8 Rules To Mastering The Dark Art Of Baking

Are you one of those people with a natural knack for baking, or are your cakes a catastrophe and your flans a farce? Follow these tips for great baking results...
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If whipping up a quick batch of baked goodies doesn't come naturally to you, or even if you find most of your bakes are good but have no idea why that occasional attempt goes wrong, it might all come down to a little bit of science.

Check out these top eight rules to help make baking as easy as apple pie.

1) Find a good recipe and read it from beginning to end

When following a recipe, pick one from a reputable source and then make sure you read it from start to finish before you begin. This will ensure you're not hit with any surprises mid-bake, such as that time you carefully folded in all the flour in step four, only to find that step six begun by calling for the "reserved" flour... uh oh.

2) Remember that tin proportions matter

All too often when baking, a recipe will call for a certain shape or style of baking tin, and we think, "well I haven't got that so I'll use this completely different container". Sometimes you can just about get away with it, without having to invest in a new tin for every occasion, but do bear in mind that the dimensions of the tin will affect the depth of your cake for example, which can have an impact on cooking time. You might find that your cake browns on top before it cooks in the middle, or even overflows once baked, so get as close as you can to the tin size stated in your recipe.

And while we're on the topic of tins - if the recipe advises you to line your tins, then line your tins!

3) Preheat your oven and make sure your oven's temperature is properly calibrated

If you bake with an oven that's too hot, things may well burn, but if your oven isn't hot enough, it may mean that your bake doesn't rise very well, will take longer to cook through and may end up rubbery.

While we don't always have the luxury of choosing the oven we bake with, it can't be denied that a good oven makes for better baking. Using the PerfectBake function on the Bosch Serie 8 Oven, the oven will automatically set the optimum temperature and baking time, adjusting the baking process where necessary. What's even better is that the oven will automatically switch itself off once your bake is ready, completely taking away the guesswork from baking.

4) Temperature matters - even outside the oven

If a recipe states that your eggs or butter or water or anything else should be at room temperature - then make sure you've not kept everything in the fridge right up to the point where you start baking.

Cold eggs can make a cake mix curdle and if the water used with yeast is really cold, it won't thrive.

5) Fluffy cakes take work

Creaming butter and sugar can sometimes feel like a bit too much effort - surely when it's mixed it's mixed, right? WRONG!

Anything that needs to rise needs air. If the recipe calls for creaming butter and sugar then you need to ensure that this is done until the mixture is lighter in both colour and texture. These cues will tell you that the sugar has combined well into the butter, meaning it will dissolve evenly, and the mix is full of air, which will help with your rise.

6) Put your baking on the correct shelf and make sure that you keep the oven door closed

Most recipes will advise you to place cakes on the middle shelf as this makes them cook more evenly - if you do as the recipe says then you're likely to have better results. A smart oven like the Bosch Serie 8 Oven will actually suggest the best shelf to maximise the baking process and produce the perfect bake.

Keeping the oven door closed sounds like a no-brainer but it's surprising how many otherwise good cakes, cookies and pies are ruined by impatience.

7) Keep an eye on the time

If you've been careful to use the right kind of tin, and you have a reliable oven which heats consistently, then the baking times should be pretty accurate. Don't go to all the trouble of getting your recipe right, and then leave your biscuits to burn while you take a phone call.

A fully-cooked cake will feel the same in the middle as it does at the sides, not soggy in the middle, and if you push a skewer into the middle of it, then it should come out clean without a drop of cake mix.

8) Cool it

Most recipes will also have instructions for cooling, and if not followed, can lead to biscuits not crumbling correctly, and cakes having soggy edges.

For example, have you ever had muffin cases peel away from the sponge? That's often because they were left in the tin too long after baking and steamed the paper off. That's why the recipe will tell you to transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Happy baking!

The Serie 8 range of cooking appliances from Bosch is designed to make your time in the kitchen as pleasant as possible. Featuring cutting-edge technology and timeless design for remarkable ease of use, the new Serie 8 from Bosch is the easy way to perfect cooking results.

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