Why is baking so hard? Key Tips to Have a Better Bake.

Precious Pioneer
4 min readFeb 5, 2023
Photo by LAUREN GRAY on Unsplash

Because of their chemistry, many chefs find baking and pastry an impossible side of the culinary world. It’s like cooking; baking depends on the senses. You have to touch and feel the texture dough. Though it often does require attention and precision, everyone can learn to bake. Like everything, it comes with a learning curve and a little practice.

Baking and pastries can be intimidating initially because recipes usually require a lot of time. There can be a lot of pressure to avoid making a single error because your pastry will flop. But, in the beginning, I encourage you to enjoy the process. Each failed bake will teach you something, and you’ll improve over time.

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I remember the very first time I ever made a cake. I didn’t know that the dough doubled in size when baked, so I filled the cake tin up to the top instead of splitting it into two pans. After about 30 minutes in the oven, I ran back to the kitchen to find the fire alarm blaring and the oven smoking with a surprise lava cake eruption inside. My mom was not happy. But now I know, lol. Many first bakes will be like this, so I encourage you to keep going and asking questions.

How to make baking easier?

I recommend starting with simple recipes. Each recipe requires a different level of technique. When your first start out, I will recommend batch doughs that are more forgiving such as cookies, brownies, or sweet loaves. Once you master the basics, you can then have the freedom to experiment and create your style. That’s the beauty of pastry.

What do I need to get started?

Just like with cooking, a chef is as good as his knife’s sharpness, which means that your tools are essential to the success of the desired result. If you are baking at home, you can hack many different things. But you also sacrifice something in return. In the States, we use measuring spoons and cups; abroad, they often weigh everything in grams. I like the precision of weighing ingredients because it takes the question out of “loosely packed” vs. “leveled spoon.” Having a mixer vs. mixing by hand will make a difference in the result, for better or worse. The short answer is you don’t need to buy everything to get started; I would start simple with the staples and slowly build your collection from there. You’ll realize as you continue to bake what you are missing and slowly add things to your inventory throughout the years.

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What are some essential tips to have a better bake?

Two main parts could elevate your baking instantly: understanding the basics of the ingredients you’re working with and temperature control. The technique is a skill that you will develop over time.

  1. Understand your Ingredients: When starting, you’ll work with flour, sugar, eggs, and a leavening agent. Knowing how they react when combined with other ingredients can go a long way — for example, a common mistake when baking cakes is overmixing. When you mix flour with water, it hydrates the dough. But, when mixed vigorously, the glutton in flour will begin to form, which is excellent for bread but terrible for cake. With that same thought, pastries such as biscuits and scones rely on butter and flour to bind first, so water is almost repelled by the flour and hydrates slowly to ensure no glutton has formed, leaving the dough in a flaky state when baked.
  2. Temperature Control: Many of your bakes will be more successful by paying attention to the temperature of your ingredients. For example, butter temperature is so important. Ensure butter is room temperature for creaming recipes like cookies but ice cold for layered pastries such as puff pastry, scones, and biscuits.
  3. Read Your Recipes Twice Before You Begin: This prevents big mistakes, such as mixups between baking soda and baking powder. But, the order in which you add things makes a difference. Many doughs will have you add your dry mixture to your wet mixture. But, in other recipes, it’s in reverse. But sometimes, they’ll have you alternate. The key to a great bake is in the details.
  4. Don’t let it stick!: This tip applies to everything. When you make dough, spay your proofing bowl. Use parchment paper to save your cookies. Use as much flour as you need when making pie dough. Grease your cake tins before adding the batter. These small steps will save you a headache and help with your dessert’s final look.
  5. Let Your Baked Goods Cool Before Cutting Into Them: When you pull your desserts from the oven, they often require rest because they will continue to cook as it cools down. If you cut into it before it has adequately cooled, it could still be raw on the inside, or it’ll lose its initial integrity. For filled desserts, such as pies and cheesecakes, the rest period gives the filling a chance to set and thicken so when you cut into it, it doesn’t all just leak out like a dessert soup.

I hope that you found this helpful!

Best of luck and happy baking, Precious Pioneer ❤



Precious Pioneer

a young adult trying to tread through rising expenses and climate change. adulting is hardly easy, but I’ll settle for good coffee and a scoop of ice cream.