Even though it seems difficult (and even more so when the pros make it look so easy), baking can actually quite fun and fulfilling once you get your first batch out of the oven. There are a few steps you can take towards making better baked goods:

  1. Follow the recipe to the letter. While cooking is an art, baking is a science, especially when you’re following a recipe. Aside from your ingredients, methods, and how you bring them all together, there are other variables and factors that you need to consider such as altitude and hot spot variations in the oven.

A general rule to follow when baking is that when in doubt, sticking to the instructions will get you good results each time.

  • Keep all your ingredientsclose by. Beforebaking, write down a list of all your ingredients, equipment, and tools thatyou will need for the recipe and arrange them in your workplace in a way that they’reeasy to reach. This will save you a lot of time when bringing them together toform your batch later on.
  • Don’t make rough estimates. You’ll save yourself and your taste buds from a lot of disappointment later on by measuring the exact amount of ingredients that you need for making the dough/batter/etc. as well as the amount of time needed for your batch to sit in the oven. A timer and measuring equipment in the kitchen will do you wonders.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter. Depending on the recipe that you’re planning on cooking, over-mixed batter will only result in really tough finished products. The point of mixing is simply to incorporate the ingredients into the mixture, so be sure to do exactly just that (unless otherwise specified).
  • Baking mats and parchment paper are your best friends. There is nothing more annoying for a baker than seeing your work stick to baking tray (or worse, fall through the oven rack).

While dusting your workspace with flour is one way tokeep your dough or batter from sticking to the countertop, having baking matsand parchment paper for your goods will save you a lot of time and effort inscraping the dough later on, and can keep your baked goods intact.

  • A pinch is one-eighth of a teaspoon. When a recipe calls for “a pinch” of anything (though this is mostly limited to dry ingredients), bring your thumb, index, and middle finger together for this purpose.
  • Don’t worry too much about messing up your first few batches. Mistakes are bound to happen, and learning from them will help you grow as a baker. And even more importantly, have fun!