Home baking is more popular today than it has ever been. As a result, more people than ever are creating their favourite recipes, getting them from baking books and websites as well as creating their own great tasting cakes.
At the same time, more people baking, particularly for the first time, means that more of us are falling into making simple mistakes that can seriously undermine our efforts to bake. The problem with these baking mistakes is that we don’t realise we’re making them, as most of the time they won’t be common knowledge unless you’re a seasoned and experienced baker.
What then happens is that we decide that we’re not very good at baking, then never do it again. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
We’ve looked at the top five baking mistakes you probably don’t realise you’re making, and how you can avoid them.
Using Plastic Bowls or Utensils
It might seem a little over the top to consider the materials used to mix your cake mixture a mistake, but plastic can actually seriously undermine your ability to create the perfect cake or icing.
This is due to the petrol that is included in the chemical make-up of plastic. It stops eggs frothing and peaking. Therefore, if you’ve ever tried whipping up eggs in a plastic bowl and with a plastic spoon, and have failed miserably, you now know why!
Glass bowls are much better for mixing, while a metal bowl is ideal, with wooden or metal utensils.
Ruining Melted Chocolate with Water
If you’re a traditionalist, you’ll melt chocolate using a bowl sat over a pan of hot water, rather than taking a shortcut such as using the microwave to do it.
However, this does come with risks, the biggest one being that getting so much as a drop of water in your melted chocolate can play havoc with the consistency and ruin it, whether you’re using it as a central part of the recipe or as an icing base or cake covering.
Not Reading the Recipe Properly
Okay, so this point could perhaps be blamed at least somewhat on websites and books that publish recipes and introduce new pieces of equipment or pointers later, but in reality it is down to you to make sure you’ve read the whole thing first.
What will you avoid by ensuring you read the recipe? Primarily, silly mistakes such as using ingredients chilled in the fridge, or that you need to leave something overnight before eating the next day. Not a problem if you’re baking at home for fun, but if you’re impressing guests at a dinner party, you could have an issue.
Make sure you get your recipe read in its entirety!
Substituting without Thinking
This is both a mistake and a natural consequence of experimenting with baking. With this in mind, we’ll make this point into two.
If you’re cooking from a recipe, make sure you follow it to the letter, and don’t make any assumptions around being able to simply swap one thing for another. Using baking powder instead of baking soda is the classic mistake that many make, while others take the equally cavalier mindset that it “doesn’t matter” if they miss something out or add something else instead.
At the same time, if you’re experimenting with your own recipes, go ahead and play around all you want!