10 Mistakes Almost EVERYBODY Makes While Baking

bakery items and ingredients background
Struggle With Baking? Avoid These Common Mistakescarlosgaw - Getty Images

Calling all beginner bakers and maybe even some seasoned vets. This one is for you. If you struggle with baking, you may unknowingly be making some common baking mistakes. Baking is a beautiful art form when the final product is baked to absolute perfection. (Cue those social media Pinterest-worthy posts). However, it's also an exact science, which means you cannot take many liberties with it like you can sometimes when cooking or grilling. If you've botched some recent bakes, do not throw in the apron just yet. Here are ten common baking mistakes to avoid and what to do instead.

Combining All Ingredients at Once

It may be super tempting to create fewer dirty dishes and save some time by adding everything together, but there is a reason dry ingredients and wet ingredients are usually combined separately before you mix them together. This lets dry ingredients evenly mix before they touch any wet ingredients. If you want to avoid this mistake, follow all of the recipe instructions and keep ingredients separated until you get the go-ahead.

ingredients for baking on concrete background
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Eyeballing Measurements

Baking is a science, which means it's pretty essential to measure all ingredients out. Whether you've got dry ingredients or wet ingredients, whip out all of the measuring cups and spoons. Oh and do not be afraid to fire up that food scale either.

flour with measuring cups and spoons
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Failing to Prep Properly

Properly greasing and lining baking surfaces like brownie trays, cake pans, and muffin tins may seem like an unnecessary step, but every step is extremely important. Also, be sure not to overdo it on the greasing. Over-greasing tins for recipes, like brownies, can cause extra crunchy sides.

baked chocolate brownies on a baking tray placed on a wire cooling rack
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Not Following the Recipe

If you are a top chef who prefers to take matters into their own hands instead of following a recipe to a tee, you may be struggling with baking. In order to get those clever chemical reactions to work properly when your baked goods are baking in the oven, you need to follow a baking recipe step perfectly, which means not skipping any steps and using exact ingredients and measurements.

using mobile phone to search internet for online recipe
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Not Reading the Entire Recipe First

This may sound like a silly step, but one common baking mistake is not reading the recipe in its entirety. Knowing what you are getting into and that you are fully prepared is crucial when baking.. For instance, you will know if your dough will have to rest for a moment for the best texture, or if room-temperature butter is better instead of refrigerated butter. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to baking.

cookie ingredients
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Opening the Oven Door Too Often

It may be tempting to open the oven door to check your baked goods while they are bubbling away, but consider popping a peek through the oven window and being a looky lou that way instead. Every time you open the oven door, hot air escapes and can cause certain baked goods, like cakes, to sink in the middle, and no one wants a sad sunken-in cake.

mature woman removing fresh baked pie from oven
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Skipping the Cooling Rack

You have waited so long for your culinary creation to come to life, not to mention smelling its delicious scent wafting through the entire kitchen, but as tempted as you may be to plate up that cake or cookies, use a cooling rack. If you immediately plate up your treats, you may end up with a soggy bottom, which forms from condensation when baked goods are left to cool on the wrong surface area. Instead, transfer baked goods to a wire cooling rack to properly rest and cool for a few minutes after baking. This allows the heat to escape underneath, preventing any soggy situations.

cookies, hot from the oven, cooling on a wire cooling rack with aspatula
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Taking Shortcuts on Ingredients

One of the most common mistakes to make when baking is not using the exact ingredients the recipe calls for. This means weighing ingredients carefully and avoiding any ingredient substitutions. Remember, not all sugars are created equally. Also, pay attention to specific notes in individual ingredients. For example, using room temperature eggs or chilling the dough for a certain amount of time before baking. Those recipe notes are in there for a reason!

a table with ingredients for a baking project laid out, butter, sugar and flour, and two eggs
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Treating Fat Sources the Same

If you take the time to read the entire recipe first and gather all of the proper ingredients, this is another common baking mistake you should be able to avoid. However, if you overlook it, using fat sources interchangeably can be disastrous. If a recipe calls for butter, that does not mean avocado oil, ghee, or olive oil, all of which modify the flavor, taste, and texture of your final product.

butter, oil and water on table
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Using Baking Sheets Interchangeably

Another common baking mistake is using baking or cookie sheets interchangeably. Not all baking sheets are created equally. There are varieties like aluminum, dark-colored, insulated, light-colored, stainless steel, thick, and thin baking sheets. All serve an exact baking purpose, so use them accordingly. The construction and surface coating of a baking sheet pan can genuinely affect your baking time and texture. For consistency, use one kind of sheet for your recipe and prepare it according to the exact instructions.

a bunch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet
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