Love to bake but feel like you sometimes do not get the end result you were hoping for? The secret is usually with the technique. It’s time to go back to the basics and break down the top techniques you may not have known you needed to master to be a baking pro.
Baking is a wonderful pastime and a common way to relax. Psychologists have even found that the act of baking may help improve your mood. However, before you can truly enjoy the mindful benefits of baking, it’s important to master the basics.
You may have the best intentions when you start that cake, torte or another treat, but one wrong step and your baking smile can turn into a scowl. If your goal is to achieve #nomorebakingfails, we've got a few tips you probably didn't know you needed to master but will make all the difference in the kitchen. For more helpful step-by-step videos, tips and tricks, visit BetterYourBake.com.
Tip #1: Separating egg whites and yolks
Many recipes call for either egg whites or yolks, so you'll need to know how to separate the protein (the white) from the fat (the yolk). Yolks add richness to a batter, while whipped whites act as a natural leavening agent. Fortunately, separating eggs is surprisingly simple. For perfectly separated eggs: Begin with clean, washed hands and hold the egg firmly and tap against a hard surface. Next, pry apart the shell and discard the half without the egg. Pour the yolk into your palm and filter the egg whites through your fingers and into a bowl to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria from the eggshell.
Tip #2: Whisking the right way
Most bakers believe whisking is solely about getting the right circular motion, but is that really the most efficient way? Science says this motion doesn’t allow for proper aeration. Rather, side-to-side whisking creates the best shear force, allowing one layer of the liquid to move toward another layer, creating air channels for the ingredients to become fully mixed.
Tip #3: How to brown butter
With an incredible toasty, nutty flavor and aroma, brown butter is a simple ingredient that will enhance the overall flavor of nearly any dish that calls for butter. Start by slicing chilled unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to a light-colored, stainless steel saucepan and melt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a whisk or spatula to avoid burning. As the butter begins to foam, the color will change from yellow to light brown. Trick: Spoon some of the melted butter onto a white dish. Brown flecks mean it's done.
Tip #4: Rolling cookie dough
Do you love making cutout cookies but avoid it because of the flour that seems to get on every surface of your kitchen in the rolling process? Rolling cookie dough doesn't have to be messy! Start by cutting two pieces of parchment paper to fit a baking sheet. Place slightly chilled cookie dough between the sheets and use a rolling pin in the center to roll away from your body, rotating often to ensure an even thickness. Finally, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to solidify fat and retain its shape before peeling off the top layer of parchment paper. Now you're ready for the fun part: cookie cutters!
Tip #5: Preventing cookie-cutter stick
With your cookie dough prepared and rolled, it's time to pick your cookie cutters. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on the counter and dip the cookie cutter into the flour before stamping it firmly into the dough. This minuscule amount of flour doesn't change the consistency of the dough, and it's a helpful way to promote clean cookie stamps without the bothersome stick.
Tip #6: Filling a pastry bag for piping
Did you know you can create a pastry bag with items you already have at home? Start with a resealable plastic bag and trim the corner to create a tip. Next, open the bag and place it in a tall glass, folding the sides onto the outside of the glass. Use a spatula to fill 2/3 of the bag with filling. Then, unfold the bag and squeeze the filling toward the cut corner. Finally, twist the top until firmly closed and gently squeeze to pipe your baked goods. Usher in a world of deliciously filled homemade pastries and beautifully decorated desserts!
Tip #7: Continue to learn
By learning smart tips and tricks, you'll start baking with confidence. With more than a century’s worth of experience, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned a reputation as the world’s leading manufacturer of premium, pure vanilla extracts. The company is unveiling new baking technique videos, pro tips from their team and delicious seasonal recipes. Visit BetterYourBake.com to follow along and get involved in the baking conversation by sharing your master creations using #BetterYourBake.