Baking is not difficult, but it does require more precision than cooking. Measuring ingredients accurately and even following the order of the recipe is important. One of the magical things about baking is that by just changing the order in which ingredients are combined an entirely different result is produced.
So, before we begin, here are some pointers about measuring accurately.
1. Always use the right tool. Liquids and dry measurements have different measuring tools. A measuring cup for milk, for instance, has a spout and a handle. A measuring cup for flour has straight sides. They hold different amounts and are not interchangeable. Measuring spoons are used for small amounts of both liquid and dry ingredients.
2. When you measure liquid ingredients, place the cup on the counter and bend down to look at the mark eye level. If you hold the measuring cup up to your eye–you won’t realize it, but you will tilt it and get the wrong measurement.
3. Recipes that I send you will always use the “scooping method” for measuring dry ingredients. A cup of flour is measured this way, Use a big spoon to lightly fluff up the flour in the canister. Use the spoon to fill the measuring cup. Overfill it and then use the back of a knife to scrape off the excess. If you dip the measuring cup into the flour–you pack extra flour into the cup and will get more flour than the recipe calls for.
4. Both liquids and dry ingredients are measured with the same set of spoons. Dry ingredients can be dipped. The excess is also scraped off with a knife. Liquids are very carefully poured.
5. I like to measure out my ingredients before I start so that I am not rushed and it makes it easier to remember to add everything.
6. Finally, preheat your oven. If you decide to bake a lot, you will want to buy an oven thermometer to make sure your oven temperature is correct. If it isn’t–the oven is easily adjusted.