Recipes for success: 5 tips for better baking

Do you get different bakes every time? Does your bread get out of the oven pale, or dry? Follow these tips to be sure you consistently get great results while baking!

1. Know your oven

Ovens differ significantly between each other. As someone that moved many times in my life, and have had many different ovens, I can tell you, they are all very different. The number one issue with them is that the thermostat lies. Rarely they actually represent the temperature in the oven. Also, ovens don’t consistently heat at the same temperature everywhere or may lose heat more quickly in some areas.

How to fix it

2. Preheat your oven

Preheating the oven is often an afterthought in baking. Usually, I have forgotten to preheat my oven, or I was in a rush to get the recipe going and shortened the preheating time. The results were a mess: flat, pale loaves of bread, sticking, melty macaroons, and the list goes on.

Secondly, many recipes don’t treat preheating as an essential step. They mention the need to preheat the oven but don’t say much else. Are five minutes enough? Ten? The experienced baker may know it, but the weekend warrior like me may take a long time to figure out the issues with their bakes. So let’s not do that!

How to fix it

3. Volume vs. weight

Baking requires precision and attention to detail. For convenience, in the United States, many recipes use volume measurements for flour (e.g., 2 cups of flour), but they are very imprecise. Volume often is not a good correspondent of ingredients by weight. One cup of packed flour can contain much more by weight than a cup of sifted flour. This can cause a considerable variation between bakes, even with the same recipe.

To get consistent baking, then, good recipes will list the ingredients by weight. This is your best bet to get consistent bakes.

How to fix it

4. Temperature

Temperature is crucial for baking, as you might be aware. Correct butter temperature is mandatory for getting the perfect flake in a croissant or for the dough to rise properly. It’s important to keep an eye on the environment’s temperature and the temperature of the ingredients. It will pay off in the end!

How to fix it

5. Impatience

When I started baking, I wanted to make sure everything was going well so I would crack the oven door open many times to see how things were progressing. I didn’t know I was really interfering with the baking! Opening the oven drops the temperature and may take a long time for it to get back up, so try to avoid it.

How to fix it

If you trust your recipe and you know that the temperature in your oven is correct (you did Step 1!), trust the process and let it bake, alone.

Do you agree? Disagree? Have more tips? Let us know on Twitter!