Baking isn’t nearly as forgiving as cooking. It requires great precision and the baker must be extremely careful about how they go about it. Technique, method and timing are everything in baking. However, most of the time we don’t even realise how easily we dismiss some of the most crucial steps. Here are some of the most common mistakes which can occur while baking and how they may be avoided.
- Not reading the recipe properly
This is perhaps the most common mistake which is made by people while baking. Most of us fail to go through the entire list of ingredients required and the instructions which are given. We tend to add on things as we go. The problem that happens with this is we tend to presume some of the crucial steps and use substitutes hurriedly while failing to make sure if the replacement is good enough or not. Hence, it’s important to take out enough time to read through the entire recipe and procedure before starting the baking process. This will give you a general idea of what is required and you’ll know exactly what you must do.
- Double-checking all the ingredients
People are usually careless about the quality of ingredients that they’re using while baking. You must ensure that you’re not using ingredients which have passed their expiry dates. Certain items, like baking soda, may look fresh even when they’ve been lying around for a very long time. However, if it’s gone bad, it can have a negative effect on your baked goods.
- Failing to measure the ingredients
One of the worst things that many people do is not measuring the ingredients before using them. Even experts make sure that they measure, precisely, everything that they’re incorporating into their baking. Remember that the ingredients can’t make up for one another on its own if something has been added more or less than is required. Something as minute as a little too much sugar won’t just sweeten your cake but also create an imbalance in the mixture with other ingredients. Again, excessive baking soda can result in the cake having a metallic tinge to it. So, it’s important to maintain the proper ratio of everything as instructed in the recipe.
- Overmixing the batter
Many people tend to make this mistake. What they fail to realise is that while mixing the batter is important, overmixing it can result in a disaster. The texture of a cake is meant to be very tender and soft. There is an increase in the gluten formation when the batter is overmixed, making it extremely dense which results in the cake being tough.
- Not preheating the oven
Almost every baking recipe includes an important instruction which is more than often overlooked. This is to pre-heat the oven prior to placing the batter in it. It’s an essential part of baking as it ensures that the entire batter receives uniform heat to be baked evenly. Failing to pre-heat the oven can result in a cake which is unevenly baked or may even ruin the cake completely.
These are some general mistakes that are common in most kitchens. You must understand how your equipment and ingredients work, individually and together. As long as you stick to a few basic do’s and don’ts, your baking skills won’t fail you.