1. The Basic Ingredients: In baking, there are specific ingredients that are used throughout multiple recipes: flour, a fat, eggs, a liquid, salt, and a sweetener. The flour provides the majority of the structure. Different flours will yield different results. Fats carry the flavor of any added spices and contribute to the overall texture of a baked good. Eggs provide structure and help to tenderize the dish. Eggs can also be separated, and the whites, when whipped, add tremendous volume. Liquids, such as milk, water, or juice act as the main moistening agent and can add flavor and tenderness to the finished product. Salt enhances the overall flavor of the baked good and adds strength to the protein. The sweetener, which can be anything from honey to granulated sugar, is meant to sweeten the baked good. Sweeteners can also add chew. Various combinations of these ingredients can create a plethora of recipes. 00:51
2. The Ratio of Ingredients: While baking can be quite creative, it also demands adhering to specific ratios in order to yield the desired product. Ratios can be played with, but playing with ratios will lead to different textures and flavors. This means making careful, accurate measurements when preparing a baked good. 04:27
3. The Handheld Tools of Baking: There are dozens of baking tools available nowadays, but a well-stocked kitchen will possess the most basic and functional pieces of equipment. A pastry bag with metal tips is used to pipe any desired filling onto or into a baked good. To use, simply fill the bag and force the filling through the tip with your hands. An ice cream scoop is a great tool for making consistent measurements when preparing cookies, pastries, and other small baked goods. Measuring cups and spoons are used for dry ingredients and measure by volume. A good set of measuring cups will include a 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and a whole cup. A digital scale measures ingredients in grams and, if used properly, provides consistent, precise measurements each time. Whisks are used to both whip up air and to stir dry ingredients. Wooden spoons and rubber spatulas are used to fold and combine ingredients. Rubber spatulas can also be used for scraping the remaining batter from a bowl or pan. Bowl scrapers are like rubber spatulas, but are able to contour to the shape of the bowl, making it a bit easier to remove any leftover batter. A bench scraper is used in bread and pastry making and is used to pick up or to push items around the counter. An offset spatula is used to frost small items, lift cakes away from pans, and remove smaller cookies from a baking sheet. A pair of kitchen shears can be used to cut off excess bits of caramel or dough that may have spread during the baking process. A pastry brush can be used to spread egg washes or simple syrups across baked goods. A rolling pin is used to spread out dough. French rolling pins are long and thin, making them a bit easier to maneuver than their American counterparts. A zester, or microplane, is used to remove the zest from citrus fruits and spices. There are different types of zesters available for different types of ingredients. 06:17
4. The Large Tools of Baking: A stand-mixer is a very important kitchen tool. A good stand-mixer possesses a variety of speeds, a large removable bowl, and a paddle, dough hook, and whisk attachment. The oven is one of the most important pieces of equipment. Most home ovens are conduction ovens, and can create “hotspots” within the oven, resulting in uneven baking. In order to combat these hotspots, many recipes instruct rotating pans throughout cooking. or you can purchase an oven thermometer. Oven thermometers often read different temperatures than what is listed on this monitor, so these can be excellent tools for getting an accurate reading. 12:56
5. Measuring Dried Goods in Volume: It’s especially important to measure out flour correctly as it often packs down and tends to form heavy clumps. To break up any clumps, use a whisk to gently “aerate” the flour. Dip the measuring cup into the flour and scoop up a large amount. Use an offset spatula to slowly scrape off the top mound of flour. Be sure to use the liquid measuring cups strictly for liquids. 14:26
6. Basic Terminology used in Baking: Batter is a term that refers to any uncooked dough. When a recipe requires stirring, simply swirl the wooden spoon in a circular motion. When a recipe calls for beating or whipping or creaming, it’s important to use a whisk, as this tool helps to create more air within the ingredients. When a recipe calls for folding, it means using a spoon or rubber spatula to go to the bottom of the bowl, pick up the ingredients, and gently bring into the center. This step usually follows a step asking for whipping, as it helps to keep the air within the ingredients. When a recipe calls to combine, it means to mix ingredients until they have just come together. When referring to butter, the term “softened” means that the butter is at room temperature, meaning that it’s pliable and easy to pinch. Caramelization occurs in many dessert recipes, and refers to the process of sugar breaking down to create dark rich color and flavor. The term “scalding” is used when heating liquids. A scalding temperature occurs just below a boil, and produces tiny little bubbles along the sides of the pan. 16:10
What You'll Need
- Pasty bag
- Pastry tips
- Ice cream scoop
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Digital scale
- Wooden spoon
- Plastic spatula
- Bull scraper
- Bench scraper
- Offset spatula
- Kitchen shears
- Pastry brush
- Rolling pin
- Stand mixer
- Oven thermometer
Flours come in a wide variety of flavors, grains, and colors. Different flours will yield different results. For more information regarding flour and its different uses, visit Chef Rose’s “Flours” tutorial located at the bottom of the page.
Butter isn’t the only fat that can be used for baking. Many recipes call for oils or shortening. For more information regarding the many types and uses for fats, visit Chef Rose’s “Fats” tutorial located at the bottom of the page.
Sweeteners include anything from honey to agave to white cane sugar. For more information regarding the different types of sweeteners, visit Chef Rose’s “Sweeteners” tutorial located at the bottom of the page.
In this tutorial, Chef Rose illustrates the importance of using various types of equipment, including the standing mixer, a whisk, and a rolling pin. For more information regarding how to use these tools, visit Chef Rose’s "How to Use a Standing Mixer," "How to Whisk," and "How to Use a Rolling Pin" tutorials located at the bottom of the page.
Leaveners are incredibly important in baking and include yeast, baking soda, and baking powder. For more information on yeast and leaveners, visit Chef Rose’s "Everything You Need to Know about Leaveners" and "Yeasts" tutorials located at the bottom of the page.
The pan is an essential baking tool and it’s important to correctly prepare it prior to making any baked good. For more information regarding pan preparation, visit Chef Rose’s “How to Prepare Your Pan” tutorial located at the bottom of the page.
Add-ons, extracts, and flavored oils are ingredients that are often found in baking recipes. Add-ons include ingredients like raisins and chocolate chips. These ingredients are most often added in at the end of a recipe. Extracts and oils include ingredients like vanilla extract, almond extract, and peppermint oil. While oils and extracts are used for similar purposes, they are not identical ingredients. An oil is pure and concentrated, while an extract is a mixture of the oil and a medium, most often alcohol, that helps to carry the flavor throughout the baked good.