10 Tips for Beginner Bakers

Baking can feel like a daunting task sometimes but it does not have to be that way.

There are a few mistakes you can make when you start baking. These mistakes  can limit your success in the kitchen. Here are a few tips for beginner bakers that are sure to help you in your baking journey.

1. Start simple and learn the basics

Start baking simple recipes and learn the basic techniques. This will make applying them to advanced or expert level recipes easier.

Importantly, starting with simple recipes will help you feel accomplished when you make them successfully. This success will encourage you to bake more and try new recipes. 
Successfully baking a pound cake could encourage you to try an angel food cake recipe.

 2. Always bake with room temperature ingredients except if the recipe calls for otherwise. 

A lot of recipes call for room temperature ingredients.  This makes ingredients easier to mix and ensures better creaming of butter and sugar in cakes. Room temperature egg whites whip up faster as well.

Furthermore, when you put a cold batter in the oven, the baking process does not start immediately as the batter first has to come to a room temperature. Cold cookies dough does not spread as much room temperature cookie dough. The importance of the temperature of baking ingredients cannot be underestimated.

3. Weigh all your ingredients.

This is an especially important tip for beginner bakers. You should get a digital scale for this purpose. It may surprise you how much the weight of flour can change when measured with cups. The weight can vary by as much as 5 — 30grams or more if you do not measure properly. 

Weigh your ingredients for consistent and specific results at all times. Precision baking provides amazing results. 
Weighing ingredients also make it easier to scale down a recipe. It is quite hard to measure a 1/8th cup of flour precisely but you can weigh a 1/4th of a cup and divide the weight by 2 to get a 1/8th of a cup.

4. Mix smaller quantities by hand.

Baking is now incredibly convenient with the use of stand mixers. When testing new recipes and baking small quantities, mix them by hand. This is for a few reasons. First of all, you will be able to tell the proper texture of your dough or batter especially if you are trying a new recipe. 

Secondly, you will not over mix your batter or dough. It is easy to over mix a small recipe when you use a mixer.

5. Follow the recipe. 

As obvious as this may seem, a lot of amateur bakers do not follow this tip. To bake amazing treats, read the recipe and instructions once before you bake.
So, you have mixed a dough and it still seems sticky, unless it calls for it, do not add flour. Not following the recipe properly the first time you make it is a path to baking disasters. Seasoned bakers can change things up the first time they make a recipe because they are familiar with baking ratios. 

Also, some seasoned bakers have a good knowledge of baker’s percentage and can alter recipes using this guide.

6. Learn about baker’s percentages. 

Baking is a science. Reading about baking formulas and the ideal percentage of each ingredient relative to the amount of flour in a recipe will positively affect your baking. While it is not compulsory to study baker’s percentage, this knowledge will help you when you are changing up recipes to suit your needs. 
Read about Baker's percentage here and here.

7. Do not use ingredients of inferior quality

 When you bake, you are bringing together a few or many components to create something beautiful. It may be tempting to use the cheapest products but do not do this. You do not need to buy the most expensive items, just the best quality you can afford.
Poor quality ingredients can make even the best of recipes seem subpar or just unappealing. Do not take the time and effort to make a recipe and have it diminished by inferior products like bad cocoa powder or grainy icing sugar.

8. Mise en Place (everything in its place) 

Arrange all the ingredients of the recipe you wish to make before you start baking. This helps to ensure you do not make mistakes with your measurements while baking. It also helps you ensure that you have all the essential ingredients needed before you start baking.

9. Plan ahead

When I started baking, I realised quickly that one problem I had was my lack of planning and organization. Planning eliminates the rush that could contribute to baking fails. When you plan ahead, it is unlikely that you will measure ingredients wrongly, run out of things you need. This is a tip I wish I had when I started baking.

10. Get a baking diary.

To improve your baking, I recommend getting a diary for the sole purpose of documenting your results. Alongside the outcome of your baking, note the mistakes you made and identify possible ways of improving your baking.

Aside from improving your baking, a diary is also a journal or your journey. It will help you see if your baking is improving and how it is getting better. Significantly, you will be able to tell if you are expanding your baking horizons when you look at this diary.

 If you have not made any recipes that challenge your baking expertise, this diary will tell.

These 10 tips are things every amateur baker should know. These tips will not only help you have fewer kitchen disasters but will also help you advance in your baking. 

If you have any other tips for beginner bakers, leave them in the comment section.

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