Budget Menu & Dirt Cheap Recipes F.A.Q Baking questions from a complete beginner *and other cooking questions*

This topic contains 17 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by mmmmbacon November 24, 2014 at 10:16 am.

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  • #274509

    Okay, so after finding this site my time old interest in learning to bake has been rekindled. I was never taught to cook by my mother…except for home made spaghetti and a cheese whiz recipe. Beyond that I’ve learned on my own.

    Well, the baking stuff confuses me!

    Here are some things I would love to know;

    1. What do you grease things with? In a recipe for cake in a jar it says to grease jars…but doesn’t say what the grease is.

    2. What is folding? Such as folding eggs?

    3. How could I bake bread with out a bread pan?

    4. If you don’t have a rolling pin….what can you use to flatten dough?

    5. Are there any substitutions for wax or parchment paper? What if I don’t have these?

    6. What if I don’t have measuring items? There’s a debate in my house as to how big my spoons are.

    7.If you add a little more than the recipe calls for *by mistake* will it destroy the food?

    I apologize for the many questions…cause I will probably think of more as the day goes on…. but when it comes to baked goods… I’m like the fairy in Sleeping Beauty who tries to bake a cake…

    >.> It doesn’t go well at all.

  • #423520

    Ask away!

    You grease your pans with butter, margarine, cooking oil, cooking oil spray or (old time–lard or bacon grease).

    To Fold means to combine the ingredients by blending with a spoon, wire whisk, or spatula using a up and over motion–get under the ingredients and gently lift and turn –repeat until mixed.

    You can bake bread on a cookie sheet or in any pan (pizza pans work good). Just put the dough in the center and bake.

    You can flatten dough by using the palm of your hand, the handle of a wooden spoon, a wooden dowel, A flat bar, a glass, a jar or if you make sure it is covered really well with wax paper you could use a flat iron (not Hot!).

    You can use brown paper bags in place of wax or parchment paper but you can also just use grease and flour (lightly grease the pan and sprinkle flour on top).

    The measuring items is a little trickier. I would invest in at least a set of measuring spoons, but if all you have is your flatware–take your tea stirring spoon and use it as a teaspoon measure. (I have found mine to be really close to the measuring spoons)–(You could use this and just use three of those spoonfuls as a tablespoon measure or you could put three of these into one of your flatware tablespoons and see how much it lacks or overflows.

    ) There are 16 tablespoons in one cup. 1 pound of sugar or butter is equal to 2 cups.

    Destroy? Maybe not but it will change the flavor. It all depends on what you are making and what the ingredient is that you put in more of.

    For instance, if the ingredient you put more in is cinnamon (depending on how much more) and you are making a pumpkin pie you could end up with it tasting like cinnamon pie instead of a pumpkin pie. Might be good if you like the taste of cinnamon, but not if you don’t.

    Hope this helps. Thanks; Virginia

  • #423538

    Great tips Virginia.

    I would however get measuring spoon and measuring cups for baking. (it’s usually the only time I’m careful with measuring) the rising of bread and cakes depends on the proper amount of yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, liquids, etc. A dollar store should have measuring spoons, measuring cup for dry ingredients and a measuring cup for liquids.

    The $3 investment would be wise and you can wing the rest.

    Cooking is an art – baking is a science

  • #423550

    Sounds like all the bases have been covered here. You lady’s have given all the info. a person would need.

    Just take the tips the the lady’s have given here and you should be fine. Cooking is an art, that’s for sure. I love to cook and bake.

    I had to learn the hard way too. It’s all about trial and error, that’s the best way to learn. You’ll get the hang of things.

    As time goes by you’ll find yourself getting more creative with things.

  • #423551

    The measuring cups and spoons can be purchased for $1 a set at the Dollar Tree or most $1 shops. They work as well as the pricey ones. The advice from all the above posters is very sound and thorough.

    Happy baking!!!

  • #423567

    Oh you’re going to have so much fun! Don’t get discouraged by your mistakes! Learn from them, that’s how we all learn and improve!

