All too often, a fun weekend baking project turns into a stressful battle in the kitchen. There are some easily avoided mistakes we can help you correct so you can make baking a more productive and enjoyable activity. Fix these common errors and you'll notice a huge improvement in your baked goods.
Set yourself up for success and pick recipes from a trusted source; a shoddy recipe will waste your time and money. The most important step in any baking project is reading the recipe all the way through. Not only will you figure out which ingredients you need to buy ahead of time, you’ll also be able to plan for any extended periods of down time, such as might be required for resting dough or letting it rise.
Once you’ve gone through the trouble of finding the recipe and reading through the whole thing, it’s essential to follow the proportions. Baking is a science, and throwing off one ratio can lead to burnt cookies or flat, dense muffins. This means no doubling recipes for baked goods or substituting baking soda for baking powder (among other substitutions) without researching first to make sure it won’t negatively affect the end product.
Although having too many gadgets in the kitchen can be a poor use of space, some kitchen tools are necessary. Every new baker should have a few essentials, like a digital scale, a sheet pan, and aspatula. Another important tool for baking is a candy thermometer, which is useful for frying as well as desserts. You can work your way around missing tools though; for example, a wine bottle can be used in place of a rolling pin.
Story originally published on September 18, 2014.