5 cool baking hacks!Posted by: Ren
How many times have you just returned from the store, only to realize- DOH! You got baking SODA instead of baking POWDER! You forgot the buttermilk! Personally, it isn’t unlikely for me to visit my local supermarket four or five times in a week, especially during holiday season when I’m known to bake for every party or potluck that I’m invited to. So if you’re like me, and like to bake buttermilk biscuits at midnight on the night before a big reunion breakfast with friends, well, there’s no need to have a meltdown, thanks to these substitutions:
Buttermilk = milk + lemon:
This is the hack that I use the most in my kitchen- usually because recipes don’t often call for buttermilk, but also because I can never find buttermilk sold in the quantities I need for a recipe (usually just a few tablespoons). The ratio is simple. For each cup of milk, pour one Tablespoon of lemon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. The milk will slightly curdle towards the top. Mix, and use as the recipe directs.
Oil Spray = Olive Oil + Paper Towel
Some recipes ask for a quick spray of the pan these days, before baking or sauteeing foods. If you don’t have a spray bottle on hand, the easiest alternative is to douse a crumpled paper towel with some oil and spread across your surface. This is also a great trick for omelettes!
Baking Powder = Baking Soda + Cream of Tartar + Cornstarch
Ever wonder why a recipe calls for baking powder rather than baking soda, or a combination of both? Well, baking soda requires an acidic agent in order to be effective. This happens when the recipe calls for another ingredient to be mixed into the batter—often times lemon juice, milk, or brown sugar. But baking powder has an acidic element (usually cream of tartar) already mixed in, allowing for the ingredient to essentially self-activate. To make your own baking powder, mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch together.
Pitted Cherry = Whole Cherry + Bottle + Chopstick
If I had a dollar for every useless kitchen device I own, I’d be a rich woman. Even my utensil-hoarding dark side doesn’t have a cherry pitting tool, though, despite my cherry pie loving ways. Don’t have one either? Set your cherry over a glass or plastic bottle (one with a small opening that your fruit won’t fall into). Using a wooden chopstick—I always save up disposable chopsticks from takeout orders—puncture through the middle of the fruit with a bit of force. The pit should pop right out and into the bottle, leaving you with your pitted fruit! This method works wonderfully with olives, too.
Vanilla Extract = Maple Syrup
Substituting an equal amount of maple syrup in the place of vanilla extract in baked goods will render differences so subtle that they are barely noticeable. Unfortunately, this does not go the other way around—if you pour vanilla extract onto your pancakes for breakfast, someone will definitely notice.