With fall upon us and holidays coming soon, it is the time of year when most of us do a little more baking. The following are a few baking tips I have used to help make the process a little easier. Some you probably already do and some may be new to you. I would also love to hear some of your shortcuts.
1. If a recipe calls for both oil and honey, measure the oil first and use the same measuring cup or spoon to measure the honey. This way the honey won't stick to the spoon or cup. If oil is not called for, rinse the spoon or cup with warm water or spray with cooking spray before measuring.
2. If you wish to adjust a recipe by replacing part or all of the sugar with honey, it takes half of the amount of honey as the amount of sugar called for in a recipe to get the desired amount of sweetness. For example if a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you can replace it with a half of a cup of honey.
3. When measuring vanilla or other flavorings, a cap full is equivalent to one teaspoon. I have been doing this for years without checking, but I actually checked and the McCormick brand's cap full was exactly one teaspoon. Aldi pure vanilla has a smaller cap and it is a little shy of one teaspoon.
4. When replacing part of your flour with things such as milled flaxseed, wheat germ, wheat bran, milled oats, etc. sprinkle your added ingredients into the bottom of your measuring cup first and add your flour on top so you get the right amount of dry ingredients called for in the recipe.
5. When a recipe calls for a room temperature egg, put a whole, un-cracked egg from the refrigerator into a cup of warm/hot tap water (not boiling) for about five minutes before using. This will gently warm the egg without cooking it.
6. If you do not have time for yeast to rise slowly, boil water in a measuring cup or small bowl in the microwave. Place your bowl of uncovered yeast dough next to your cup of hot water in the microwave and close the door. If the steam in the microwave dies down, remove the dough and re-boil the water. Return the dough to the steam filled microwave next to the cup of water. Do not turn the microwave on while the dough is inside. The small, steamy area is a perfect environment to help the dough rise quickly.
7. When a recipe calls for measuring liquids in a separate bowl, measure them all in the same measuring cup. No need to dirty a second bowl. For example, if a recipe calls for ¼ cup of oil, ½ cup of milk, and one egg, measure oil to the ¼ cup mark, pour on top of the oil the milk measuring up to the ¾ cup mark and add the egg to the top of the measuring cup. Mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
Have you tried any of these methods before? Do you have any additional shortcuts you use when baking?