Baking is a skill that requires patience, precision and repetition. Although your first attempt at baking might prove to be flawless, the true test of your baking abilities will shine through when every batch you produce is consistently accurate. To jumpstart or refresh your pastry skills, enrolling in an artisan baking course or an advanced baking class might prove to be a fruitful endeavour and investment. Here are some tips to take your skills up a notch:
Stick to Room Temperature
Unless your recipe specifies that you need to use cold ingredients, keep pastry items at room temperature. This ambient temperature requirement is important for fabricating superior pastries because room temperature ingredients combine much more easily to create a smooth and silky batter. In addition to texture, having room temperature ingredients bake more evenly and produce a more uniform pastry. Take eggs for instance, using them at room temperature allows them to break down more easily and emulsify properly into your batters and mixtures.
Weight over Cups
For more accuracy, it is always best to use recipes that utilise gram weight in comparison to measuring cups and spoons. A digital scale is an affordable and well-worth investment for any pastry kitchen even at home. Weighing your ingredients is more precise and consistent in contrast to the measuring cups, and have a higher chance of producing quality results.
Don’t Underestimate the Chill
When it comes to making perfect whipped cream, a rule of thumb is to keep everything cold. Chill your cream at least 24 hours before you use it and place your mixing bowl and whisk or beaters in the refrigerator ahead of time. If you don’t have enough room in your fridge to chill your bowl, dampen a towel and place it in the freezer until cold. Wrap the cold towel around your bowl, while whipping the cream. Especially for warm and humid areas, it is important to retain a cold temperature when whipping cream to keep it aerated and stabilised, and to prevent it from melting.
Higher Fat Content
Although the word “fat” might alarm you, it makes a huge difference when it comes to pastry results. When you are purchasing butter or margarine, always look for the labels that contain the highest fat content, since other brands cut the fat with water. If you use fats that are high in water content, they tend to evaporate during baking and will not produce a pastry the is as voluminous, rich and flavourful as you might have hoped for.