Preparing to Bake
Heating the Oven
To help ensure accurate baking times, it is necessary to heat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
Preparing the Pan
Most recipes for baked goods call for the pan to be greased, or greased and floured. Prepare the pan before you begin making the recipe.
To grease a pan:
- Use a solid vegetable shortening because it won’t brown or add flavor to your baked goods.
- With a paper towel or pastry brush, apply a thin, even layer of shortening to the pan. Grease generously, if specified in recipe, to ensure easy removal of baked items from the pan.
- Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray
To grease and flour a pan:
- Grease the pan. Then add a tablespoon of flour to the pan and shake the pan so that flour sticks to all greased areas.
- Turn the pan upside down and tap the bottom to remove excess flour.
- In a small bowl, blend 1/4 cup shortening and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour until well mixed.
- To grease and flour a pan, apply a thin, even layer of the shortening-flour mixture with a paper towel or pastry brush. (Store remaining mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
To paper-line a pan:
- Line the pan with parchment paper or waxed paper cut to the appropriate size.
- Grease the paper if specified in the recipe.
Recipe Preparation Tips
Before you begin any food preparation, read through each recipe in your menu. Then assemble all ingredients, utensils and cookware to make certain you have everything on hand. Preparation will be easier and results more successful if you avoid substituting ingredients and equipment. Also take care to use the technique (slicing, dicing, shredding, etc.) specified to achieve even cooking and the desired appearance.
Cook’s helpers, such as the mixer, blender, deep-fat fryer, food processor and microwave can save time and work if used wisely. Be aware of when each can be used to full advantage and when it might be quicker and easier to tackle a job by hand. For efficiency, complete similar tasks when utensils are readily available–for example, do all necessary dicing, chopping and slicing of foods at the same time.