Baking is a science, and on most if not all occasions, an exact one. The major issue with baking, especially first time bakers, is that minor mistakes which would go unnoticed in regular cooking end up as major blunders in the baking scene. This turns baking, which is essentially an enjoyable and productive activity, into a tedious battle with stress. So, allow us to address some of the common baking blunders and how you can go about fixing them
1. Opening The Oven Door
Yeah, you need to do it to check on the food, but you don’t need to do it again and again. That would alter the temperature of the oven and end up disrupting the whole process. Instead, use the oven light and window or just take a lesson in being patient. That would be the ideal long term lesson.
2. Wrong Oven Temperature
This is a mistake that is as easy to make as it is easy to fix. With most ovens, the temperature is likely to be slightly off. This is why you always use the toothpick method. You pierce your baked goods with a toothpick to check if it is fully baked. Otherwise, you put it back in the oven for a while longer.
Or you could purchase an oven temperature. Saves you from spending your patience and the occasional sigh of frustration.
3. Measuring Flour Wrong
Using the wrong quantity of floor, which probably means that it might not be aerated right, could mean that your flour is not incorporated right.
This is easily the most common mistake. One way to take care of this would be to use a spoon to scoop into the measuring cups instead of scooping directly with the cup from the flour bag. Use a flat surface to even it out at the top and under any circumstances, don’t bang the cup on the table to even it out. This affects the quantity of the flour being used, which is the exact blunder you are trying to avoid.
4. Read Your Recipe
This is a pretty funny mistake, to be honest. You realise halfway through the recipe that you don’t actually have all the ingredients. Or that you need buttermilk and not milk, or something as simple as the fact that you were supposed to leave the flour out for a few hours.
The fix to this is simple. Read your recipe beforehand. Completely and thoroughly. It truly saves you a world of blunders.
Also Read: Bake Perfect Cakes With These Handy Tips
5. Eyeballing the Quantities
We will repeat what we have said before. Baking is different from regular cooking and mistakes aren’t forgiven that easily here. So, unless you have made the recipe hundreds of times before, don’t even try to guess anything. Double check your measurements before adding them in.
6. Your Dough Isn’t Rising
The reason for this could be that your yeast needs some help. Heat a cup of water and keep your dough next to it in a closed microwave. This should work and if it doesn’t, the yeast you used was probably expired.
Informative: Sourdough- What is it and How to make it?
7. You Chocolate Is Clumping After Being Melted
The reason this happens is because there is often water in the bowl in which you kept the chocolate. Make sure your utensils are dry before adding stuff to them. A way to fix clumpy chocolate is by adding a little oil and mixing it evenly. This will take care of the clumpage.
8. Over Baked And Hard Cookies
The pain of not getting the perfect cookies because of an extra few minutes of baking just hits differently. But luckily, if it is just a few minutes of over baking, all hope is not lost. Just delicately scrape the burnt part of the cookies and then, place them in an airtight bag with a few pieces of bread to impart some moisture. This should take care of the problem effectively.
9. Unevenly Baked Goods
Your oven won’t be evenly hot during the baking process. So to make sure that your food is evenly baked, keep rotating the dish once in a while. Leaving them in the same position for too long can result in a hard and soft cake, a result nobody was actually looking for.
10. Baked Goods Have Soggy Bottoms
The science of baking is truly beautiful. It is important to leave your baked goods out to cool and it is just as important to cool them on the right surface. Leaving them on a flat surface can cause condensation and turn the surface of the cake soggy. Use a wire rack instead to avoid this issue. And let them cool completely before putting them in storage or that would be the place where they turn soggy.
11. Dough Is Tough And Chewy
This is a result of over-activated gluten. The answer to this is in the preparatory step of the recipe. There are two ways to correct this. One, mix your wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them together. Second, combine your items slowly and pick up the pace a while later instead of right away. This should give you a dough with desirable consistency and texture.
12. Your Egg Whites Aren’t Fluffy
If your eggs are not fresh or at room temperature, they won’t whip well. And make sure there is not a single drop of water in the process, on your whip or in the bowl. That will throw off the whole process and your mixture will remain flat.
Related: 6 Best Egg Yolk Vegan Alternative
We cannot stress this enough – baking is a lot of science. Any variations in the recipe will end up making a world of difference in the final product. The basic things to take care of would be to read the recipe, measuring your ingredients right and taking care of the temperature and timing.
Those things are the basics and when done right, the rest falls into place. Baking is like any other craft, in the sense that practice makes perfect. Over time, you will perfect your methods and steps and until then, fix your mistakes and enjoy your blunders. At the end of the bake, it’s all in good taste.