Baking is the process of prolonged cooking of food by dry heating normally in an oven. The dry heat of baking, changes the form of starch in the food thereby changing the texture of the food being baked, giving it an attractive look and taste. The browning of the food is due to the caramelization of the sugar added in the food. However moisture in the baked food is not fully sealed in. They tend to become dry over a period of time.
While baking, care should be taken to the amount of ingredients used for preparation. There is chemistry behind the process of baking and a small deviation in the quantity of the ingredients wouldn’t give you desired results.
Following are the basic requirements of baking.
1. Measuring Cups:
There are varieties of measuring cups in market you can choose to buy. The cups with different sizes are for measuring the dry ingredients and the one for wet ingredients like milk, water, butter milk is a single cup with a spout for easy pouring. Dry ingredients should be measured by levelling the cups, should not be heaped. Wet ingredients needs to be measured on the marked line.
2. Measuring Spoons:
When the recipe calls in for tablespoon/teaspoon measurements, you need to pick one of these with the right name. The measures should be levelled and not heaped.
3. Other measurements:
While measuring flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, it needs to be loosely packed in the cups/spoons and needs to be levelled. Light brown sugar, dark brown sugar and granulated white sugar needs to be firmly packed and levelled for measurement. Icing sugar needs to be sifted well to remove the lumps after which it needs to be used for measurement. While measuring the liquid ingredients, keep your eye on the marked line, to avoid any parallax error. Butter could be spooned into the cups as required and packed lightly to remove any air bubbles. You could as well use the weight of butter mentioned in the recipe.
4. Handling Chocolates:
You can choose any brand of cooking chocolate, the costlier the brand is the better the end product would be. You could visit, know about chocolates, to get more idea.
On baking perspective, care should be taken while melting the chocolate and bringing them back to room temperature where specified. Melting the chocolate over a double-boiler is always safe, you could whereas melt the chocolate in microwave. Melting chocolates in microwave needs lot of attention and care, as the heat might burn out the chocolate.
Chocolates should be wrapped properly and stored in a cool dry place. While chopping the chocolates, use a serrated knife over a wooden board, so that chopping doesn’t become too hard.
5. Beating the batter:
Beating the batter is the most crucial part of baking. Beating the butter with sugar until creamy is where a lot of air is invited into the batter. This air in the batter gives the baked dish the perfect texture. So when there is mention of ‘Beat well’ or ‘Do not over beat’, go by it.
6. Baking in oven:
Once the batter/dough has been prepared, poured in tins and is ready for baking, care should be taken on the temperature of the oven. The baking time given in the recipe could vary individually depending on the brand of the oven and the size of it. So the timing and temperature needs to be altered based on that. Pre-heating the oven is also the most essential part of baking and right temperature needs to be used. Always prefer to bake in the centre of the oven so the heat is distributed all over. Baked goods should not be used hot. It needs to be cooled well before being served/ decorated.