt needed for the recipe, could result in a poor yield.
But baking is an art too. Baking is not just about sticking to the recipe at hand and carefully measuring the ingredients. It also involves a lot of experimenting, discovering new flavours, and adding finishing touches to make sure you’ve got one, beautiful and really delightful treat on your plate.
It just follows that to be a good baker, you’ve got to master the two sides of this craft – the science and the art. It is not enough that you are well-versed in the technical side of baking. You must also have the passion and artistic mindset.
Being a great baker is something you can work on. And we’ve got some really nice tips for you.
Every good baker knows the importance of measuring ingredients. Measuring cups and spoons are basic tools that you should have in your kitchen. Using a kitchen scale does not only make baking easier and faster, it is also a way to ensure consistency of your baked good, which means you would have better cakes, brownies and cookies each and every time!
Using the right tools.
You really don’t have to have all those baking tools and equipment like Master Chef. But getting the right tools that you can use most of the time can save you a lot of time and energy, and increases your chances of producing perfectly baked treats. They include baking trays, oven thermometer, parchment paper, rubber or silicone spatulas (it pays to have different sizes), bench scraper, whisks, and bowls (you want small and big bowls). An electric mixer is really a good investment, especially if you’re the type of person who bakes on a regular basis. Go for good quality mixers. While they may seem somehow expensive, the price is really worth it.
Go for fresh, quality ingredients.
Apart from the recipe and baking processes, another factor that affects the outcome of your baked good are the ingredients you use. It is not a good idea to stock a lot of baking ingredients (baking soda and powder, flour, yeast, and flavourings), especially if you don’t really make big batches. Just have a little of each important ingredient in your pantry so anytime you feel like baking, you don’t have to rush to the store. Furthermore, always go for quality ingredients. There are confections that only need very few ingredients, such as brownies and cookies. Most brownie recipes you will find would have similar major ingredients. And because of this, you want to make sure you are using the best available in your area. Here at Dello Mano, our chefs use fresh Australian butter, free-range eggs direct from the farm, and high quality Belgian chocolates. Combining these special ingredients and lots of care and love results in our best-selling luxury brownies.
Use more chocolate (and more often).
Adding chocolates to your confection is one of the best ways to boost its flavour. Go ahead and pour that sweet chocolate ganache all over your cake, decorate your sugar cookies with melted chocolate, let no ice cream go un-sauced, and give white chocolate the attention it deserves!
Experiment with flavours.
You probably have that old book passed by your grandma to your mum and handed down to you. Surely, all those recipes there are just phenomenal. But don’t be afraid to experiment with your own flavours. Yes, this is the artistic part of baking. And the most fun too! Sometimes, you will find yourself frustrated because the taste isn’t what you expected it to be. But as you become more familiar with the different flavours, you are sure to come up with a majestic treat! You don’t have to go all the way to making your own recipe immediately. You can start by making small adjustments to your favourite baking recipes.
Becoming a better baker is most of the time a trial-and-error experience. But it is fun and really satisfying, especially once you come up with your own creation. Hope these tips can help you become the baker you’ve always dreamed of.
Have more best baking tips to share? Feel free to post in the comment section below.