When lockdown first started (can you believe it’s almost a year ago already?) everyone and their aunty were baking up a storm. If you never got into that craze but feel like you might want to give it a whirl now after all, you need to have at least some form of an idea of what you’re doing.
Don’t be intimidated by what you see on Master Chef. Baking really can be fun and rewarding, and of course, you get to make your favourite snack or dessert to dig into or share with loved ones.
So, if you’re a complete beginner, here are some helpful things to keep in mind before you start. Bon appetit!
1. Read the recipe before you start
Don’t just come hungry, come prepared. You don’t want to be halfway through your baking journey just to discover you’re missing some ingredients, or didn’t turn the oven on in time.
2. Keep your ingredients at room temperature
Baking has much to do with science and the ingredients work better when they’re at room temperature than cold, as they will emulsify much better. Trust us on this.
3. Don’t melt your margarine, rather let it soften
Some recipes specify to use softened margarine, meaning not just straight out of the fridge. Softened means still solid but soft enough to mix well with your ingredients. Don’t fall for the temptation to stuff it in the microwave, as the consistency will not be the way the recipe calls for. Rather take it out of the fridge long enough beforehand to gradually soften.
4. Learn how to measure
Since baking is a science, getting the measurements correct is as important as the method. You will need to know the correct way of measuring different ingredients, and here YouTube is your friend. Leave the eye-measuring to your granny who’s been doing it for years.
5. Sift dry ingredients
Dry ingredients like flour and baking powder should always be sifted, even if the recipes don’t say so. This will make for a better and smoother consistency once mixing together and avoid any clumps – a baker’s worst nightmare.
6. Leave that oven door alone
Your oven temperature is an absolutely essential part of a great end result. The rule of thumb is to only open the oven door when you put your baked goods in and when it’s time to take it out. We know it’s tempting and you’re keen to see how all your hard work is panning out, but you could risk a flop if you let in cold air. Patience is a virtue.