October 8, 2009

Tips & Tricks - Bake It!

  • If you're recipe doesn't state what oven shelf to use then you should assume it's the middle shelf. Check the Guide/Manual for your oven to find out which shelf is the middle one as sometimes it's not where you would expect it to be, i.e. it's actually higher than the middle of the oven.
Measuring Flour
  • When measuring flour with cups make sure you don't compact the flour into the cup or you will have too much. My best advice is to aerate your flour first and then use the scoop-and-level technique. To do this, stir the flour in its container to aerate and lift it. Then scoop out the required amount, getting a heaping measure, and level it off with the back of a knife. The measuring cup should not be tapped or shaken to make the flour settle. If your flour is in the bag you bought it in and it's too small to stir, then simply transfer roughly the amount you need to a small plastic bag and give it a shake, then scoop-and-level as above.
  • Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  • Once your flour is incorporated, don’t keep mixing for too long or you will stretch the gluten and your cakes will be tough.
  • I use a Gas oven and I turn my bun trays/cake tins around after half the cooking time had elapsed so that they are evenly browned.
  • After you've put your cake mixture in your tins, tap it on your counter/table to get rid of any large air bubbles which will make your cake look like swiss-cheese.
  • Cakes with dried fruits or nuts added to them can often turn out with most of the fruits or nuts sunk to the bottom. This can be remedied by lightly tossing/coating them in flour before incorporating them into the mixture. This forms a bond with the mixture and prevents them sinking. This method doesn’t work with frozen fruit!
  • When making pastry: when you have to chill the dough, roll it out so it's about an inch thick then put it on a metal baking sheet before you put it in the fridge so that it chills quicker.
  • If you need to re-roll your puff pastry, stack the trimmings on top of each other to keep the layers.
Measuring Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 lemon = 1 tablespoon
    1 lemon = 2 tablespoons
Measuring Golden Syrup
  • According to Tate & Lyle:
    1 tablespoon = 1 oz or 25g.  Alternatively put the tin on weighing scales without its lid, note the total weight and spoon out Lyle's Golden Syrup until you have reduced the total weight by the designated amount.
Egg Whites
  • 1 large egg white = 25ml or 25g
  • You can freeze egg whites, ideally in an ice cube tray to keep them separate.
  • Or you can keep them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
  • Older eggs (3-4 days) are better for making meringues.

I just found these really useful pages on the Dr Oetker website.


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