Baking is not always simple, so here are some ways to minimize the extra work.

Commercials and cooking shows make it seems like baking is magical. You toss some stuff in a bowl, mix it up in a professional stand mixer then magically the oven produces gorgeous golden brown cookies or other baked goods. If you have dealt with a less than perfect baking scenario, you know things do not work that way in life. If you are looking for some basic tips to make your baking experience less complicated here are some quick ways to reduce your baking challenges.

Make Sure You are Working With Good Tools

The main key to successful baking is having an oven that warms evenly and maintains one temperature throughout. If you follow recipes carefully but still have issues with over or undercooked baked goods then your oven may be part of the problem. Appliance repair people can help check your oven to see if it is having an issue that can be repaired, but often the best solution is to replace your oven when it is financially feasible.

The other tools you use while baking include spatulas, cookie sheets, cooling racks, muffin pans, bread pans and more. By keeping a few basic rules in mind while selecting tools for baking you can make your mixing and cleanup simpler and quicker. One way to save yourself time and effort once your baked goods are cooling is to use silicone when possible. Spatulas, muffin pans, and even liners for cookie sheets are available in silicone and these products can make your cleanup faster. In addition, the silicone products are typically dishwasher safe. If your silicone products do not have enough structure, simply put them on a cookie sheet in the oven. The traditional metal cookie sheet should give a stable base, but not get dirty meaning less clean up. Silicone spatulas create a nice seal with cookie sheets or mixing bowls making removing batter or baked goods simpler with silicone spatulas.

Be Resourceful

Whenever you are baking on the fly, chances are good you will need to make some substitutions unless your kitchen is particularly well stocked. Finding something to use in place of something like butter, milk, cream or eggs is right at your fingertips. The most reliable substitutions are ones that are tried and true so look to popular recipe websites to find out what can help you out of your ingredient dilemma.

Using the tools you have on hand is another way you can make the most out of a not-so-perfect baking situation. Even if that means using the timer on your smart phone, your oven and your microwave all at the same time if needed. If you do not have a pie server, grab for the butcher’s knife in the block and use the wide side to help serve dessert, just make sure to use care when using tools for purposes other than the intended ones.

Have a Game Plan

Volunteering to make cookies for a bake sale seems easy when you’re putting down your name and the items you plan to give. Later, learning that you need to provide eight dozen of those cookies puts a whole new spin on your commitment. Understand the expectations up front and be realistic in your approach. Volunteering to provide 100 cookies for an event requires a real time investment so you need to schedule it into your week, especially if you are one of the many women who work full-time in addition to running your household. Think of recipes that allow you to break up the work like ones where you prepare the cookie dough one day then bake it the next. This way you do not have to devote upwards of five hours in one day simply to complete the task of prepping and baking what you have volunteered to provide.