If you’re anything like me, consistency can be an issue when in the kitchen. One day, you follow the recipe to the letter and it comes out looking like mush and then next time it looks as though Gordon Ramsey himself placed it on the table.
I have always had this problem and probably will as I am nowhere near a world class baker. Not to cut myself short as I spent a whole post explaining why you should never allow yourself to not believe you’re a baker/chef (hint hint look down and then click 😉
Every time I step into my kitchen, I am experimenting, testing myself and my abilities to a degree. I am constantly learning which each recipe what works and what doesn’t, whether it be with the cooking, the technique, or myself in general.
Not to say that I don’t have those moments
of complete frustration where throwing a pan seems like a viable solution to my current level of anger. Trust me, those moments constantly lurk lol. Just last week, I let it boil over as the heat of Southern California, combined with that of the oven and stove on made me a wee bit frazzled to the point that I decided a hot pan would feel great against my forearm. Oh yeah, I was beyond ecstatic….
Despite this, I still am not deterred from the kitchen. And neither should anyone else be. The world is full of set-backs and negativity; don’t let one bad try stop you from trying again. You don’t have to be the best to enjoy doing what you do. I’m certainly not. Key thing is to simply enjoy it.
That being said, there are a number of things you can do to help your baking be the best it can be. I have created another list (yes another one) to pass on some of the pointers I have picked up along the way as well as those I have found that help me out.
- Before beginning, always read the recipe TO THE END!!!: Yeah, we all know this is what we should do, but how many times have you not done this, especially not the whole thing. Sometime there are key point at the end or notes on alternative steps to follow that we can miss not reading the whole thing. Reading it ahead of time will help you to be prepared for your next step before you get to it and anticipate your moves.
- Post your recipe up high: I tend to tape my recipe up on the cupboard so it doesnt get lost in the hustle and bustle and I end up messing it up with all the ingredients as I continually pick it up to review it. By taping it up off the counter, I save space (a continual theme here) and allow the recipe to stay nice and clean.
- Prepare your ingredients ahead of time: Yes, before you even start the first step of the recipe (okay maybe you can preheat the oven), get out all the ingredients you will need and put them within easy reach. Measuring them out helps clear off much needed counter space and save time by having them ready to simply add to the mix. If you’re neurotic like myself, you can place them in order of their combination on the counter so its simply pick and dump 🙂
- Pick up as you go: Measuring beforehand helps with this tip as the moment you finish with an item, put it back. Get it out of your way so you don’t have a ton of items confusing you or sitting in the way. The less clutter, the less stress.
- Measure correctly: Measuring your ingredients as precise as possible will help ensure your recipe will be as accurate as possible. Some people like to use a measuring scale versus the cups as it is more accurate, but its personal preference. Plus it helps with metric recipes (converting to imperial measurements is never precise as it always turns out to be 1.267 cups….ugh)
- Know your ingredients: when a recipe calls for unsalted versus salted butter, follow the directions! There is definitely a need to understand your ingredients as they can change the taste of your recipe immensely.
- Follow your directions hints/tips: when your recipe says use softened, melted, vs cold butter, make sure your follow those suggestions. The texture of your ingredients can determine the outcome just as much as the type of ingredient. Believe it or not, room temperature does make a difference with your ingredients.
- Know your oven!!!: If your oven is like mine, it hasn’t been calibrated in quite some time. If the temperature is off, it can burn or undercook your recipe, with no fault to yourself. Using an oven thermometer or calibrating your oven can have a major impact on your success rate. Temperature is everything.
- Keep the oven door closed!!: Piggy-backing off of the last point, every time you open the oven door, you lower the temperature in the oven, causing it to have to reheat back to the correct temperature. This can affect your cook time and possibly make or break the recipe. Minimize the amount of times you open the door to check or if possible, use the viewing window to check your concoction.
- Soapy sink: Have a sink ready with soapy water so as soon as you are finished with a dish, you can dump it in the sink and get it out of the way. This way you save space and get the cleaning process started early 🙂
- Take a breath: Always remember to try and enjoy cooking instead of just doing it. When you start to get frustrated, take a step back and take a breath. When you get too frustrated, you start to doubt yourself or make mistakes. Maintain control of your kitchen and finish what you started.
Now I’m just an average jane so my advice isn’t worth more than a cup of coffee, but from personal experience, I wouldn’t have improve to where I am without these tips. Key thing is the list above has help me become more consistent with my desserts and food concoctions and my hope will be the same for you. I’m sure there are hundreds of other hints that I would love to hear so be sure to leave them in the comments for all of us to benefit from.
Thanks for reading and get cooking!
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