It’s that time of the year when each of us desires to don the baker’s hat and bake some lip-smacking delights for our loved ones at home. We may not be chefs de cuisine who craft out the richest plum cakes, melt-in-mouth jam pies or cutesy gingerbread cookies; but December inspires us to discover the baker within as we sway to melodious carols and go about measuring ingredients and greasing trays.
To ease you into the intricate art of baking, we called on veteran pastry chef and baker Manish Khanna, Founder and Partner at bespoke dessert bars Brownie Point and NOIR to share a few baking tips for beginners. Here’s what Chef Khanna says:
- Weigh out and measure ingredients beforehand. A last minute hunt for ingredients could make one lose out on precious time required to add the next ingredient, resulting in changes to the texture and taste of the goodie.
- Always keep eggs at room temperature.
- Butter meanwhile should be used cold, unless specified. If butter is required to be at room temperature, leave it on the kitchen table to gradually attain the desired temperature. Never microwave butter.
- Preheat oven to the desired temperature. If the temperature specifications are not followed, it could result in loss of volume or a change to the texture of the baked dessert.
- To get a glossy shine atop the baked goodie, brush with egg wash before baking. In case of eggless products, use milk mixed with a teaspoon of sugar for that extra gloss.
- For additional gloss on products like breads, brush them with melted fat once they are out from the oven.
- Once you have baked a cake, allow it to cool while still in the mould. Do not unmould while hot as it could damage the structure.
- If using silicon moulds for baking, choose the right ones since you may not get the lovely caramelised brown colour of baked products on the sides.
- Greasing is a must if using baking trays. Use vanaspati or dalda or butter and avoid oil for greasing, as oil slides through, causing the product to stick to the tray.
- When making goodies like butter cookies, avoid greasing too much since butter-rich cookies release extra fat after being baked.
Now get set for Christmas and New Year bonanzas by baking delectable delights!