When you are learning how to bake, whether it is breads, pastries, or cakes, it can be extremely easy to fall into bad habits and these can be tough to break later on. You don’t even realize that you are actually making things more difficult for yourself and it is something you would want to avoid. You can check out some bad breaking habits outlined below by Ido Fishman and break them if you have adopted any:
- Use of cheap flour
A lot of people spring for top-shelf chocolate and premium butter, but skimp when they are getting flour. Ido Fishman says that this is a very bad habit because flour is your primary ingredient in baking. If there is one thing you shouldn’t compromise on, it is flour. Yes, differences in flour exist and this doesn’t just mean cake flour for making cakes, or bread flour for making breads. Even all-purpose flour has different variations in terms of ash content and protein content. Likewise, different brands also tend to have different characteristics, so there may be a bit of experimentation involved.
- Greasing the pans
This means greasing the wrong part of your pan, or greasing as well as flouring. Even spraying your pan with baking spray that has flour and oil combined is a bad habit. You can grease the bottom of the pan, although experts like Ido Fishman recommend using a piece of parchment instead. The problem is that friction is essential for the cake to be able to climb the sides of the pan and greasing will make it more difficult for the cake to rise as the batter will keep slipping down. Likewise, using a flour and grease combo may work for the sides, but ruin the bottom. Plus, if you are making cookies, there shouldn’t be any greasing at all.
- Over-handling the dough
Rolled cookies and pie crusts usually have this problem. Even if you don’t overmix the doughs, just rolling it out, stretching it and wrapping it in plastic, or handling and shaping it in any way can cause the finished product to be tougher because it works the glutens. Of course you have to handle the dough, but keep it to a minimum and when you have to handle it, do it gently.
- Using old ingredients
Your recipe may fail altogether if you use stale ingredients. According to Chef Ido Fishman, using chemical leavening agents, such as baking soda or baking powder, which is expired will not give you the needed rise because they have lost their potency. The same applies to yeast as well. This is a microorganism that reacts with sugar for forming gas. If you are using old yeast, then it means that the microorganisms are dead and they will not produce any gas, which means the bread won’t rise. Some ingredients may still ‘work’ like cinnamon, but the overall quality will be affected because the essential oils in spices usually dissipate over time, so they lose their aroma and flavor. Hence, you should use fresh ingredients and avoid those that are past their expiration dates.
- Not allowing things to cool
Obviously, the most glorious thing in the world is a chocolate cookie that’s still warm from the oven. But, that’s not the problem here. This applies to breads and cakes. If you don’t allow a cake to cool completely before frosting it, you will have crumbs in the frosting. However, this doesn’t mean that you let the loaves and cakes cool in the baking pan. You have to let the steam escape, or else the sides and the bottom will become soggy. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn them out to the wire cooling rack for doing the rest.
Lastly, Ido Fishman recommends that you always have patience when baking and you will get the desired results.