Baking is something that is perfect for purveying myths. After all, whether you look online or in the bestselling baking books, you can always find plenty of disagreeing advice and conflicting pointers as to what you should be doing.
On top of this, many of us have our own entrenched beliefs about how we should approach baking.
Here are the top five baking myths that we most regularly hear, and the truth behind them.
Measuring Cups and Spoons Always Work
Okay, time for some full disclosure here. We do say to use measuring cups and spoons, as they are the best way to get the measures you need to make the perfect cake. However, many measuring spoons and other utensils are known to be less than perfect in terms of their measurements.
We’re talking in small volumes, so you’ll never end up with way too much or too little of something. The best approach to take is probably to do whatever you feel most comfortable with, whether that be a measuring spoon or a set of kitchen scales.
You Must Preheat Your Oven
This is only an essential if you’re baking over a short period and are baking things like cupcakes. If you’re cooking at high temperatures for an extended period of time, we’re talking over an hour, then you don’t need to preheat your oven if you don’t want to.
Many modern ovens heat up very quickly anyway, so preheating is often somewhat academic.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder Last Forever
Unfortunately, baking soda and baking powder don’t last forever like a tin of food might do. The best way to look at these products is individually, too.
We wouldn’t recommend the overly frugal approach when it comes to keeping your baking products, however. You naturally want to create great tasting cakes each time you bake, so even if you’re not a regular baker you should look to buy fresh ingredients every six months. If you’re a baking enthusiast and do it regularly, then you’ll use your baking soda and baking powder well before then, anyway.
You Must Not Open the Oven
While maintaining the oven temperature is important to creating consistently baked cakes, you do need to rotate your cakes when baking, so you will have to open the oven on occasion. The trick is to make sure you do it quickly and aren’t messing around for more than 30 seconds to a minute while rotating cakes or swapping trays and shelves.
The exception is if you’re baking something dependent on a consistent oven temperature, such as a soufflé, and where opening the oven would potentially ruin the whole recipe.
Alcohol Fully Bakes Off
Alcohol does bake off and evaporate in the oven, but it never 100% disappears from your recipe. You don’t need to worry about people getting drunk when they eat your cakes, but you should be aware that alcohol content will remain, although the main impact it has will always be in the taste.
Remember these myths the next time someone tells you you’re doing something wrong, or the next time you’re looking up a recipe online or in a book. Forget them, put yourself at ease, and focus on creating great tasting cakes every time.