How often do you find yourself baking and the recipe says to add a pinch of salt, but you don’t know the reason behind it? The general reaction is to shrug and do what it says since the recipe promises awesome-looking cookies anyway (judging by the Pinterest-worthy snapshot). Here are some commonly seen tips and tricks in baking and the logic behind ’em.
1. Measuring flour
If you’re getting tough and dry cookies or cakes and don’t know why, try spooning flour into a dry measuring cup then leveling it with a knife. Scooping directly from the bag will result in more flour than you actually need because the flour is compactly packed.
2. Adding a pinch of salt
This step is in pretty much every cookie recipe and is baffling because how will 1/8 teaspoon of salt make a difference anyway? Apparently, it really does. Research has shown that adding salt helps bring out the complexity to the flavor and enhance the sweetness of baked products.
3. Packing brown sugar
Measuring brown sugar is exactly the opposite of measuring flour. Because brown sugar is wetter compared to granulated sugar and clumps easily, you’ll need to press the sugar down into the cup with a spoon when measuring it. This is to make sure there aren’t voids in the sugar, which might alter the sweetness of your end product.
4. Melting chocolate and butter
If you decide against following a recipe because it calls for melting chocolate and butter over a double boiler, fret not. You can easily do so by popping them in the microwave for less than 20 seconds (depending on your microwave).
5. Folding the ingredients
Why fold when you can whisk or stir? Folding is actually done to prevent overmixing and disrupting the texture of the product, which could cause dense and dry consistencies. A rubber spatula is commonly used to gently combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients together, usually seen in muffin and cake recipes.
If your pantry is lacking ingredients you need, check out this article for baking substitutions. Here are a couple of other awesome summery baked goodies from Spoon you should also check out: