Cooking Tips

Two baking techniques you must master

Our first step into the kitchen, and we all want to make something yummy, something out of the box, and most often something sweet. Baking is one thing that kids and adults both enjoy. Here are two baking techniques that could be used in any recipe. Once these methods are mastered, there isn’t anything you cannot bake.

Whisking

This is one of the most basic and most important technique of baking. Ball, flat, balloon, coil or cage – there are different whisks for different types of baking. A whisk is generally used to add air and body into the wet mixture consisting of eggs, sugar and butter, used for preparing a cake batter. Flour, cocoa, baking powder/soda are sieved and then gently folded into this wet mixture in batches. The standard process requires you to alternate between the dry ingredients and any other special ingredients that you need to add to the wet mixture. The batter needs to be folded well, in a way that there aren’t any visible lumps. It needs to be smooth. Note that not every cake has a rising agent like baking soda, and hence you need to whisk it well for the cake to rise properly. Sponge cakes that have no butter and are rather light and other cakes that aren’t too fatty also need be whisked well to be baked to perfection. The best practice for preventing lumps is to move, twirl, spin and shake the bowl as you whisk all the ingredients together. You can also use the end of your whisk to break any lumps. Be a little light handed to attain a light and airy texture for your cake.

Creaming

This technique forms the base for a lot of baked goodies, mainly cakes and cookies. Creaming is essentially the process of softening solid fats and turning them into a smooth consistency for blending with other baking ingredients. It isn’t the easiest technique to master and requires some practice. The process begins by beating sugar and fat (butter, shortening or others) until they are light and creamy. You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment at medium speed or go old school by doing it with your hand. Make sure that the butter is at room temperature and isn’t straight out of the freezer. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and sugar. Beat them together on a medium speed for a few minutes. Stop in between to scrape down the sides of the bowl as required. Stop the mixer when you notice the mixture is light, airy and creamy. You can then incorporate all the other baking ingredients to make decadent cakes or cookies.

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