Baking 101


The secret of all great products is quality ingredients and great preparation. Most professional recipes are set up to be as easy as possible. Read through your recipe completely. Be sure that you are familiar with the mixing method used in your recipe and determine whether you will be making any flavor or yield substitutions before you start.



Certain ingredients are necessary in all baked goods. The ways in which these ingredients interact with one another during the mixing and baking process determines the quality of the end product.


  • Helps increase the shelf life of baked good
  • Adds in emulsifiers. Egg yolk is a natural emulsifier that helps add volume and will improve the texture of your pastries
  • The protein in eggs will provide structure. *Be careful - using a large quantity of eggs can make baked products tough and chewy unless they are balanced out by a tenderizer, such as sugar or fat
  • Adds moisture because eggs are made up of mostly water
  • Adds flavor and color


  • Tenderizes texture of final baked good
  • Adds moisture
  • Adds richness of flavor
  • When creamed with sugar, it helps leaven product
  • Increases shelf life
  • Adds flakiness when used in items such as pie crusts, biscuits and croissants


  • Provides gluten for structure
  • Acts as an absorbing agent in a recipe
  • Different types of flour contain different protein amounts, which produce a different texture and appearance to the final baked good


  • Adds sweetness and flavor to your product
  • Creates a tender and fine texture to finish product because sugar weakens gluten structure
  • Gives color to crust
  • Helps retain moisture in product
  • Helps cut air cells into fat during creaming process
  • Yeast feeds on sugar

Understanding the function of the ingredients in a recipe will help provide the knowledge to better balance a recipe that needs troubleshooting adjustments. There are some general guidelines that can be helpful to ensure that a recipes ingredients are balanced together when adjustments are made.

General Guidelines

  • Increasing liquids - reduce amount of eggs and fat
  • Increasing eggs - increase amount of fat
  • Reduce amount of liquids if adding liquid sugar in place of granulated sugars.
  • If adding a large amount of wet ingredients, such as applesauce or fruit puree, reduce amount of liquid in recipe. The amount of flour and eggs should be slightly increased.


  1. Use a good kitchen scale to measure out recipe ingredients; this will help provide more consistent results.
  2. Line your baking pans with parchment paper to help with easy clean up.
  3. Keep an extra bowl by your workspace to use as a garbage bowl; this will help you work cleanly and help cut down the time you spend prepping recipes.
  4. Get more out of your recipes and create "accidental" portion control by using small portion pans (e.g., mini muffin pans).
  5. Double the recipe and store the extra dough or baked off items in your freezer so that you can have treats available for last minute company or events.