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New To Baking - The ABCs Of Baking!

Jan 22, 2008
Baking can be a very complicated science; measuring and concentration are the two most important ingredients. This is no reason to be deterred though, when just starting out baking; with a little determination and a joy for the craft, baking can be mastered following a few guidelines:

One important step that should be done every time you start to bake is to read through the entire recipe first! Everyone has had nightmares of getting half way through the recipe then realizing they don't have a certain ingredient; this means the recipe gets scrapped, or a run to the store is necessary. To avoid this common inconvenience, know what you need and make sure you have it and make sure nothing you do have has expired.

Also, preheat your oven. There is nothing more frustrating than getting ready to throw that cake in the oven and finding out that the oven isn't even warm! And know that preheating is very necessary. Especially when it comes to baking, don't even consider not doing it.

Also, having an oven thermometer can be a great asset when it comes to baking. Unfortunately ovens can run as much as twenty-five degrees cooler to twenty-five degrees warmer. Having a thermometer will act as a baker's insurance policy. Also, be sure your oven racks are adjusted to the recommended height. Follow the directions for the type and size or pan recommended for the recipe.

To properly measure dry ingredients, overfill, and then level off with the edge of a knife. For liquid ingredients, set measuring cup on a flat surface and bend to eye level to make sure the measurement is accurate. And don't forget to bake with love; being agitated or stressed can cause mishaps in the kitchen.

There are also some things to keep in mind when using certain baking ingredients. Not all flour is created equal; wheat flour is used for yeast breads, bread flour is for yeast loaves, cake flour is very fine, and all-purpose flour can be used for nearly anything. Bleached and unbleached flours are always interchangeable, and be sure to store any flour in an airtight container in a cool dry place for as much as six months.

Baking soda and baking powder are also cause for some confusion for the new baker. They are not created equal and should never be used interchangeably. Baking powder is a combination of acid and baking soda that when added to wet ingredients causes something to rise. Baking soda, however, causes carbon dioxide giving the food bubbles and making it light and airy.

There are a few pointers to go by when baking with chocolate too. Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor that is 50% cocoa butter and no added sugar. When sugar is added to the mix bittersweet, semisweet, and dark chocolate are created.

Milk chocolate is created from dried milk powder, cocoa butter and sugar. White chocolate uses cocoa butter instead of chocolate liquor, while unsweetened cocoa is made from chocolate liquor with 70% cocoa butter removed, dried, and ground to a paste. Chocolate is also very easy to burn so watching and stirring constantly are essential. Melting over low heat is best, and many prefer the double boiler method. Using microwave ovens or direct heat are also always options.
About the Author
Abhishek is a cooking enthusiast! Visit his website http://www.Cooking-Guru.com and download his FREE Cooking Report "Master Chef Secrets" and learn some amazing Cooking tips and tricks for FREE! Learn how to create the perfect meal on a shoe-string budget. And yes, you get to keep all the accolades! But hurry, only limited Free copies available!
http://www.Cooking-Guru.com
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