Baking treats at home is no longer just a necessity, required for feeding your family. Instead, it’s transformed into more of a hobby. People enjoy baking for many different reasons. Some appreciate the scientific, precise nature of baking. Others find pleasure in the process of creating something new from scratch with their hands. And a bigger group still just loves to eat the tasty treats that result from a home baking hobby!
Over time, baking at home has become more accessible. The invention of the boxed cake mix in the 1930s revolutionized home baking, making the process much easier and more accessible. Interestingly, the boxed mixes were originally formulated to be used without any fresh ingredients, but the manufacturers found that the housewives who were using their products psychologically preferred to add fresh eggs, leading to the current standard boxed mix recipe that requires eggs.
Whether you prefer to make your breads, cakes and cookies from a boxed mix or from scratch, the process of baking has undeniable cultural and social significance. The looks of appreciation and excitement a baker receives when bringing a batch of fresh muffins to a brunch party shows just how much people appreciate to have a friend or acquaintance with a talent for baking. This quiz will help you find out just how proficient a home baker you are. Good luck!
When creaming together butter and sugar, the sugar crystals must create small holes in the butter. This is easier to achieve with softened, room-temperature butter. This process is called aeration and results in a fluffier final result.
Refined flour contains less oil than other flour varieties, making it last longer on the shelf. You can expect your typical all-purpose flour to last at least a year in your pantry. Once it starts to go bad, it will begin to smell sour.
All-purpose flour generally has less protein than other varieties (such as bread flour), meaning that it produces less gluten when worked into a dough. What results can be a flat, structurally unsound loaf.
Generally, you should use glass measuring cups for liquid ingredients like milk and oil. Metal measuring cups are best for dry ingredients, like flour.
Whisks are the best tools for incorporating air into batter because they whip up the batter, creating small air pockets. This then makes for a fluffier baked good.
Before you can frost a cake decoratively, you must apply a thin layer called a "crumb coat" to seal down all of the crumbs. After crumb coating, you should chill your cake before applying further layers of frosting.
Cold butter does not get mixed completely into a pie crust batter. Instead, the butter remains in small pieces throughout the dough. This helps create a flakier crust.
The amount of an ingredient that fits into a measuring cup or spoon can vary greatly depending on the situation. For a more accurate measurement, it is best to use a kitchen scale.
Salt is usually included in recipes for desserts because it helps to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients. The purpose is not to make the food salty.
Many ovens have unevenly distributed heat throughout them. To combat this common problem, it can be a good idea to rotate your pan halfway through the baking process. This will assure that the dough in different parts of the pan is exposed to the same heat by the end of the baking process.
Icing a cake before it is completely cooled is a sure way to incorporate a lot of crumbs into the frosting.
Most ovens shift temperature over time. They might read a certain temperature but in reality be 10 or 20 degrees cooler or hotter. To make sure you know the exact temperature of your oven, it is best to use an oven thermometer.
A tool that is convenient and effective for removing egg shell shards from your mixing bowl is to use the other half of the egg shell that hasn't fallen in. This also has the added benefit of keeping your hands clean.
Agave nectar is a naturally occurring sweetener. It is often used in the place of honey due to its similar texture and flavor
Most recipes that involve a lot of rising, like bread and pretzels, have a first step of letting yeast bloom. This means putting yeast and sugar in warm water until it reacts and becomes foamy.
Adding a wash of eggs to baked goods before putting them in the oven doesn't change the flavor, but it does add shine and golden color. Egg wash can also be used for sealing pastry dough together when making something like apple strudel.
Baking is a science, and recipes must be followed exactly. Your baked goods should go in an oven of the exact temperature specified in the recipe. Using an oven thermometer is a great way to be sure that you are following the recipe.
Royal icing is made of a combination of confectioner's sugar (also known as powdered sugar), egg white and water.
Baking powder and baking soda are both leavening agents that create carbon dioxide bubbles in batter, forcing it to rise. Baking powder contains baking soda as well as an acidifying agent like cream of tartar and a drying agent like starch.
Chocolate ganache can be made by pouring heavy cream over heated chocolate chunks and mixing them together until they are combined. It is often used in cakes.
Teaspoons and tablespoons are both very common forms of measuring ingredients like salt and baking soda. There are three teaspoons in one tablespoon.
While it is not an exact equivalent, there are approximately 16 tablespoons in a cup. This conversion is most useful with ingredients like butter.
While most forms of salt will do in a baked good, sea salt tends to produce the best final flavor. However, it is not the only option available when you're in a pinch... Pun intended.
When sifting flour, you space the flour particles out away from each other. This allows the other ingredients to mix in more evenly in between the flour.
While plain yogurt is most often used in the place of butter for health reasons, applesauce and avocado are two common ingredients of choice in vegan baking. And no, you usually can't taste the avocado! (When it's done right.)
While breads and cakes are specific baked goods that require special flour, cookies are usually made using all-purpose flour. There is no special flour just for cookies.
Simple syrup is made of equal parts water and sugar. It can be drizzled on cake layers to keep them moist throughout the decorating process.
Though it's hard to wait, it is usually recommended to refrigerate cookie dough for up to 24 hours before baking cookies. Or you can use the premade stuff to save time.
Fondant, a type of icing used to decorate cakes, can be difficult to work with, especially when covering large or unusually shaped cakes. To patch the cracks that inevitably occur, you can create a paste with a small amount of fondant mixed with water.
Choux pastry is made of butter, water, flour and eggs. It is used to make many baked goods including eclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles, churros and beignets.
Many pastries, like macarons, require an even dough without any air bubbles. An important step in making these is to pop the air bubbles by lightly tapping the pan on a hard surface before baking.
Brown sugar is known for drying out during storage. This is a common irritation for home and professional bakers alike. For an easy fix, store your brown sugar with a slice of bread. This will keep the brown sugar moist - and the bread won't mold!
Mise en place is French for "put in place." This is the step of baking that involves preparing all of your ingredients. It's an important step to make the baking process run more smoothly.
When mixing ingredients, it's important to put the salt and bloomed yeast on opposite sides of your mixing bowl. This is because salt is capable of killing yeast by sucking the water out of it.
Pie weights are typically used when blind baking a pie crust in order to make sure that the crust does not warp or deform during the baking process. Not everybody has pie weights readily available in their kitchen, but most people do have access to beans, rice or some quarters.