Tips every Baker Should Know This Holiday season
Baking is one of the most beloved parts of the holidays. Many of us love the aromas and flavors of the holiday baking season and the fond time to enjoy sweet and delicious desserts with family and friends. Holiday baking is a joyful and stress-relieving activity in which the whole family can get involved. To make sure that your holiday baking brings nothing but joy, you may need some handy Christmas baking hacks to help you skip all that frustration.
What Are Some Failures in Baking?
Baking is a science. Many things matter, such as method, temperature, time, etc. Here are some common failures you may come through during your baking.
- Your cookies are dry and dense
- Your cookie dough is hard
- Your cookies always stick
- Your cookies are not baking evenly
- Your cookies are flat
- Your cookies are flat
- Your cake does not rise
- Your cake comes out too dry and dense
- Your cake is stuck in the middle
- Your cake browns unevenly
- Your cake is rubbery or stiff
- Your cake has crusty edges
What Are the Five Tips for Successful Baking?
Good bakers aren’t born but made. A few minor adjustments and careful attention when baking will fix everything. Follow these five-holiday baking tips, skip all the failures, and go straight to making beautiful cookies, cakes, and baked goods.
1. Soften the butter properly
Butter that is too cold or warm will lead to dense and flat cookies, so leave your butter at room temperature before beginning to bake. Here are a few ways you can try to soften butter:
- Let your butter sit on the counter for 2-3 hours.
- Cut the refrigerated butter into small cubes, then leave it at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Soften the butter in the microwave on low power in 15-second intervals, turning the pieces after each interval.
2. Aerate during the dough mixing
If you don’t aerate your flour, your dough will be too dry. Stirring the butter with sugar creates small air bubbles that aerate the dough and help it rise in the oven. The way to mix ingredients is important. You can beat the butter and sugar with a stand mixer or hand mixer until light yellow and fluffy.
Here are some common terms you should know in baking, especially for beginners:
- Beat means stirring quickly and thoroughly to add air to the mixture.
- Blend means stirring together until combined.
- Mix means stirring until the ingredients are fully combined.
3. Measure for wet and dry ingredients accurately
Precision is a must for baking. Liquids should be measured in a glass or plastic measuring cup, which is designed for liquids with a handle and spout. Dry ingredients should be measured in smaller individual cups. When measuring the flour, scoop the flour into the measuring cup, let it overflow, and use a straight-edge sweep across the top to make it even.
4. Check the oven temperature
All ovens are slightly different, so many don’t match the temperature called for in the recipe. Before starting a recipe, check the temperature required in the recipe and adjust the baking time as needed. Most recipes require the oven to be preheated, which means getting the oven to the correct temperature before you put the item in. Preheat time varies by oven.
5. Pick the right tools
Want to level up your baking game? Consider these top baking tools recommended by our team.
With a powerful 800-watt motor and three included accessories (a flat beater, a dough hook, and a wire whisk), the Ventray SM600 Stand Mixer will whip, knead, and whisk all your ingredients powerfully. A 6.35-quart stainless steel mixing bowl is a good choice for baking large quantities of bread dough. Plus, its tilt-head design allows you to easily access the bowl.
Temperature accuracy is important for baking. This Rubbermaid Instant Read Oven Thermometer features an easy-to-read dial, a 60 to 580 F temperature range, and durable stainless steel construction, making it handy when baking recipes with non-standard temperatures. Just place it in the oven, so you know the actual baking temperature all the time.
Cooling Rack Set
Anyone with limited countertop space will love this Ironwood Gourmet Stackable Cooling Rack Set. It’s stackable to save space and features a sleek non-stick chrome finish for easy release and quick cleanup. This cooling rack allows air to circulate, providing a proper cooling spot for your freshly baked cookies and hot dishes. Three racks are included.
This Ventray PRO 600 Blender will be a boon for anyone looking to speed up a special recipe. With a powerful motor that can boost up to 30,000 RPM, this blender can easily grind and smooth all your ingredients in seconds. Plus, thanks to its precisely controllable 8-speed settings, it can make anything from silky green smoothies to creamy soups.
Silicone Baking Mat
A quality silicone baking mat is a must-have because it’s non-stick and reusable, saving you money and the hassle of over-cleaning. Made from a dedicated silicone and reinforced fiberglass mesh, this Silpat Silicone Baking Mat can replace the need for butter, grease, oil, and sprays, spending less time cleaning up and more time enjoying baking.
How Do You Make Gingerbread Keep Their Shape?
Chill the dough – When you’ve made the dough and let it sit for at least an hour, cut out the gingerbread cookie shapes and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or more before baking.
Turn up the oven temperature – Baking the cookies at a higher temperature helps gingerbread cookies rise quickly and hold their shape during baking.
Why Does My Gingerbread Always Sink in The Middle?
Baking soda is a very active raising agent. Adding too much baking soda will cause the gingerbread to rise up a lot during baking, then sink dramatically. To prevent gingerbread from sinking in the middle, try mixing the baking soda with the wet ingredients, then coarsely beat some of the batter to strengthen the flour. This will give your gingerbread a sturdier texture while retaining its moisture.
Which Ingredient Makes Cookies Moist and Tender?
Adding a tablespoon of molasses or honey to a standard-sized cookie recipe can add moisture to your cookies, resulting in a moist, soft texture. One tablespoon is just enough. More than a tablespoon will make your cookies super sweet and fluffy.
What Gives Cookies More Flavor?
Some complex proteins, like malted milk powder and browned butter, can bring bright flavor to your cookies. Adding vanilla will also give these cookies more taste and bring out the chocolate flavor.
When to Make Christmas Cake?
Making Christmas cakes is one of the best Christmas traditions. You’d better make it two or three months before Christmas because the cake needs to be fed at regular intervals with a high ABV like brandy, rum, and whisky to help mature it.