    Don’t be afraid to ask more questions. Someone here will be able to help you out!

    Cherlynn

  • #423909

    Thank you all for your replies! I’ll have to check out the local dollar tree from some measuring stuff and maybe a bread pan since I don’t have one. It also turns out that I no longer have a cake pan!

    XD I went to make a cake, one of the few baking things I can do, and found it gone! Which means momma took it when she moved. haha

    Its off the topic for baking….but….

    Is there any way to do the crock pot meals if you don’t own crockpot? Between bills and diapers my money is shot for the month! Those crock pot recipes look mighty tempting though…

  • #423913

    You can put them in a casserole dish and put them in a slow oven like 300 and let it bake. It will cook faster but same great food! Look in thrift stores for a good working crockpot.

    My son got his for $1 !

  • #423944

    I agree with all of the above, but would like to add a couple of things…

    1. I usually grease with shortening sold at grocery stores

    2. Folding is a way to incorporate air and fluffyness into a batter, this is a way of lightly turning over and into, so that you don’t lose too much air and it’s usually don’t after beating air into something e.g. egg whites.

    Make sure not to do this too long or it loses it’s effect only enough to get whatever it is mixed in.
    3.How could I bake bread with out a bread pan? You could do it by doubling or tripling aluminum foil and making a pan out of it. Make sure it is thick enough to hold the dough and make sure it is big enough to allow for expansion

    4. your hands, I always do this when making pizza dough

    5. also, silcone liners can be used

    6. I would get a set of measuring spoons

    7. I don’t know about destroying the food, but it can cause a recipe to “fail” and not turn out right

    I always tell my kids who are learning to cook like mom, that recipes and directions are there because someone else went through alot of effort learning how to make things come out right via “trial and error” Good Luck!

  • #424013

    4. If you don’t have a rolling pin….what can you use to flatten dough?

    I just bought a rolling pin…..for years I would flour a tupperware cup and use that 😉

  • #431085

    You have gotten a lot of really good tips.

    When baking remember that baking is a science and to measure accurately and stay true to the recipe. Don’t substitute baking soda with baking powder, etc. After you get it down, it becomes really easy.

    Enjoy! Baking is a great hobby!

  • #438573

    I know I am really late on this post, but in case there are new people out reading these post I thought I would put my 2 cents in.

    when you learn to cook, you cook to your own taste. a recipe only fails if you or the intended party doesn’t like it. no need to really follow the recipe.

    baking, however, needs to be very accurate.

    recipes need to be followed and ingredients measured accurately.

  • #438594

    as a Culinary student — I concur

  • #441620

    drea
    Participant

    @archenstone 121893 wrote:

    Here are some things I would love to know;

    1. What do you grease things with? In a recipe for cake in a jar it says to grease jars…but doesn’t say what the grease is.

    Non-stick cooking spray, solid crisco, butter or margarine- but it depends entirely on what I am making for which one I choose.


    2. What is folding? Such as folding eggs?

    Folding is when you add ingredients to other ingredients without MIXING. You would stick a flat spatula in the center, cut down towards the bottom, scraping the bowl and simply overturn the ingredients. then turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the ingredients are incorporated.

    Folding keeps air in the recipe.

    3. How could I bake bread with out a bread pan?

    You can form it into a bowl or rolls and bake it on a cookie sheet.

    4. If you don’t have a rolling pin….what can you use to flatten dough?

    You can use a beer bottle, don’t ask how i know.

    5. Are there any substitutions for wax or parchment paper? What if I don’t have these?

    Yes, you can use a Silpat.

    6. What if I don’t have measuring items? There’s a debate in my house as to how big my spoons are.

    You can measure by hand, the palm of a womans hand typically holds 1/4 of a cup, so if you need a cup, you need 4 palmfuls.

    1 tablespoon equals a chestnut

    2 tablespoons equals a pingpong ball

    1/4 cup equals a small handful or a large egg

    1/3 cup equals a billiard ball

    1/2 cup equals a tennis ball

    3/4 cup equals a baseball


    7.If you add a little more than the recipe calls for *by mistake* will it destroy the food?

