Secret Family Baking Tips – Revealed

Words: Devon Bowers

One of the most beautiful things about baking is how it brings families together. Almost everyone has that one recipe that has been passed down for generations. Or you might have that treasured memory of watching an older family member baking some sweet treats and teaching you along the way. Even if those don’t apply to you, you probably have some memory of tasting a perfect dessert, that when recalled, gives you a shiver down your back. All of these amazing moments give us a reason to bake! Along the way, people have made their own discoveries about baking overall or even just about certain recipes. These family baking tips have been revealed to us, so now we pass it onto you. We hope these discoveries become a part of the way you bake and that you will then pass it on to your loved ones. Welcome to our baking family!

BAKE EACH OTHER CRAZY WITH THESE FAMILY BAKING TIPS

Family Baking Tips

BAKING IS A SCIENCE

In baking, everything matters. Baking is a science. One small adjustment can make a world of difference. So it is important, when making something for the first time, that you read the recipe thoroughly before you start and to follow every step exactly. Only try doing something different when you have made the dish successfully at least once.

THE SCALE IS YOUR FRIEND

Before you start a recipe, weigh out everything to ensure you have every ingredient and enough of it. This will ensure that your baking process is smoother and quicker.

The best family baking tip I can give is as soon as you take a cake or cupcakes out of the oven, wait a few minutes. You should then wrap it, still in the tin, with cling wrap whilst it is still warm/hot. It will steam them, locking in the moisture and making them super moist!

– Jenna Short

TIME OF DAY IS IMPORTANT

Weather and time of day is so significant in baking. Extreme weather, like being really hot or cold, will affect the results of what you are making. Other things to take in account are humidity and moisture. Many grandmas of old give the advice of not baking on a rainy day because the moisture affects doughs ability to rise and dry. This can definitely be true when cooking at different altitudes and at extreme temperatures. This certainly is the best family baking tip you can get.

The best time of day to make pastry is in the morning when your kitchen is cold. Making bread is best done during the day when everything is warm, which yeast loves. Of course, cake should be made in the afternoon, so you can get your sugar rush after a long day!

No sieve, no worries. Draw figure eights into the flour to aerate it and remove lumps.

– Renuka

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE

Have you noticed that when you open an old jar of spices, like cinnamon, the fragrant aroma is gone? This is because spices tend to lose their intensity over time. To refresh it, place them in a dry pan and set over a medium heat. Make sure to watch it closely! When you can smell the spice, give the pan a toss and remove from the heat. Now you will be able to use it to bake.

Family Baking Tips

COOL DOWN FAST

If you are in a hurry to finish a recipe, you sometimes need to cool elements like cake fast. If this is the case, place the baked goods in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes. If you need a super-fast method, try the freezer for about 10-15 minutes but make sure to not forget about it!

With making crunches and biscuits, my granny used the crumbs from the batch before and rolled out the batter of the next into it. Pretty unique results. She sold buckets of the stuff to substitute her pension. Happy memories.

– Liesel Fynsh

CREAMING STAGE

To cream butter and sugar is so important in baking but people tend to overlook it. It can affect the light airy quality that you want to get in your creations. Creaming butter and sugar means beating it at a high speed, which is easier with an electric mixer, until the butter is fluffy and the sugar is broken down. You should be doing this for about 3-5 minutes. Doing this will make a significant difference in your biscuits and cakes.

I am often pressed for time when I bake – especially with impatient young kids! I have often rushed the creaming stage of recipes to cut time. I have noticed a big difference in the recipes I make when I allow enough time for creaming properly, so these days I make sure I do that step for the right amount of time.

– Candace

DON’T LET IT SINK

Most people have the problem of having their chocolate chips or fruit sink to the bottom of whatever they are making. The trick to prevent this is to coat them in flour before adding them to your mix so you will have an even distribution of flavour throughout.

My sister taught me about the Error of Parallax. She always told me to get down at eye level with my measuring jug to ensure I had measured everything accurately.

– Kristy

Family Baking Tips

TOOTHPICK TEST

A toothpick or a skewer is your best friend when baking. When you think your baked good is done in the oven, insert a long wooden skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, it means that it is done, if it comes out looking a little gummy then continue baking. Normally a toothpick is fine to use, but skewers are best for deep cakes and such. There are also metal baking skewers on the market that you can wash and reuse. You could make this family baking tip more eco-friendly.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR LEAVENING

A form of leavening is called for in most recipes and it is important to know that they lose their lifting power over time. Baking soda and baking powder should be replaced about every 6 months. Even think about using a new container to be on the safe side. This should also apply to yeast. Luckily, a good family baking tip is storing active dry yeast in the freezer, this helps it retain its lifting power!

