7 Baking Hacks That Actually Work (And 2 That Don’t)
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned baker, a total beginner, or fall somewhere in between — we’re all after the tip or trick that will make us smarter bakers and save us time and effort in the kitchen. And the internet is brimming with a nearly endless stream of baking hacks that claim to do just that. True to their word, there are some that are actually useful, along with plenty of others that just don’t deliver. To help you sort through them, we put several to the test in our own kitchens. Here are seven that we genuinely endorse — plus two that aren’t worth your time at all.
1. Use Mason jar bands to bake muffins.
Don’t have a muffin tin? That doesn’t mean that muffins and cupcakes are out of the question. Turns out those metal bands that screw the lids onto canning jars are heatproof and the perfect size to hold cupcake liners in place as you fill them with batter and bake. Plus, you can bake as few or as many muffins as you like.
2. Use milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) to make DIY buttermilk.
How many times have you wanted to bake something, but felt reluctant to buy a whole carton of buttermilk when you only need a half-cup? Me too. And there’s actually no need to, because you can actually make an easy buttermilk substitute with a couple of items you probably already have in the kitchen.
3. Egg shells are like magnets for getting tiny bits out of a cracked egg.
Using your fingers or a spoon, it can feel all but impossible to get those tiny bits of shell out of a cracked egg. That’s because there’s a faster, easier method that does the trick every time and it involves using the big piece of leftover shell.
Our verdict: This works! Read more here.
4. Combine all-purpose flour and cornstarch for DIY cake flour.
5. Get room-temperature eggs fast with a bowl of warm water.
How often have you gotten halfway into a recipe only to realize that it calls for room-temp eggs, and yours are still sitting cold in the fridge? Even though we know we should read a recipe all the way through before getting started, sometimes our excitement gets the best of us and we just don’t. Thankfully, there’s a smart hack to speed things along, and it involves giving those cool eggs a couple of minutes to sit in a bowl of warm water. It does the trick every time.
6. Make your own brown sugar with white sugar and molasses.
7. Coat blueberries with flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of muffins.
Say goodbye to blueberry muffins where all the berries sink to the bottom. There’s a smart trick to keep them evenly dispersed throughout the whole muffins, and it involves coating them with some of the mixed dry ingredients before folding them into the batter.
2 Hacks That Didn’t Quite Cut It
1. Prevent muffin liners from getting greasy with rice.
We had high hopes for this hack that involves nixing greasy-bottomed muffins and cupcakes by adding a thin layer of rice of the baking tin. Unfortunately, you’re better off saving that rice for your next stir-fry.
2. Crank up the oven to get more domed muffin tops.
The theory is that a hotter oven will reward you with tall, dome-topped muffins (undoubtedly the very best part of this breakfast baked good!). We were disappointed to learn that it didn’t really give us the impressive muffins we expected.
Your turn: What’s a baking hack that you actually swear by? Tell us in the comments below!