12 things to avoid when baking and 12 proven recipes for baked goodies

Do you like baked foods, but you still don’t like them as you know them from restaurants or from your parents? Although making baked goods looks simple and seems to require only a combination of the right ingredients, there are other things that are important. Here is a list of factors that turn a perfect baking treat into something less than edible. What to avoid?

Baked meals are a simple and useful way to use leftovers from the previous days and create a tasty and quick dinner for the whole family. However, this does not mean that we cannot make mistakes when we prepare them. What to watch out for:

1) Wrong baking pan

The basic moment when you want to bake food in the oven is the choice of container. Baking dishes must be made of material suitable for use in the oven. Whether you choose glass, ceramic, cast iron or enamel, check beforehand if the container is intended for this purpose. Glass or ceramic containers that are not suitable for the oven (even though they look like it) can even crack in the middle of baking.

Macaroni and cheese:

Delicious but very filling food. Suitable as an unwrapped lunch or as a side dish for roast…

2) Incorrect size of baking pan

If you have chosen a bowl suitable for baking in the oven, make sure it has the necessary size – depending on what you are going to prepare. Recipes often include information about how big the baking dish or baking dish should be. It should also be noted that if you have an oval container, it will hold slightly less food than an equally long container with right angles. The depth is also important – foods baked in shallower containers tend to dry out and don’t taste juicy. Make sure the container is always filled to a maximum of three quarters of the height. If you don’t want to clean the oven anymore, place a slightly larger tray under the baking tray.

Broccoli and cheese:

3) Poorly drained and moist vegetables

Baked foods taste best when the ingredients in them can easily come together. That’s why they usually taste even better the next day. However, if you use vegetables with excess water – either poorly dried or very watery, the baked good will become a soggy mess. To avoid this, let the frozen vegetables thaw completely in a sieve over a bowl and dry them so that they do not contain excess moisture. If you are cooking with vegetables that naturally contain a lot of liquid, squeeze them out. Remove excess water from eggplant and pumpkin by cutting them into rounds, salting them and letting them drain in a colander for 30 minutes, then wash off the salt and dry the vegetables with paper towels.

Baked Omelettes:

4) Unevenly cut vegetables for baking

As a rule, baked foods are not eaten with a fork and knife, there is no need to cut them. When preparing a dish with raw vegetables to be cooked in the oven, always cut them in the same size. Otherwise you will have some parts raw and others cooked.

Cauliflower and cheese:

5) Vegetables pre-cooked for a long time

It’s true that vegetables don’t cook at the same rate, so you may be tempted to overcook the tougher types. Soft vegetables like broccoli only need to be blanched, hard ones like potatoes or carrots are pre-cooked for 2 to 5 minutes in the microwave. You can improve the onion by frying it in oil.

Potatoes in tomato sauce:

These potatoes are a poem. A delicious meatless meal that you can serve…

6) Uncooked pasta, cereals or rice

If you add raw pasta, grains or rice to a baked dish recipe, you run the risk that they will not cook to taste – they will be hard and dry, and will not absorb the sauce or spices. You can avoid this by pre-cooking pasta or cereals, 4-5 minutes is enough. Be sure to submerge them in an ice bath after cooking or immediately cool them under very cold running water to stop the cooking process. Otherwise, there is a risk of hard food.

Potatoes and minced meat:

Potato wheels interspersed with meat filling with peas, carrots and grilled…

7) Do not grill the meat in advance

Sure, baked dishes are quick, but only if you have all the ingredients well prepared in advance. If you want to add raw meat to a baked dish, it is very likely that it will not be cooked enough. Therefore, always fry the meat in oil or butter before baking it with the other ingredients and let it brown on all sides.

Hokkaido and potatoes:

A great recipe for delicious potatoes…

8) You use fresh herbs for baking

Fresh herbs are suitable for all dishes, but certainly not for baked ones. In this case, give preference to dried. Fresh herbs suffer when baked for a long time, their taste and color completely change. However, you can use them to decorate the prepared meal while serving.

Baked cannelloni:

This Italian pasta is prepared with a classic Bolognese meat sauce…

9) You don’t leave prepared foods standing

Of course, when you have a kitchen full of hungry people, it’s hard to force them not to eat the cooked food right away. In any case, baked foods are best when left for at least 15-20 minutes. They need time not only to cool a little, but also to solidify and set the sauce or juice.

Potatoes and meatballs:

10) Long covered or uncovered baked food

If you cover the baked food while baking, it will bake evenly, stay moist and prevent burning. Uncovering the food before the end of cooking helps with browning, crisping and release of steam.

Always follow the recipe you chose, but as a general rule, baked goods should be covered for the first half of baking and uncovered for the second half to release steam and brown.

Baked potatoes with tomatoes:

I have always been fascinated by simple “one pot” recipes. This goodness was created when I…

11) Bad baking temperature

Again, each recipe cooks at a different temperature, but in general, don’t cook baked goods below 150 or above 200 degrees Celsius. Also consider the fact that a shallow container reaches a higher temperature faster and requires a shorter baking time than when baking food in a deep bowl.

Aromatic baked dough:

A fragrant baked dinner…

12) Improper freezing of prepared baked food

One-pot meals, including baked ones, are often ideal for freezing. But if you don’t do it right, the result will be a complete disaster.

How to do it? Let the cooked food cool to room temperature for about an hour after cooking, then cover and refrigerate overnight. After cooling, place a sheet of baking paper on top of the food, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and finally wrap it completely in heavy foil and place it in the freezer.

Thaw the food overnight in the freezer and reheat it thoroughly before eating – so that it is well reheated from the inside as well.

Shepherd’s Pie:

But the shepherd mainly produces cheese, not meat, right? 🙂 This is my favorite version of the Shepherd…

If you follow these tips, you will definitely succeed in making the most delicious baked dishes. Please do it!

Beloved French potatoes in hundreds of ways are always a guarantee of a satisfied and full Slovak eater. Who invented them?

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Where did French potatoes come from and how to grow them?

Written: 14.06.2022

Photo source: dobruchut.sk. istock.com

Text source: dobruchut.sk, allrecipes.com

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