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Baking tips and tricks

If your cookies always end up burnt or the thought of activating yeast makes you start to sweat, here are baking tips to help you channel your inner baker.

Always make sure to read through a recipe start to finish, ingredients and instructions, before beginning. You may miss a crucial step needed in advanced preparations, or realise you need an ingredient you’re missing.
If your jam or preserves are a little too thick to spread, microwave them for a few seconds until they loosen up, but don’t overdo it.
If a recipe calls for cold butter, melted butter, or room-temperature eggs, remember that any adjustment you make will affect the outcome. The difference between putting dough with cold butter and one with warm melted butter in the oven is huge. It results in a completely different chemical reaction.
Butter loses moisture the longer it sits in the fridge, which can cause your baked goods to be dry. Buy and use the freshest butter you can find. Check dates on the packing and always select unsalted butter, because salt is a preservative.
Cake pans should always be thoroughly greased and floured, so the cakes can slip out of the pan easily after cooling. If using a Bundt pan, the more grooves your Bundt cake pan has, the more you need to pay attention during the greasing and flouring process.
Position the pans and baking sheets as close to the centre of the oven as possible, unless otherwise noted in your recipe. They shouldn’t touch each other or the oven walls. If your oven isn’t wide enough to put pans side by side, place them on different racks and slightly offset, to allow for air circulation.
Take cookies out of the oven when the edges are golden and set and the centre looks slightly under-baked. Then cool completely on the cookie sheet for soft chewy cookies.

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