9 baking secrets they only teach you in pastry school

Even if you’re not a professional baker, you may still want to make the perfect, gooey, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth cookies – or cake, pie or pastry – at home. Indeed, there is something magical about being good at baking, and there are some key baking secrets that can help you achieve that magic.

Those who study the art of baking or pastry in school learn that there are many techniques involved in creating the perfect textures, flavors, and overall appearance of a dessert. Often, chefs are certified in the art form by the American Culinary Federation (also known as the industry standard for professional culinary skills), for which they have to prove their extensive knowledge in various written and practical culinary exams. This knowledge can provide confectioners with enviable secrets and tricks.

Fortunately, you don’t have to enroll in a baking school to learn some things that will really come in handy when baking in your own kitchen. If you’re looking to up your baking, cookie, cake and/or pie game, here are nine secrets they only teach you in baking school, straight from the experts themselves! And next, don’t miss the Absolute Best Way to Cook Steak in the Oven.


Weigh your ingredients.

weighing flour on the scale

When it comes to measuring your ingredients, many of us probably use measuring cups and spoons. However, many chefs recommend making your measurements even more accurate when baking.

“Pastry chefs rarely use measuring cups because when you pour flour into a cup, it clumps up, giving you more than you need,” he says. Clara Wells, baker and pastry chef for over ten years and author of Baked By Claire. “So spend the extra time and convert the units to grams.” This way, you can measure the ingredients using a scale and have exact measurements.


Don’t forget to prepare.

baking ingredients

baking ingredients

While it can be tedious to get all the ingredients out, preparation is a crucial step when baking all types of pastries.

“Baking is as scientific as it is an art,” he explains. Chef Nik Fields, owner of the upscale Chic Chef restaurant in Phoenix, AZ, and well-known cookbook author. In pastry school, chefs are taught to have all the ingredients ready before mixing because “it speeds up the [baking] time and you have the opportunity to check your recipe and not leave anything out”, says Chef Fields. This little trick allows you to take stock of what you have (or don’t have) on hand and thus easily scroll through the recipe -peasy with everything you need at your fingertips.

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Use a bowl and hot water to bring the ingredients to room temperature.

If you come across a recipe that calls for certain ingredients to be mixed together at room temperature — like eggs, for example — don’t panic. Instead, try a simple trick that bakers often use. “Using ingredients at room temperature is almost always best, but if you forget to remove the eggs, soak them in warm water for just a few minutes,” says Wells.


Know when to add your mix-ins.

cookie dough

cookie dough

If you are going to add extra ingredients to your dough, such as chocolate chips, nuts, etc., there is a specific time for this. According to Wells, you’ll want to add your mix-ins “with the last addition of flour before it’s fully mixed. If you add, say, chocolate chips, once the flour is fully incorporated, you’re going to overmix. the dough.Instead, add the extras before it is fully mixed, so that the result is smooth.

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Add something acidic.

Apple cider vinegar in measuring cup

Apple cider vinegar in measuring cup

“The best ‘secret’ I learned in culinary school was adding a little acid to baked goods,” he says. Pastry Chef Aisha Momaney from the Michelin-starred 101 Hospitality Group and Gravitas, and a contestant in the Spring Food Network Spring Baking 2020 competition. of your roasts.”


Use an oven-safe thermometer.

oven thermometer

oven thermometer

According to Chef Alina Eisenhower, using a thermometer when baking can dramatically help your process and is a cooking secret that everyone can benefit from. “Grab an oven thermometer and keep it in the center of the oven,” she says.”


Always use parchment paper.

using parchment paper

using parchment paper

It’s pretty safe to say that nobody likes to clean up after a big cooking session. That’s where parchment paper comes in. Chef Thomas Kellerthe author of Bouchon Bakery cookbook, wrote that as bakers, “it’s about working clean and not allowing what we’re baking or roasting to come into direct contact with the metal.”

This mess-free tool is wonderful for keeping baking sheets and the like clean when you need to pop them in the oven. It can also improve the cooking process and the final product, explains Keller. Due to the thin layer of parchment paper created under the baked goods, it can help neutralize potential hot spots that can result in uneven cooking.


Use metal pans.

baking in the oven

baking in the oven

Along with using parchment paper, some bakers say that using metal pans can also help achieve the best baking results. “Metal cookware is the best conductor of heat and gives much better results than glass and ceramic in almost any situation,” says Eisenhauer.

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Never open the oven during cooking.

slamming oven door

slamming oven door

It’s tempting to want to peek in and smell the deliciousness you’ve made from scratch. However, it is more important to be patient.

Chef Fields says that one of the toughest cooking secrets for our willpower is keeping the oven door closed at all costs, because “every time the door is opened, you shorten the cooking time and allow for uneven cooking.” . Any baker will tell you they’ve learned time and time again that baking is so delicate that even the smallest detail can cause a ripple in a recipe. As long as you follow the instructions correctly, the timer will beep when your candy is ready!

An earlier version of this story was published on August 11, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copies and review revisions, additional research, and updated contextual links.

Eat this not that

Eat this not that

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