Beginner’s guide to baking

Published On: May 26, 2017 09:57 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Baking a cake 
Baking at home is tricky because of the small oven that people generally have at home. There are chances that your cake can get burnt if you don’t take care of the temperature. Some ovens might not even be able to provide enough heat for deep dishes, so you can buy a couple of shallow cake trays of the same width and then assemble the cake together. Make sure that your batter is airy so that your sponge becomes light. “Generally, the more ggs you use, the lighter your batter becomes,” says Khadka. You can also add cake gel to the mixture. Cake gels are vegetable based products that help the cake rise. Add five grams of cake gel for every two eggs you use. In case you are baking an eggless cake, you can just add the gel and not put in the baking soda. Although it isn’t found widely, you can find it at Trishul Trade Links in Balkhu. 

It is important to always preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before putting the batter in so that the top layer of the cake isn’t cooked before the center is even hot. When you put the batter in, set the timer for 20 minutes and check on it after 15 minutes. If the top heat is too high, the top of the cake becomes burnt and you need to reduce the temperature. If your cake hasn’t risen, then you should decrease the bottom temperature. While baking, you shouldn’t open the oven doors too often, however if the temperature is too high, you should open the door for a while because it will take longer to cool down on its own. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted at the center comes at clean. 

If you are a seasoned baker, you will know that cakes you bake at home aren’t as moist or juicy like the ones at bakeries. To make your cake juicy, when you take your cake out of the oven, let it cool down and then put it in the deep freezer for a while. If you have shallow pans then you can do this process without having to cut the sponge. If you used a deeper pan, then cut the sponge in three layers using a serrated knife. Prepare sugar syrup and add lemon, clove, cardamom or cinnamon depending on your taste. The flavors make the cake aromatic. Brushing the sponge with this syrup will make it juicy. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, you don’t want it to crumble down. You can then assemble the cake and move on to the frosting. 

The easiest to make is the butter-cream frosting, which is equal parts sugar and butter beaten together for about 20 minutes. If you have an electric mixer, it is easier to bring it up to a fluffy consistency. You want it to be light and have soft peaks.     
Making cookies
•    3/4 cups granulated sugar
•    1 cup brown sugar
•    1 cup softened butter
•    1 teaspoon vanilla essence 
•    1 egg
•    2 1/4 cups of self rising flour
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    2 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius. Thoroughly mix the sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Slowly stir in the baking soda, salt, and flour. When it is mixed in properly, set half a cup of chocolate chips aside and stir in the rest. When your mixture is ready, it is important to chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator. “This makes the dough easier to use and helps make the cookies delicious as well,” says Rai. While the dough is chilling, lightly grease your baking tin. Use a spoon to scoop out the dough and shape it with your hands before putting it in the tray. You don’t have to flatten the dough into cookie shapes, but be careful to space them apart. They will become flat as they cook and you don’t want to end up with one big tray sized cookie. All you need to do now is to bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and take them out when the centers are still a little soft. Let it cool down before eating it.

Make a pizza
Ovens can be used for more than just baking delicious desserts. Try your hand at a DIY home made pizza. You can choose to prepare the dough yourself or buy readymade pizza base that are widely available. If you want to make the dough at home, mix a small amount of yeast, sugar, and salt with the flour. Keep it aside, with a damp towel over it for 20 minutes and then kneed it again. You can also make sugar syrup and add that instead of granulated sugar. 

“For softer dough, cover it with cling film and put in the refrigerator overnight,” says Rai. When you roll out the dough, cook it halfway before adding the pizza sauce (or a homemade tomato sauce) and other toppings of your choice. You should use mozzarella cheese when making a pizza as it melts beautifully and gives you the perfect cheese-pull. 


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