5 Tips to Better Baking

5 Tips to Better Baking

It’s not only about quality ingredients. Following these five simple steps will set you on the path to successful results when you bake.

  1. Choose the right pan.
  2. Pick the right rack.
  3. Leave a minimum of 2 inches between your baking pan and the sides of your oven.
  4. Center your pan under the element.
  5. Be sure to preheat your oven!

Convection Cooking 101

Convection Cooking 101

Convection cooking can be intimidating for even the most seasoned cook. Our Institute of Home Science expert Anna Carl gives us the basics so you can get the most out of your oven.

Convection cooking differs from a traditional oven because of the addition of a fan. Traditional ovens use a heating element to heat the entire cavity. Convection cooking adds a fan to evenly circulate air throughout the oven cavity. This often leads to more even heating throughout the cavity.

Because the fan evenly distributes heat throughout the oven, convection cooking is ideal for multi-rack cooking. The fan allows air to circulate around the racks so that all racks experience a similar temperature. In a traditional oven, the rack closest to the heat source would have the highest temperature, with the rack furthest away having the lowest.

Many ovens have both conventional and convection modes. Convection is best used when you would like a golden brown and crispy coating. It is great for roasts, pies, and toasting. Convection also shines in baking. The even heating of convection makes it possible to utilize 3 racks in your oven cavity, evenly baking cookies and pastries.

Convection Tips:

  • Set your timer 10 to 15 minutes earlier. Because of the more even heating, some foods can cook faster.
  • Reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees. Most recipes are written with traditional baking in mind.
  • Allow at least 2 inches above, below and around your items. This will allow adequate space for air to circulate allowing more even cooking.

 

 

 

How to Roast a Chicken

How to Roast a Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken can be intimidating for even the most experienced cooks. Our cooking expert Anna Carl from Whirlpool Corporation takes the difficulty out of roasting with these easy to follow tips.

  1. Trim excess fat and clean out inside cavity.
  2. Rinse outside and inside cavity with water, pat dry.
  3. Lightly coat outside with oil.
  4. Seasoned salt, rosemary, garlic & parsley.
  5. Tuck wings back.
  6. Place breast down into roasting pan.
  7. Add meat thermometer into center of meat, away from the bone.
  8. Place into oven preheated to 375 degrees.
  9. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes per pound or when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
How to Stretch Your Meals

How to Stretch Your Meals

The work week can be busy, leaving little to no time to cook a family meal. There are some great ways to cook one large meal and let it stretch across the week, saving you time and money. Our cooking expert Anna Carl shares her tips on how to stretch your meals throughout the week.

  • Begin by checking your weekly circular for sale items. Meat can be the most expensive item on your grocery list, so buying meat on sale or in bulk can help you save quite a bit on your grocery bill.
  • Chicken is one of the easiest meals to re-purpose. Consider starting with one roasted chicken. Use it for your first meal, and then save about two to three cups of chicken from the roast to use for at least two more meals. You can make the process even more efficient by roasting multiple chickens at once.
  • A simple beef roast can serve a family of four, but can also be easily repurposed for additional meals through out the week. Beef roast can easily become beef burritos, chili, or beef and noodles later in the week.
  • Turkey is another meat that you can be creative with, especially after Thanksgiving! Try making a tetrazzini, stir fry or tacos with the leftover turkey meat for more delicious meals.
Holiday Cooking and Baking Fails & Fixes

Holiday Cooking and Baking Fails & Fixes

If you’ve ever searched for recipes or baking ideas on the internet, you’ll see a treasure trove of beautiful glossy images. Cookies perfectly decorated, a roast cooked to perfection and vibrantly colored vegetables that make the perfect pairing. You’ve got to hand it to the photographers and food stylists, they do their job so well it almost looks easy to create such perfection.

But for as many beautiful images there are flooding the internet, there are an equal amount of.. let’s say honest images. From those bakers who gave it their all, taking on the seemingly easy task of creating perfection only to land a little short. Self-proclaimed FAILS.

Now these ambitious bakers didn’t do it all wrong. Baking is a science! One missed step could have led their recipe astray. Not enough water? Too much heat? One slight deviation from the recipe can lead to a FAIL.

So we consulted with our cooking experts to get the answers on the most common holiday baking fails and how to fix them so your delicious creation can go from FAIL to FIXED!

Hands rolling pie crust

HOMEMADE PIE CRUST

FAIL: Crust cracks when rolled, baked, burns easily or shrinks.

Fix: Think cold! When making pie crust chill all your ingredients in advance (and not just the shortening). After mixing, form a flat disc, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator before rolling. Roll your choice from the center out, not back and forth, in all directions applying even pressure. Unlike bread dough, you want to handle pie crust as little as possible to keep the dough light and flaky.

Uncooked meat

UNEVENLY COOKED MEAT

FAIL: Burned on the outside, frozen or rare on the inside.

Fix: If you’re working with a frozen turkey or roast, allow proper time for it to defrost. Sometimes this process can take days, so plan ahead. When you are ready to cook, give your meat some time to reach room temperature. Thicker meats that are transferred from the refrigerator to the oven will often have a bullseye effect – well done on the outside and rare on the inside.

Christmas cookies on cookie sheet

COOKIE CUTTER COOKIES

FAIL: Cookies spread when baked and lose their shape.

Fix: Use parchment paper to line baking sheets and chill dough. After you’ve made your dough, let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour before you begin to roll and cut out shapes. After you’ve cut out shapes, place the baking sheet back in the refrigerator and allow the cut outs to chill for an hour or more before baking.

hard boiled eggs

HARD BOILED EGGS

FAILS: Eggs turn brown between yolk and egg white. Hard to peel.

Fix: Bring eggs and water to a boil together. This will allow the eggs to cook evenly and lessen the chance for the eggs to overcook. After bringing to a boil place the eggs in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. For easy peeling, use older eggs. Newer eggs have lower pH and cause the egg white to adhere to the membrane. If you don’t have older eggs, you add some baking soda to into the water to increase the pH.

vegetables in steamer

VEGETABLES

FAIL: Veggies turn mushy and colors become muted or even turn brown.

Fix: Don’t forget to shock your vegetables. Adding vegetables to an ice bath can stop the cooking process, keeping your vegetables crisp and colorful. Try adding salt to the ice bath for additional flavor. The salt will be absorbed into the outer layer of the vegetable to add flavor.

Preheating 101

Preheating 101

The kitchen range is typically known as the work horse of the kitchen. It can bake, broil, roast and toast, but do you know how to get the most out of it?

Here are some simple tips from our cooking expert Anna Carl, Senior Food Scientist at Whirlpool Corporation on the importance of preheating and how you can maximize your time while cooking:

  • Remove unnecessary racks from the cavity to speed preheating.
  • Always start your oven first, before starting your meal prep.
  • Consider using a convection cycle – ovens with convection use additional elements and fans to speed preheating and baking.