With the start of the new year, I like to take a few days off to plan the upcoming year. Actually, I have been doing this for several weeks, but a few days of leisure helps me put it all into prospective.
I have an ambitious plan for the year – I’ll see how much I get into practice. In addition to this blog, I blog for a local magazine, appear regularly on TV and am the pastry chef for Tony’s – the most acclaimed restaurant in St. Louis. In fact, I am very proud that we have recently been named one of America’s top 100 restaurants.
But I digress. To give you something to think about while I ruminate , I’ve collected some sites that offer baking tips I think would interest you. Please disregard the pan preparation tips they give and stick to the Cake Pan Prep for Flat Cake Layers here. These have been selected as each baking tip has something to say the others didn’t so there isn’t a lot of repetition.
If you have a particular baking tip you would like to share, please post it in the comment section. I know we would all love to hear them.
I wish for all of you the very best in 2014 and that it will be your best year yet! Baking and otherwise!
http://sweetapolita.com/2010/11/50-tips-for-baking-better-cakes/ – This is an ambitious 50 tips for baking better cakes.
http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cake/bakingtips.htm – Nice collection of basic baking rules.
http://allrecipes.com/howto/top-10-cookie-baking-tips/ – Especially for cookie makers. This has some useful cookie tips.
http://southernfood.about.com/od/cakerecipes/a/cake_tips.htm – Some useful information not addressed by others
http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/cake-baking-00412000067467/page12.html – I like Cooking Light magazine because they are the only consumer magazine that gets baking. They use scales, and other good baking techniques and write their recipes with weights. They have a particularly good tip, “How to factor in Higher Altitude. Although I don’t live in a high altitude area, I learned what to do if I did. For those of you who do, you will find this particularly interesting and helpful. It is their number 10 tip out of 10. All are interesting however.
http://sherisilver.com/2011/03/03/baking-basics-my-top-ten-tips-and-tricks/- I found two tips here that bear mentioning.
“10. I came across this muffin/cupcake do-ahead tip over 20 years ago and it is, hands down, my favorite: line your tins with foil cups. Follow the recipe, fill the tins and place the unbaked muffins in the freezer. When frozen, pop them out and store in ziploc bags. Note the item, oven temp and baking time (as well as the date) on the bag. You can now make as few or many freshly baked muffins as you like – a lovely treat on a weekend morning or after school. Pre-heat the oven according to the recipe, place the frozen muffins in the tins and bake for 10-15 minutes longer than suggested. As in tip #9, fill the empty cups half-way with water to ensure even heating.
9. One of my favorite baking tools is my mini-loaf rack. Often, a pound cake or tea bread recipe is more than I need for the occasion – a friend coming for tea or a thank you for a neighbor. Here’s an easy conversion that yields several small loaves for the price of one: a recipe calling for a 9×5 loaf pan will yield 3 mini loaves, and one using an 8×4 pan will yield 2. If you are not filling all the pans on the rack, fill the empty pans halfway with water to ensure even heating all around. These mini loaves freeze well and are so nice to have at the ready.”
I also like King Arthur Flours site, http://www.kingarthurflour.com but they push their products so aggressively and suggest adding products they sell to recipes that I don’t think are necessary for home bakers to achieve excellent results.