Are you suffering from OCBD? Otherwise known as Out of Control Baker’s Disorder? Symptoms include excessive finger-crossing to help promote a favorable baking outcome, frequent offerings to the cupcake gods in the hopes of finally achieving the perfect crumb, and far too many last minute trips to the bakery after yet another dessert course disaster.
What if you could turn the act of baking from a nail-biting mystery into a pleasurable pastime with predictable results? It turns out that there are five common mistakes that can lead to big-time baking fails. Look at the list below, and make sure that next time you’re about to embark on a baking expedition you avoid these traps!
1. Before you start, read your recipe all the way through.
This sounds obvious, but it is absolutely essential. I recommend reading the recipe at least a day ahead of your planned baking time as many pastry recipes call for resting times and chilled ingredients. If you want to bring home the baking gold, these are steps you do not want to miss!
2. Check your expiration dates.
A lot of baking recipes call for active ingredients like baking soda, baking powder and yeast, which won’t perform as needed once they’ve expired. If you don’t want the flat cake blues, take a close look at the expiration dates and replace as needed.
3. Don’t believe your oven.
Just because your oven says it’s at 350 degrees, doesn’t mean it really is. Ovens are liars, and the best lie detector test is a little clip-on oven thermometer that will tell you what’s really going on in there! Ovens also have hot spots, so get to know where those things are and rotate as needed.
4. Start with a quality recipe.
There are approximately 100 bazillion recipes on the web these days and lots of them sound really good and look amazing. Banana cardamom bundt cake with a coconut drizzle anyone? Before you start peeling those bananas you might want to look into where that recipe came from and whether or not it has received any user comments. There are lots of very crafty and excited people putting up their recipes online (myself included), but many of them have never truly been tested. If you’re just looking to mess around and try out a fun new recipe you don’t have to be super picky, but if you are looking to impress your picky mother-in-law with a five star dessert, you’ll want to start with a reputable source.
5. Don’t mess around with measuring.
Eyeballing ingredients is fine if you’re making gazpacho, but not so much if you’re making a tomato tart. When it comes to baking, and we’ve said it before, it’s a science and you need to have perfect ratios for perfect results. That’s why Drop is your new best baking friend – weighing ingredients is so much more precise than measuring with cups.