Golden rules for better bakes
Measure out your ingredients carefully – a little more or less can affect the end result. Digital scales are best (rather than cups). With spoon measurements, lightly level the surface with the back of a knife. Have everything weighed out before you start – even liquids – so that you won’t be waiting around at crucial moments.
GET TO KNOW YOUR OVEN
Most ovens vary in temperature despite what the thermostat says. An oven thermometer is a really good investment as it takes away all the guesswork. Preheat the oven (unless otherwise stated) – most cakes need an initial blast of heat to get them rising as quickly as possible. Bake on the middle shelf for the most even results, and don’t leave the door open for too long.
FOLLOW THE RECIPE
Part of the fun of baking is adapting and playing with recipes, but it’s best to master them as written before you start substituting ingredients and adjusting quantities. Baking is a science and each ingredient plays its part, so get to know your recipes before making changes.
Baking is a science and each ingredient plays its part, so get to know your recipes before making changes.”
TAKE YOUR TIME
Cool cakes completely before icing, give bread time to properly prove before baking, and thoroughly chill pastry before lining and cooking. If you don’t have time to do everything in one go, think about what can be made ahead.
USE YOUR SENSES
Think of the timings in recipes as a guide. The temperature and humidity of your kitchen, the freshness of your ingredients and the accuracy of your oven will all make a difference. Make a note of the smell, look and feel of your bakes so that you know what to look out for next time.