Baking can be called a variety of things; however easy is not one of them. If you are one of those people who have never had a soufflé fall, your baked goods come out too dense, or your cookies spread too far; then you are one of the lucky few and this is not the article for you. Since baking is just as much a science as it is an art, there are quite a few common causes for failure with baking. This guide goes over a few of these problems and causes, but also provides some good links of tested and easy to follow recipes.
Let’s start by going over some of the common mishaps experienced with baking. First, and probably the most common, is cookies coming out flat. The next problem we see often is cakes falling, peaking, or cracking in the center. Lastly, another mistake seen a lot is when baked goods come out too stiff. At some point, if you’ve ever baked from scratch that is, you’ve more than likely experienced at least one of these issues. Now, if you have made it this far, you probably already know that these problems all have causes that once you know, you can fix.
Now let’s go over some of the causes for problems discussed above. First, when your cookies are flat start by making sure you are using the exact amount of butter the recipe called for and that it is just soft enough to use. You really don’t want the cookie too warm so put it in the fridge for a half hour before baking them. The next issues mentioned above were cake centers falling, peaking or cracking; all of which is generally caused by oven and temperature mistakes. If the center of your cake fell, the temperature of your oven was more than likely too low or you opened it a lot and let heat escape. If your cake peaked or cracked, your oven temperature was probably to high causing the top of the cake to cook sooner than the inside; therefore you should make sure the heat is even and the cake is in the center of the oven. Finally, the article talked about baked goods being stiff, which is generally the product of over mixing or ingredients not being correct. These are not the only possible causes for failed baking, they are merely the most common.
If you want to avoid any mistakes with baking in the future always double check the amounts of ingredients for a given recipe and preheat the oven properly. With the right ingredients and even heat you can’t go wrong, but it never hurts to start with simpler and tested recipe. For a wonderful and basic cookie recipe look on the Hershey’s website or if you need a quality cake recipe try using the King Arthur Flour website, you can’t go wrong with either.