>When I mention that I home bake bread, most people are surprised. I realize that many are intimidated by the idea of baking, particularly bread. Baking is science, plain and simple. Measurements should be exact; ingredients are affected by temperature, climate, and altitude.
- Use extra large eggs. I got this tip from Ina Garten, who uses extra-large (or jumbo) eggs in all of her recipes. Not only do you get more egg for your money, the extra bit of egg will lead to fluffier cakes, softer breads, and moist pastries.
- Use good-quality ingredients. Some of you that know me have probably heard me wax about this before, but as the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” Particularly when the recipe only calls for 4 ingredients, each of those items needs to be as fresh as possible and free of fillers.
- Do what works for your tastes, and write it down. Everyone has different tastes, and sometimes that means altering a recipe for your taste. For example, a recipe can call for cookies to bake for 12 minutes, which will make them very crispy. However, a soft, chewy cookie will happen after about 8 minutes. Write it on the recipe as a note. Cookbooks are not sacred; they are tools, and should be used. As an English major, I know that this seems contradictory, but I’ve always felt that the condition of the book is less important than the knowledge we glean from it.