Baking Tips

Getting ready to make bread, mis en place

General Baking Tips

  • all the ingredients should be at room temperature unless the recipe specifies otherwise
  • butter, softened means the butter will still feel chilly but you should be able to leave a finger indent in it
  • butter, cold is straight from the refrigerator
  • room temperature is a chilly room, about 65 degrees (baking on a 90 degree day without a/c is going to be tough)
  • preheating the oven for 30-60 minutes means it is fully ready to bake and still not floundering to keep the temperature
  • using a digital kitchen scale makes fast and accurate work of measuring and allows for using less bowls and utensils making clean-up easier
  • clean as you go because clutter piling up can be distracting
  • read ALL the way through a recipe, including the instructions before beginning because there might be something in there that isn’t clear unless you read the whole thing
  • reading through a recipe twice is better than one reading
  • check to make sure all the necessary ingredients are on hand and fresh before beginning a recipe
  • always a good practice to bake the recipe exactly as written the first time or two before substituting or changing instructions
  • use the right pan, utensil, equipment for the right job
  • don’t bake meringue or try to make caramel on a humid day
  • if the instructions require the ingredients to be chilled, the kitchen ought to be chilly, too
  • short recipes are not always better than longer ones
  • if a recipe didn’t work for the first time, review the ingredients list to see if it matches what was used and the instructions to see if a step might have been missed or changed
  • anything that is made from lots of chocolate will always taste richer the next day
  • storing baked goods in a tin (not plastic) keeps them in better shape and tins can be gotten even at a dollar store

 

Flour Tips

  • all purpose GF commercial flours are not intended for every purpose no matter how they are advertised
  • try to use flour that begins with whole grain and ends with as little starch as necessary
  • weigh flour for best accuracy and recipe results
  • GF Canteen recipes ALWAYS define one volume cup of flour as 130 grams no matter what flour is used
  • use superfine flours for a non-gritty texture
  • letting dough rest or chill overnight hydrates the flour and makes the product often taste much better than baking it immediately
  • GF Canteen recipes work best with the flour indicated in the recipe and substitutes may yield results that are a mystery to everyone
  • no need to use exotic GF flours in our recipes
  • simple flour mixtures without additives like x-gum or pectin or milk are better for Canteen recipes because we believe in adding in what is needed (with as little as possible of that ingredient) to get the job done and not by some magic generalized formula
  • mix a batch of flour and store in a large Cambro for quick and easy access when baking
  • see About Flours for more information about flours

 

Baking Tips

  • contrary to popular belief, it is possible to over mix GF dough and batter and make it tough, so only mix according to instructions
  • mixing cookie dough by hand yields a better textured drop cookie because too much mixing (using an electric mixer) can make the dough fluffy and it will not spread out into a crunchy chewy cookie
  • rolling dough between sheets of plastic wrap works well if the dough is still slightly chilly
  • never grease the plastic wrap because the dough will adhere to it
  • only dust the plastic wrap with flour or starch if necessary
  • GF dough generally tears as it is bent into shape but can be pinched together and painted with a wet finger which will adhere the dough together at a crack
  • always hold back a teaspoon or so of raw dough to patch a blind-baked crust that cracked apart
  • apply little rolled logs of raw dough to the cracks of the warm crust and let it sit for a minute to soften and paint the edges together to seal
  • always sift powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa, and sometimes nut flours before adding to the batter or dough or before making icing
  • never use granulated or superfine sugar in place of powdered sugar in frosting because it will not dissolve

 

Recipes Prep Tips

  • chopping chocolate in a food processor is quick and easy if they are frozen first – the chocolate will not get mushy
  • using a scale eliminates lots of guess work when it comes to getting the right amount of each ingredient into the mixing bowl and saves on using extra utensils
  • add-in ingredients like dried fruits, nuts or chopped fruits should be about the same size in order to bake evenly
  • dusting nuts, dried fruits, berries, or chocolate chips with some of the flour mixture will help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the batter – most of the time
  • zest first, then juice the citrus – it’s pretty hard to zest a flattened fruit
  • when melting chocolate in a microwave, start with 25 second bursts and stir in between for best results
  • to roll chilled pie dough, place between sheets of plastic wrap and hit the dough with a rolling pin to get it moving otherwise if it is rolled immediately it might crack
  • keeping gluten-free cut-out cookie or pie and pastry dough chilly helps it keep its shape
  • even if the dough or batter seems too wet, best to err on following the recipe the first time out because gluten-free dough, once hydrated sucks up the liquid
  • don’t use any stinky bean flours in the Canteen recipes unless it calls for it which will be never
  • using a serrated knife to slice bars are slice & bake cookie dough makes the job neater and easier
  • substituting margarine or fake butter in recipes that call for shortening or unsalted butter will not work

 

Baking Attitude Tips

  • baked goods are meant as indulgences – eat dessert first
  • look for one or two-bite treats if you are interested in small indulgences
  • this is a baking blog and it is a bad place for a diet
  • this is a baking blog and a good place for a gluten-free diet
  • we use as little sugar as possible to achieve a good flavor, no more, no less
  • our motto is “no cookie left behind” so if you have a favorite and it’s not on the blog, let us know