Top 10 things you should know about baking

Be well prepared

Baking can be simple as long as you have all your ingredients ready and have a picture in your head of the steps you have to do. My advice is: Read the recipe in advance and be familiar with it. Pre-measure all the ingredients and place them in front of you in the sequence of their usage. For cakes, especially large ones, allow them to rest for 12 to 24 hours before cutting and serving as this allows the flavours to settle and mature

Get the right baking equipment

You need to get the basic baking equipment such as a pan and mixing bowl. One thing you must have is a mixer. That is most important. Having a processor is an option, but a mixer is very important. It is needed to get you started.

Use only fresh ingredients

Always use fresh, quality ingredients. For example, if using fruits, fresh is always best as opposed to tinned fruits, frozen or dried

Measure ingredients accurately

Always check on the amount of each ingredient required. One tablespoon and half a tablespoon can make a lot of difference. - Catherine Lau, Cooking Instructor/Author

Use the correct methods

When making biscuits, use the creamy method so that the biscuit will turn out very light and crispy. If you use the mixing in method, ingredients need to be well-mixed so that ingredients are incorporated well to give a lighter texture.

Get the right temperature

99 per cent of all recipes call for the oven to be preheated, which means to turn the oven on for 3 - 5 minutes at the desired temperature before baking. Measure the temperature with an oven thermometer to make sure it's at the right temperature.

Grease baking tins & pans

Grease tins/pans using a piece of paper towel rubbed with a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and sides of the tin/pan. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the tin/pan using a paper towel.�

 Don't crowd the oven

If more than one pan is being baked, they should never touch each other, or the sides of the oven. They should also not be over or under each other on the racks.�

 Proper storage

Cakes, pies and biscuits are all of different textures, hence they require different storage facilities. Do store cakes and biscuits in a cool, dry place on its base for a week. Refrigerate for stronger life. For sponge cakes, spray a little bit of sugar syrup onto it and lightly bake in a preheated oven at 165°C for 4 - 6 minutes, covered in a brown paper bag.

Love & focus

To achieve the best result in baking and cooking, you should give as much love and care as you can. Pay attention to all the methods and weigh the ingredients correctly Baking requires a lot of concentration and dedication, therefore it does not really matter what you are actually baking as long as you understand your ingredients. In addition, you should also be cautious during baking, and constantly monitor the process.
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