Baking is a science and it is unforgiving when it comes to errors. This is the reason why most home bakers do not end up with their desired product. Understanding the recipe, having innate baking skills and being patient enough to try and try until you succeed is the way forward to making those scrumptious home-made products. Here are some of the most common baking mistakes that home bakers make:

Measure your ingredients properly

Because baking is more science than art, you cannot freestyle your way into making amazing bread or the perfect sponge cake. You have to follow the measurements to a tee.  The consequence of making even the slightest error when measuring your ingredients while baking, will more likely than not, manifest itself on your finished product.  Therefore, before setting out to bake, familiarise yourself with the measurements used in the recipe.  If they are in metrics that you don’t understand, take the time out to properly convert them.  Preparation is key – “Mise en place” as the French chefs say.  This translates to ‘having in place’ all the ingredients (ahead of time), so you don’t have to scramble while baking and everything is already organised.

Understand how your oven works

Not all ovens work the same and it is important that you understand how yours works.  By this I mean you should know where the hot spots of your oven are and what its actual heating capacity is.  Even the best ovens will have certain individual characteristics that only a well-attuned owner will notice.  To avoid having one side of your baked goods over-cooked and the other raw, turn your baking tray around half way through the baking process to level out the heat.

Getting the beating of your batter right is vital

More than under beating, more people make the mistake of over beating their batter.  This will affect your baked goods a lot more than you think.  You should therefore pay close attention to how much you beat your batter.  For instance, certain baked goods would only require for you to fold the batter and some would require more rigorous beating.

Never open your oven while baking

You may want to check how your baked product is doing and feel the strong urge to open the oven.  However, this is a huge no-no.  Opening the oven often will release the heat and lower the overall temperature of the oven which in turn will affect the baking time of your baked product.

Only use the best ingredients

Make sure that all the ingredients that you use for your baking are not expired and are fresh.  This is the only way you will be able to assure yourself that you will get the best result and taste.  Fruits, especially, should be very fresh when used for baking.  For the other ingredients, choose a brand that you trust and you have experience working with.  If you find fresh produce expensive, a tip would be to use what is in season.  This way you will get them much cheaper and really fresh.  So planning ahead of time helps!

For more recipe ideas, visit our Recipes page, or subscribe to our FREE monthly newsletter Bitesize for recipes, reviews and cooking tips to help you get smarter in the kitchen. Just enter your email address below.