Our Very Best Holiday Baking Tips
Bread Baking Tips
- If your dough seems too soft to roll, chill until firm. If it seems slightly dry, work in one teaspoon of cream or butter with hands.
- For extra fine textured bread, let the dough rise twice in the bowl before shaping. Dough will continue to rise during the first fifteen minutes of baking. It is important you do not open the oven during this time.
- Sugar adds flavor and color to the bread. A good rule of the thumb might be a minimum of 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar for each called for cup of flour.
- Breads should be kept away from drafty areas while rising and when cooling.
- Self-rising flour is not suitable for yeast breads.
Cookie Baking Tips
- For a pretty flower design on sugar cookies, press the bottom of an empty plastic thread spool (label removed) into the rounds of the dough.
- For even-size balls of cookie dough, roll the dough into a log and cut the log in half, then each in half, each quarter in half, and so on until you have the number the recipe calls for, then roll into balls.
- Most cookie dough freezes extremely well and can be kept frozen for 4 to 6 weeks. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the dough will absorb any odd odors present in your freezer if it's not properly wrapped and sealed. To prevent this smell-sponge effect as well as freezer burn, wrap the dough securely twice. The types of cookie dough that do not freeze well are cake-like cookies and cookies that have very runny batter.
Cake Baking Tips
- When baking a cake, instead of dusting the pans with flour, use granulated sugar. The cakes come out of the pan just as easy and taste better with that little bit of melted sugar on them.
- When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead - no white mess on the outside of the cake.
- When frosting a cake, eliminate crumbs by having the spatula only touch the frosting, not the cake itself. Use dabs of frosting to "glue" the bottom layer to serve plate to hold it steady as you frost the cake.
- When frosting a two-layer cake, place 4 pieces of waxed paper on plate to square it off. Place first layer on plate, upside-down (flat side up). Frost bottom layer then place top layer flat side down and frost as usual. When cake is frosted, pull gently on waxed paper strips until removed. Plate is clean on edges with no clean up!
- If you have to slice cake layers in half (as in preparing a torte), get out your sewing thread. Position thread on far side of layer and then see-saw through. Also, ice or fill with sliced side down.
Muffin Baking Tips
- For nicely rounded muffin tops, grease only the bottom and halfway up the side of the pan so the batter can cling to the sides and rise. If you only have one muffin pan and want to cool it quickly before refilling it with batter, turn it over and run cool water over the underside so you won't wet the muffin cups.
- When using whole wheat flour in baking add 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for each cup of flour used and your cakes and muffins will turn out much softer.
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