    It depends on the recipe, some recipes will be ruined, some recipes there are room to play.

  • #441644

    If you are baking cakes in canning jars you MUST use shortening and straight sided jars. I’ve been baking for over 40 years but due to food allergies I’m now learning all over again. Gluten free flours have to be handled much differently than regular flour.

    I got some things switched to gf that my family has no idea that it is gf. still trying to conquer bread but of the opinion that gf bread will never ever look or taste like the real thing! i never thought i could live without bread but at this stage of my life, if that’s all i have to give up i’ll make it just fine!

  • #453543

    A full soda can makes a great rolling pin. In addition, it keeps you from drinking all of the high calorie, low nutrition ingredients in the “coke”!

  • #453552

    By the way, that soda can will work well on pie crusts andmany other sticky items if it’s cold.

  • #453554

    My grandmother had a greasing trick I like to use. Fold (grease-side in) used butter wrappers and put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. They don’t take up much space and to grease something, she’d just get one or two out and rub it on the item to be greased.

    (She kept her butter out of the fridge, as do I, so it usually had a bit left on it).

    As for adding a little more ingredients, you likely won’t cause a mistake unless it is A LOT more. I frequently measure by dumping into my hand or I “eye it” in any old container, and I’ve never had a disaster. (But I wouldn’t recommend this for the inexperienced).

    The smaller your recipe is, the more accuracy counts. If you goof up, freeze it and brainstorm.

    Freezing experiments and edible flubs, if they don’t turn out as intended, gives you a shot at a re-do. I’ll always think of something later. For example, my failed paleo cookie recipe wound up the perfect paleo pie crust with added coconut oil, failed experimental rice pilaf, too salty stuffing, etc, can be thawed and thrown in a future meatloaf.

    Only problem I’ve ever had with cakes is people stomping (usually kids) through the kitchen, and then the cake in the oven collapses as it was trying to rise…. something most bakers know but always forget to mention. And no, you don’t have to tiptoe either 😉

    Good Luck! Have Fun!

  • #459588

    @virginia 122018 wrote:

    Ask away!

    You grease your pans with butter, margarine, cooking oil, cooking oil spray or (old time–lard or bacon grease).

    To Fold means to combine the ingredients by blending with a spoon, wire whisk, or spatula using a up and over motion–get under the ingredients and gently lift and turn –repeat until mixed.

    You can bake bread on a cookie sheet or in any pan (pizza pans work good). Just put the dough in the center and bake.

    You can flatten dough by using the palm of your hand, the handle of a wooden spoon, a wooden dowel, A flat bar, a glass, a jar or if you make sure it is covered really well with wax paper you could use a flat iron (not Hot!).

    You can use brown paper bags in place of wax or parchment paper but you can also just use grease and flour (lightly grease the pan and sprinkle flour on top).

    The measuring items is a little trickier. I would invest in at least a set of measuring spoons, but if all you have is your flatware–take your tea stirring spoon and use it as a teaspoon measure. (I have found mine to be really close to the measuring spoons)–(You could use this and just use three of those spoonfuls as a tablespoon measure or you could put three of these into one of your flatware tablespoons and see how much it lacks or overflows.

    ) There are 16 tablespoons in one cup. 1 pound of sugar or butter is equal to 2 cups.

    Destroy? Maybe not but it will change the flavor. It all depends on what you are making and what the ingredient is that you put in more of.

    For instance, if the ingredient you put more in is cinnamon (depending on how much more) and you are making a pumpkin pie you could end up with it tasting like cinnamon pie instead of a pumpkin pie. Might be good if you like the taste of cinnamon, but not if you don’t.

    Hope this helps. Thanks; Virginia

    Excellent reply! One concern; 1 lb of butter (lard, margarine etc) is 2 1/3 cups. Look at the scale on the wrapper or box.

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Budget Menu & Dirt Cheap Recipes F.A.Q Baking questions from a complete beginner *and other cooking questions*