Anna's Top Baking Tips

1. USE FRUITS IN SEASON – Whether for fruit pies, filling cakes, tarts or scones, fresh fruit in season is at its nutritional and flavor peak.  Why bake with bananas in July, when blueberries are at their best?

2. WHY BAKE WITH UNSALTED BUTTER – This way, YOU are in charge of the salt, since recipe by recipe, salt requirements vary and so do butter measures.  Salt is in baking for the same reason it is in cooking, to heighten and balance flavours.  Unsalted butter is fresher and sweeter tasting, and this shows in your baked delights.

3. DON’T PANIC OVER PIE DOUGH – There are so many “don’ts” associated with pies dough: don’t let the butter get warm, don’t overwork the dough, don’t add too much water that what happens? We don’t make pie dough!

I have found over years of making  (1,000’s?) fruit pies, that a relaxed approach is best.  Butter that has softened just slightly actually works in faster and more evenly than ice cold butter and also means that the dough won’t be overworked and doesn’t need as much water/liquid.  Also, pulling your pie dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling allows it to roll more easily, without cracking.

Try this recipe that uses these tips: Blue ribbon apple pie

4. LOAF/MUFFIN/ROUND PAN SECRET – Did you know that a standard 12-muffin recipe is roughly the same volume as a 9-x-5-inch loaf is same as a 9-inch round cake?  The only alteration to be made is the bake time!

5. INGREDIENT TEMPERATURE – Ever wonder what temperature your baking ingredients should really be, since some recipes call for cold ingredients while others call for room temperature? Let your butter be your guide.  If the recipe calls for room temperature butter (think pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, etc) then your other ingredients should also be the same temperature.  If the recipe calls for cold of cool butter (scones), then so should your eggs and liquids.