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Tips and Tricks of a Home Baker

April 18, 2011

Even when using the same recipe, different people often have different results.  There are lots of little things we do in the kitchen out of habit or resourcefulness.  Maybe we don’t even notice these little nuances we’ve developed over time.

For example, in the last few weeks, I’ve given up brown sugar.  At first this was simply because I was out.  Rather than run to the store, I decided to make my own.  It is just sugar and molasses after all!  So, for each cup of sugar, I threw in a tablespoon of molasses and hoped for the best.  Well, the recipe not only turned out, I’ve found I actually prefer this method to the store-bought bag of brown sugar!  We haven’t bought any since!

cookies baked with “homemade brown sugar”

Here are a few more little things I do (or don’t do) that probably make all the difference:

  • I rarely sift anything (cocoa, powdered sugar, etc).  I use a whisk instead.
  • When using vanilla, I either use a vanilla bean or homemade vanilla extract.
  • Our silicone baking mat gets a lot of use!  I also prefer the silicone bread pan to our metal one.
  • If a recipe calls for buttermilk, I usually substitute with sour milk (milk with a bit of white vinegar).
  • When substituting whole wheat flour in a recipe, I typically use 1/3-1/2 whole wheat to 2/3-1/2 white flour.
  • When measuring flour, I scoop it out of the bag with the correct measuring cup (but don’t pack it in) and then just use the side of the bag on my way up to level it off.

Then there are the specifics on ingredients:

  • Salt = Sea Salt
  • Butter = Unsalted Butter
  • Eggs = Large, Cage-Free, Organic
  • Flour = All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • Milk = 1% unless otherwise specified

What are some kitchen tips and tricks you use?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2011 7:02 pm

    I never sift either! I always whisk by hand. I lightly spoon and scrape the flour into the measuring cup. The cookies look awesome….wouldn’t mind one or two for dessert! YUM!

  2. April 19, 2011 12:36 am

    I made bread with honey rather than sugar last year and I’m such a rules sort of person I felt really strange trying it but it was the bestest bread ever. Attempt #2 was the worst but at least I proved to myself it works.

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