The Kitchn's Top 10 Tips for More Successful Baking

So much of learning how to bake seems to come through trial and error. Meringues fell flat? Must not have whipped them enough. Burnt cookies? Better check the oven temperature. Let us help take some of the guess work out of your baking so you can concentrate on...well, baking. Here are our top 10 tips for avoiding the most common mistakes in baking.

1. Adjust the Oven Temperature - One of the best things you can do for yourself is buy an oven thermometer so you know exactly how hot your oven is, no matter what the dial says. If the temperature is very off, adjusting the oven dial or calling in a professional can help.

2. How to Whip Egg Whites - Here's how to tell the difference between soft peaks, firm peaks, stiff peaks, over-whipped white. Same scenario applies to making whipped cream.

3. How to Separate Eggs - No more headaches over broken yolks!

4. How to Quickly Soften Butter - Because we don't always have the foresight to set out a stick of butter to soften ahead of time.

5. How to Tell When a Cake is Finished Baking - Cakes can be such fussy things. The last thing you want to worry about is whether it's finished baking.

6. Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - For anyone who's ever run out of one and been tempted to substitute the other. (Also, here's how to tell if baking soda has expired.)

7. How to Keep Brown Sugar Soft - And what to do if it hardens up.

8. How to Transfer Pie Crust - You go to all the trouble of making a pie crust from scratch, but how do you get it in the darn pan?!

9. How to Toast Nuts - Not only does this make your house smell amazing, but you'll be surprised at how much better your baked goods taste.

10. How to Fold Batters - This is how you get the fluffy baked goods instead of door stops.

What baking tips have you learned over the years?

Related: 29 Tips, Ingredients, and Recipes for Gluten-Free Baking

(Images: Emma Christensen and Flickr member foodies at home licensed under Creative Commons)