TOAST YOUR NUTS

Toasting nuts really makes them stand out in baked goods because the flavour is intensified. To do this, spread the nuts on a baking tray in a single layer and toast them in a 200 ℃ oven for about 10 minutes. Make sure to shake the pan so the nuts toast evenly. You will know when they are done when their colour has deepened and you can smell their aroma. They can burn easily, so keep an eye on them. You can also toast equally well in a dry frying pan – tossing every few minutes.

Cornbread is a great keep in the fridge. Must be served heated with lashings of butter.

– Lois Carol Wessels

KEEP YOUR BROWN SUGAR SOFT

The problem with brown sugar is that it can go hard with exposure to air and of course you only realise when you want to bake something. Well, the answer to this is marshmallows! Placing about 2-3 marshmallows in your bag or tin of brown sugar will prevent the hardening. Just make sure that you replace the marshmallows when they become hard.

HOW TO GET THE PERFECT CAKE LAYERS

The easiest way to get those perfect layers is to cool the cakes upside down on a cooling rack. This will flatten out the tops and make it easy to stack the layers. If the layers are still too round, use a serrated knife to evenly slice off the dome top.

Something I discovered more recently is using baking wraps to ensure an even bake on cake layers. You can buy them or you can make at home out of strips of dishcloth and safety pins. To use them you wet them beforehand and wrap around the cake tins. The water cools the outside of the pans (which get direct heat first) which cooks the batter at a more even pace and stops the cakes from peaking.

– Julie

Family Baking Tips

GET SNOBBY OVER SALT

Basic iodised table salt is normally the household staple and works fine in anything you would bake. However, to get the best results possible in your baked goods is using good quality sea salt. This distinct flavour will make a difference in your baking in a major way. It is true when they say, quality over quantity.

HOW TO CUT A FLAWLESS SLICE

If you are interested in impressing your guests or want to make sure you get perfect food photographs, this family baking tip will be a big help. When cutting a cold dessert you will need a hot knife. To do this, run it under hot water and then wipe dry. For a hot dessert, use a chilled knife by placing in the freezer for a few minutes. Always wipe the knife with a wet paper towel between cutting each slice, this makes each slice clean.

When we made crunchies as kids (in which the recipe calls for golden syrup) my mom always greased the measuring spoon with a thin coating of oil – that way the syrup slides right out and none gets left behind. No mess, no wastage! Also works great with honey and other sticky stuff.

– Jade

UNSALTED BUTTER

Unsalted butter gives you full control over the sodium level of your baked goods. If you can’t find it and your only option is salted butter, be sure to reduce the additional salt by half.

When making a caramel sauce, make sure the sugar has fully dissolved first to avoid crystallisation.

– Chef Lorna Maseko

SIFT YOUR FLOUR

This might seem like a small and obvious step but it creates a world of difference in your baking. You will see a huge change in the quality of your final baked goods. Like previously said, baking is a science, you need to take those little easy quality methods to step up your baking game.

MELT THAT CHOCOLATE

To get the perfect manageable melting chocolate to coat baked goods or to make chocolate sweets, you will need to add a drop of liquified coconut oil to thin it out. Make sure that you only add a drop or two at a time and more if needed.

A lesson my mom taught me was to never pound scone dough. It should be treated like a little cloud, she told me. Also when icing a cake, to make sure to wipe off your palette knife before adding more icing to ensure a smooth finish.

– Kristy

THE OVEN IS YOUR FRIEND

During cold days it can be tough to find a warm and dry place to get your dough to rise. The perfect solution to this is your oven! Preheat your oven to about 90℃ or 70℃ on a fan assisted oven, turn it off and put the dough in to rise. Also a great method to make those dough recipes go quicker!

Family Baking Tips

WHIPPED CREAM IN A HURRY

Picture this, you are hosting a dinner party and it is getting late for the dessert. All you need now is to whip some cream for the top of your baked item. To do this, refrigerate the beaters of your mixer and the metal bowl you are going to use. If they are cold, your cream will whip faster! No one will even notice that it was made last minute.

When making anything on a tray in the oven or for desserts, always line it with greaseproof paper as it makes it so much easier to remove it without it sticking.

– Chef Juan Neethling

GET THAT FLAKEY PASTRY

Some recipes will ask for chilled butter, such as a pie crust. Rather than adding cubes, grate the butter ahead of time and put it into the freezer for about an hour before incorporating it into the recipe. This will help in you handling the butter less to stop the melting and resulting in flakier pastries!

I always refrigerate my apple pie crumble dough in a ball. When I am ready to top the pie, I use a grater to grate the dough directly onto the pie filling before baking. This makes it easier to work with and gives a nice even texture to the crumble.

– Heather

BAKE WITH LOVE

The most important part of baking is putting your heart and soul into your baked goods. The people that you share it with, will love and cherish the gift that you have made with only just a few ingredients. This will create memories that will last a lifetime. So happy baking!

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