Tips from Martha Bakes
Pyrex® is teaming up with Martha Stewart once again for the ninth season of Martha Bakes, the Emmy®-nominated cooking show on PBS. This season, Martha will be sharing her favorite cookie recipes from around the world and using America’s favorite glassware to prep and store these delicious desserts.
Check your local listings and tune in to get every delicious recipe, from Scandinavian butter cookies to Polynesian passion fruit delights and more. Each 30-minute episode will demonstrate new techniques and show you how simple it can be to try them for yourself.
As a bonus, here are some helpful hints from Martha Stewart to help you bake like a pro.
1. To compensate for hot and cold spots in the oven, always rotate dishes halfway through baking. If two dishes are in the oven, switch the pans from top rack to bottom and vice versa and turn each 180 degrees.
2. Once pie dough comes together, form into flat disks, wrap tightly in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the gluten to rest, yielding a more tender crust, and will allow you to roll it more easily.
3. Before baking cakes, breads and brownies, toast nuts to intensify their flavor. Spread nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in a 350-degree oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Do not brown or burn.
4. Leavening ingredients like yeast, baking powder, and baking soda lose their lifting power over time. Check the expiration date before use.
5. Coat your measuring cup with vegetable oil spray to avoid sticky liquids from sticking to the glass, such as corn syrup, molasses, or honey.
6. To cleanly cut cakes, bar cookies, and pies, keep a tall glass of warm water and a clean towel nearby. After each slice, dip your knife in the warm water and dry well. This will prevent the knife from sticking and picking up crumbs.
7. The secret to perfect frosting is to apply a “crumb coat”, or base coat of frosting, to the bare or naked cake and let it chill before topping with the final decorative icing. This will keep any crumbs from getting mixed up in the frosting.
8. For pie crust, layered pastry dough, and laminated dough, work with cold ingredients to keep the moisture locked in the dough. This will create steam during the baking process and lead to a deliciously flakey crust.
9. Use an oven thermometer to eliminate guessing when it comes to whether your oven runs hot or cold, then adjust the temperature setting accordingly. Baking is very sensitive and, unlike cooking, requires precise temperatures to deliver the desired result.
10. Bake with unsalted butter to maintain full control of the quantity of salt in your baked goods. Salt is needed to enhance the flavors of all your ingredients and to provide balance to the sweetness.
11. For cakes and breads, always begin a baking recipe with room temperature eggs, butter, or any dairy product like milk or yogurt to allow all the ingredients to easily incorporate with one another.
12. Be sure to butter and flour your baking dish generously to prevent sticking.
13. Assembling all your ingredients prior to baking, known as mise en place, ensures you have all the correct components of the recipe and improves baking efficiency. Use custard cups or small storage containers to organize your ingredients.
14. When measuring liquid ingredients, always use a clear glass measuring cup for an accurate amount.
15. When baking, always use the recommended size baking dish given in the recipe. If you alter the size, it can affect baking time and leave the recipe over or under cooked.