How to Avoid Baking Disasters
Has this ever happened to you? You have baked a cake for your daughter's birthday. The layers have cooled and it is now time to take them out of the baking pans. Using a wire rack, you flip the pan. You lift the pan and ... DISASTER!! Part of the layer stuck to the pan and now there is a huge hole. Drat!
Or how about this? Your husband loves zucchini bread and thanks to the bounty of the garden, you have enough zucchini to make enough bread to satisfy your husband, your family AND your neighbors. You mix the batter together, pour it in the loaf pan and slide it into the oven. An hour later you pull our a beautifully domed, golden loaf of zucchini bread. After letting it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, you are now ready to remove the loaf from the pan. You have loosened the bread on all sides and tip it onto the rack and ... DISASTER!! The bottom of the loaf stuck to the pan and your lovely quick bread has split in half. Grrrr!
What to do to avoid this kind of disaster (which almost always happens when you don't have to bake another cake or quick bread)? Let me introduce you to one of my nearest and dearest buddies in the kitchen - baking parchment!! I use parchment for everything. Baking cookies? Line your cookie sheets with parchment and your cookies will slide right off onto the cooling rack. Baking ciabatta bread? Shape your loaves on parchment and transfer them parchment and all onto the baking stone.
What about the disasters I mentioned above? When you want to bake a layer cake, cut pieces of parchment to fit the bottom of your layer pans. Grease the pan, insert the parchment round and grease again. After baking, your cake layer will fall cleanly out of the pan. Remove the parchment round and you have a beautiful smooth layer to frost without the necessity of filling in big holes.
I also use parchment when I bake bread in loaf pans. It doesn't matter if you are baking a yeast bread or a quick bread. Cut a piece of parchment to fit into the loaf pan like a sling. Be sure to leave enough parchment to overhang the side of the loaf pan. Like the cake layer pans, you want to grease the loaf pan, insert the parchment sling and then grease the parchment sling. Put in the batter or dough and bake according to the recipe. After the bread is done baking and has cooled, simply lift the loaf out of the pan using the sling, put the loaf on the cooling rack and pull the parchment out of the way. Perfection!
These are just a few of the ways that parchment paper will help you in the kitchen. Parchment paper is one of my essential baking tools. I buy it in packs of 50 precut sheets that fit standard baking sheets. If you bake a lot of layer cakes, you can also buy parchment in precut 8" and 9" rounds to fit layer pans. In addition to helping you avoid baking disaster, parchment also makes clean up easier. I don't know about you but I'm all about anything which makes cleaning up easier.
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