Food. Lifestyle. Love

Friday, 3 May 2013

My baking tips

I would consider myself 95% self-taught baker, and the rest I learned from baking classes. Baking is not difficult, but it is not that easy either. There are few times the goodies that I make don't turn out to be the way I expect them to be, and I could only know it from the customers feedback (so you see it is important to give me feedback so that I can improve the desserts).

Many people have asked me if I offer baking classes, sadly with my current commitment I could not do so. This post will be my honest tips and advise for baking, even though I am still an amateur haha. 

Always use butter - no substitute
I always use butter for baking, unsalted preferably. It makes the cakes and frosting creamier and tastier. Even though it is a bit pricey, it is more delicious and healthy. I can give you a scholastic journal article showing how bad margarine/shortening/non-dairy substitute products if you don't believe me, but then again you can simple type on Google of the health risks using the substitutes. To me, quality is the main important thing, so you have to use real, fresh ingredients so that the sweets turn out nice. 


Use good quality baking soda and baking powder
Kinda funny right, but this is my honest advise. I used to purchase this so-so quality baking powder and soda because they are cheap, and they are sold in large amount. You can find these types in the bakery supply stores where they pack them in plastic bag in a big bulk. What I noticed (from my customers feedback), my cakes tasted bitter. I do know that too much baking soda makes cakes taste bitter, so I reduced the amount of baking soda and hence my cakes didn't rise that much. I was frustrated so I went to buy Arm & Hammer baking soda and Royal baking powder. The result- no more bitter taste so far! The cake rise beautifully and I am happy with the result :D

Reduce the amount of sugar and salt by half - if you use the recipes from other countries
I lived in the United States for four years, and I was actively cooking and baking during those years. This is what I noticed, the sugar and salt are not as sweet and salty like the ones in Malaysia. So I had to use large amount when I was cooking. My Brazilian friend, who was studying agriculture, told me sugar is less sweet in the US because the sugar is made from corn, and the one in Malaysia is produced from the sugarcane. There might be scientific explanation about this, but I didn't search for it. As for the salt, it might be due to the fact that the salt produced in the US is finer than the one in Malaysia. So based on my experienced, all the recipes that I found online especially from the US, UK or Australia, I would reduce the amount of sugar and salt in half, and I would add more if I want to make the cake sweeter.

Use good quality milk and vinegar to make buttermilk
Another observation- making buttermilk require good quality milk and vinegar. Previously, I used locally produced white vinegar to make buttermilk, but it didn't turn out right. The milk didn't thickened, and if I put too much it would turn out too sour. So I started buying the imported vinegar. I'm currently using vinegar from Heinz, and the buttermilk turns out exactly the way I wanted it to be :D

Heat is cakes best friend
In fact, it is also the best friends for cupcakes and pavlova. Always bake your cakes in batches (meaning you put the amount of the batter in two or three pans). Turn on the fan, this helps circulating the hot air and your cakes will rise nicely. And only bake the cake(s) using one tray, and place it in the middle. Unless you have humongous oven and the heat circulating really well you can put multiple trays. My oven is small, and it is an electric kind. Before this I used to bake using two trays because I wanted to save time baking many cakes. In the end, my cakes did not rise well, and some of them turned out to be bitter (might be due to the baking soda did not work properly). I stopped doing that and I didn't face that problem anymore.

Reheat your oven for at least 10 minutes, and when you put your cakes, do not open the oven door for the first 10 minutes or the cakes won't rise that well.

Use cling wrap to make cakes moist
After I finish baking a cake, I always let it cool for few minutes and straight away wraps it with cling wrap and stores it in the fridge. This will maintain the moistness of the cake. Just be extra careful when you are handling the cake, you don't want the cake to crack etc :)

Homemade sauce is always the best
This is the last tip for this post, just do let you know that every sauce that I make is homemade. Toffee, caramel, chocolate - you name it. It is tedious, but it taste WAYYY better that store-bought sauce. Trust me  :)

Okay I hope some of these tips could help other home/hobby bakers out there. Let me know if you have any questions :)


Sarah Iman Khairul Azhar said...

thanks for the tips ! i just want to know which recipe do you use for cream cheese frosting?

my cream cheese frosting always runny :(

Mas Muniroh Will said...

Sorry dear, I don't give out the recipes I use for baking. Hope you understand :)

But you can always try putting more icing sugar, not putting any liquid (unless for flavoring) and mix everything together in the food processor when they are still cold. I do that from time to time sometimes :)

Sarah Iman Khairul Azhar said...

okay. but thank you really appreciate that :) just want to know the tips for cream cheese frosting.

Mas Muniroh Will said...

no problem :)

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