The art of baking has been around for about as long as cooking has been a concept that humans have used and appreciated.
And because it has been around for so long at this point, we pretty much have baking down to a science at this point.
This can unfortunately put a lot of people off from baking, as they worry that using the wrong method will not yield the results that they are looking for.
However, as much as baking is a science, it is also as much an art form, meaning that a lot of it is simply skills that can be learned, and then applied to your special techniques and methods.
So, if you’re looking for a crash course on the most important aspects of baking, take a look at this guide to see some of the most basic baking methods that have been used for centuries, from measuring methods, to how you should be weighing your baking ingredients, and even mixing methods that you should know about!
Measuring Methods Of Baking
This is a key aspect of baking that is a cornerstone for all others to follow. After all, you don’t want your cake-making to take a nose dive because of a wet mixture, do you?
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the methods that you’ll be using to measure your ingredients.
Generally speaking, most recipes that need their ingredients measured will usually say what the ideal measuring and baking methods are that you should use.
However, in those situations where no instructions are given, these are the three most likely techniques you will need.
Scoop & Level Method
This is a pretty simple method that anyone with baking experience will have heard of at least.
Essentially, you take the measuring cups that you are using for your ingredient gathering, scoop up a cup full of your chosen ingredient, and use the blunt side of a knife to scrape the excess off of your spoon.
While this is by no means the most accurate method, this is a straightforward technique that will make sure that the proportions for your recipe are more or less equal, so you won’t need to keep shoveling your ingredients into your mixing bowl.
This is a technique that, unless stated otherwise, most recipes use, from chocolate cake to pie dough, so you’re usually safe falling back on this method for your baked goods.
Try this method out with different types of baking and ingredients, from flour for pie crust, to sugar for a raising agent in your cake rise.
Spoon & Level Method
Not to be confused with the previous measuring technique, this is a less used method but it can still have a massive amount of difference in the result of your baking methods.
Using the scoop method instead of the spoon method when the latter is needed will give you twice the amount that you’ll need.
To do this measuring method, scoop up your chosen ingredient, then tap the measuring vessel until any air pocket that we in the cup or scoop are gone, then scrape the top off with the back of a knife.
Scoop & Pack Method
Sort of the opposite of the first method, this technique scoops up as many ingredients into the cup as possible and packs it as tightly as possible to get the most flour or whatever ingredient you have.
these last two techniques are generally more reliable measuring and baking methods, as they make the overall weight more reliable.
This isn’t so much a different measuring method, as it is an all-in-one method for measuring your ingredients.
Using a weighing scale to measure out your ingredients will get you the most accurate result, but also require more equipment than the other three major measuring methods of baking use.
Mixing Methods Of Baking
Now, we come on to the mixing methods that help turn your raw ingredients into batter that can be placed into a cake tin, pie crust mold, or anything else.
The following are the most common:
- Whisking method
- Creaming method
- Melting method
- Rubbing in method
- Folding method
As the name suggests, the whisking method uses a whisk instead of a normal raising agent or baking powder to get air into a batter or dough mixture.
It’s very effective with enough practice but does require a lot of energy to make it effective. Still, you won’t find a more reliable way of making your cake than with a whisk!
Like the whisking method, the creaming method tries to add air to lighten a potential batter.
However, it uses eggs and cold butter after the dry ingredients are added, and an electric whisk (or a sturdy wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease) to turn the ingredients into a light, creamy batter.
It’s important not to overwork the mixture here, otherwise, it may appear grainy and coarse, and you’ll have to add more wet ingredients to get the mixture right.
Remember, the creaming method will produce a light and fluffy batter or wet mixture!
The melting method, unlike the whisking method or creaming method, uses a lot of heat to get the butter nice and hot before adding it to a mixture and is usually used for a dense or moist baked good.
Rubbing In Method
Unlike the other three major mixing methods, the rubbing-in method is a simple method where, instead of the whisking method or creaming method, you knead the batter with your hands until the texture is fine, to an almost sand-like texture.
Perfect for shortcrust pastries and scone recipes!
We have time to talk about one of the less well-known mixing methods.
By having your batter folded gently once it starts to stick together, you can avoid over proving your ingredients, getting a nice smooth texture.
And there you have it! The most common baking methods out there!
Whether it’s baking caramel cake, fruit cakes, or chocolate chip cookies, these are skills that you can take into pretty much any baked good that you might make in your new hobby or baking business.
Now, get out there, and put these new skills and methods to the test!