You might be surprised, but I love skimming through Primer magazine. I’m definitely not in the “target demographic” but hey, I didn’t have to pass a gender or age test before opening up the tab on my browser. Today I found a great Primer article on laundry. Perhaps you’re already a laundry expert or maybe you don’t think knowing anything about it merits your valuable time. But if you’re a laundry neophyte and you need to do your own, this article will do the trick – and you might even smile while you read it.
The laundry article made me realize that those who don’t bake or cook routinely can use similar advice. And I’m not lecturing from “on high.” This weekend, while baking I got too cocky and didn’t pay attention to one of the tips below. The result was one of those moments better left on the cutting room floor. So read on if you don’t bake much, or maybe even if you’re an experienced baker and could use a refresher.
5 Tips To Know Before Baking
- Measuring. In measuring ingredients (which you most certainly will have to do if you’re baking), hold the measuring cup or spoon over a bowl or plate to catch whatever spills, but not over the bowl into which you’re mixing the ingredients. This avoids spilling the excess of whatever you’re measuring into the mixing bowl. Of course, you can’t extricate extra salt, baking powder (or anything else) once it’s dropped into the bowl that already contains other ingredients that you have carefully measured, so if you don’t follow this advice and you drop extra in the mixing bowl, you’ll have to throw out the contents and start again.
- Leveling. When you measure dry ingredients, e.g. salt, sugar, flour, baking soda and baking powder, unless the directions state otherwise, the measurement called for is for a level measure (cup or spoon.) Use the back of a knife to smooth out and level off the extra from the measuring cup or spoon.
- Sifting. If a recipe calls for sifted dry ingredients, notice whether it calls for sifting before or after measuring and follow those instructions. It makes a difference if the measurement is in volume/cups. When a recipe calls for “1 cup of flour, sifted,” measure the flour first, then sift it. By contrast, “1 cup of sifted flour” means that you sift first, then measure. If you are weighing the flour it doesn’t make a difference when you sift it, as the flour weighs the same before and after sifting, it just takes up more space/volume after being sifted. By the way, if you don’t have a sifter, a colander or strainer with fine wire mesh does just as well.
- Breaking eggs – the dilemma. If you crack the eggs over a mixing bowl that already contains other ingredients and you get a piece of shell in the bowl, you’ll have to fish it out without pulling out other ingredients. Kind of a pain, no? On the other hand, if you break it into a separate bowl or a small pitcher, you have one more bowl to clean, but you can fish out shell with relative ease, using a small spoon. Your choice. I like to use a pitcher for breaking (or separating) eggs because the spout makes it easier to pour out the egg or egg white.
- Separating eggs – no dilemma. If you are supposed to separate more than 1 egg and you do it using my fun and easy method, you can skip this hint. But if you separate eggs the traditional way, do not get overconfident – separate each egg over a bowl or pitcher, and put the yolks and eggs into 2 different bowls. That way, if you slip and 1 egg doesn’t separate, you’ve only lost that one and not all the others that you’ve done before it. And of course, even if you’ve messed up in separating, no need to throw the egg away – make a scrambled egg or a mini-omelet, or pull out a slice of bread and make yourself a lovely piece of French toast!