Baking tips & tricks

I like baking - it´s no coincidence that the ´baked goods´-section is one of the more extensive sections on this blog.
Along the way I´ve come across some tips & tricks that might be useful for other (aspiring) chefs as well:

- does a recipe call for flour and baking powder but you don´t have either (or both) on hand? If you have self-raising flour in your pantry, you´re good to go. Substitute the quantity of flour with the same quantity in self-raising flour and omit the baking powder (as the self-raising flour already contains a rising agent - hence the name). I do this all the time and everything tastes great.
- do you have a receipe for a cake or loaf, but you´re feeling more like making bite-size portions?
No problem. Most recipes for a single loaf or cake will make approx. 12 (generous) muffins or cupcakes. A rule of thumb is to halve the baking time. However, it´s better to err on the side of caution and reduce the baking time a bit more. Use a skewer to test whether they are done and, if necessary, bake for a few more minutes.
- to make equal-sized muffins or cupcakes, use a regular icecream scoop for the batter. Much less messy than fiddling with spoons!
There are also smaller sized cookie dough scoops that are perfect for dividing batter for mini muffins or, of course, cookie dough.
The smallest size (approx. 1¨ diameter) is also ideal for making small meatballs or falafel!
- most recipes will state the temperatures for different types of ovens on which to bake your cake, pie or loaf. When using a circulation oven instead of a convection oven, the rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature by 10%.
- some (more economical) brands of spices come in closed metal tins with only an opening to sprinkle from. It can be a bit hard to get larger quantities from the can, even when using the largest opening. Using a can opener, remove the bottom of the can to easily scoop out the required quantity and store the rest in a spare container.

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