10 Tips to Simplify Baking

Baking requires precision and patience, but it can be made perfectly simple with the help of a few handy tips and tricks. When you’re short on time, try softening butter with a rolling pin. Or, if you’re missing heavy cream, make your own by combining whole milk and butter. The options are endless for ways to improvise in a pinch!

Keep your baking stress-free and seamless with these helpful tips, and feel free to share your own in the comments.

For a flaky pie crust, always use cold ingredients. To keep the dough from becoming dense, gently handle it and only use a dusting of flour on the rolling pin or counter. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to make it easier to roll. Click here for my favorite easy pie dough recipe, from Simply Recipes.
  • Rinse a measuring cup in hot water or coat lightly with cooking spray before measuring syrups and oils. This way, they will pour out clean and not stick to the cup.
  • To quickly soften butter, try one of these three methods: Cut the butter into small pieces. Spread out on a plate, the pieces will thaw more quickly than a whole stick. Microwave one whole stick in 5- to 10-second increments, turning stick over each time and watching closely to avoid melting. Set the butter in a water bath. Place a whole, wrapped stick of butter in a re-sealable plastic bag. Float in a bowl of hot water until soft.
  • When you’re out of buttermilk, make your own by combining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 cup milk. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • To test the doneness of quick and yeast breads, use a digital thermometer. When it registers 200 degrees F, it’s done.
  • If you only have salted butter for a baking recipe that calls for unsalted butter, remove half of the salt called for in the recipe.
  • Store spices in a cool, dark place away from your stove. Light, heat and humidity will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor.
  • If your baked good recipe calls for nuts or berries, toss them with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan.
  • If you have spare egg yolks or whites and need a whole egg for a recipe, either mix 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water, or mix 2 egg whites with 4 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  • If you need heavy cream for a recipe, make your own by combining mix 2/3 cup whole milk with 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter. This will give you 1 cup of heavy cream. (I do not recommend this for use in coffee, homemade ice cream, butter or whipped cream, and most baking/dessert recipes that require careful chemistry and exact ingredients. Use in savory stovetop meals, cream sauces, soups, quiches and potato dishes )

Join the Conversation

  1. These are really great tips! I learned something here – tossing berries with flour! Thanks :)

  2. The spraying the measuring cup trick works well for peanut butter and honey as well.

  3. Thank you and the tips, especially the one for making heavy cream.

  4. Love these tips, Georgia! Great to have around during this busy baking season!

  5. What great tips!!

  6. Very handy stuff to know!

  7. What great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  8. this looks delicious! glad i found this blog im going to bed in to read more :) Belle

  9. These are wonderful tips – thank you!

  10. Thanks for such helpful tips. I’m always buying buttermilk and heavy cream for just the 1 cup that I need and when I don’t get to use it, I’m wasting an entire bottle or carton! But with your tips, i might just get a gallon-sized milk and make the substitutions accordingly. Thanks for saving me money!

  11. These are very helpful tips. Love them.

  12. 5 stars
    These are great! Thanks! Another one of my favorite tips: Don’t have enough eggs? Substitute 1 T of white vinegar–works especially great if you are making a recipe at 150% and you end up needing “something and a 1/2” number of eggs.

  13. 5 stars
    Awesome! I have been baking for years, but for some reason, these are tips I never heard of! Thank you!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Will the substitute heavy cream whip like regular heavy cream.

  15. No, it will not whip but it’s great for using in place of heavy cream in recipes.

  16. Thanks for this! I knew most of them (and have used the buttermilk substitution many times – works great!). The one I’d never come across was the substitution for heavy cream.

    So, do you know, will it work in place of the heavy cream for an ice cream recipe?

  17. It might work for ice cream, but I’ve never tried it before.

  18. 5 stars
    Great tips, thanks for sharing! :) Just wanted to ask – how the thing goes with heavy cream? Just mix well and that’s it? No waiting? Thanks in advance!

  19. Thank you very much! :) I’ll make it these days!

  20. Anonymous says:

    so very grateful for all these tips and for you sharing them!

  21. 5 stars
    Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

  22. 5 stars
    Thank you for the tips!Great!

  23. 1 teaspoon of vinegar then fill the rest to whatever the measure with milk can also make buttermilk.

  24. I’m trying this for ice cream I melted the butter on the stove not for long then I poured it into the milk but the butter seperated itself from the milk. What am i doing wrong?

  25. I would not recommend using the heavy cream substitution for use in homemade ice cream.

  26. Can I use this heavy cream substitute for homemade Alfredo sauce?

  27. Yes, it should work fine. The sauce may not thicken as much as it would with heavy cream, but will taste the same.

  28. My oven doesn’t seem to be keeping an even temperature so I have been having a hard time baking bread lately (it looks done but isn’t quite cooked all the way through). I will start “taking it’s temperature” from now on! Thanks for the tip!!

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