The Top Five Steps to Improve Your Baking

August 25th, 2016

baking toolsBaking is a delightful way of cooking food with the use of dry and prolonged heat and is mostly done in an oven. While baking, the heat travels from the surface of the pan to the center of the baking batter and therefore, it results in food items that have a crisp exterior, but a softer inner section such as bread and cakes.

It is however, important to take care of a few elements when you are aiming to improve your baking skills. We have selected the top five steps that you can do to ensure that you become a better baker in the long run:

1.     Buy High Quality Baking Accessories

If you are starting baking, then you should always buy high quality accessories. You need to have a good quality oven that has excellent conduction and uniform hot spots. You should also buy heavy duty baking trays and cake pans.

It’s best to go with glass and metal pans and mixing bowls over plastic ones because they can melt and contaminate your baking items. You should also use baking parchment and high quality butter to grease your pans for pastries.

2.     Buy a Scale and Timer

Most baking requires the use of accurate and subtle application of the ingredients. A digital scale will allow you to easily pour or take out the required quantities of raw materials which will definitely improve all your recipes in terms of flavor.

All baking recipes are also time dependent and therefore, you should buy a kitchen timer. This will allow you to exactly follow through with the recipes and ensure that you do not overcook your pastry or cake.

3.     Rotating Baking Trays

All ovens, even the high grade ones, have hot and cold zones. This means that your baking items may not be getting an equal amount of heat on all sides. You can easily remedy this situation by carefully turning your trays after half the time of your total cooking requirement. This will ensure that all sides of your baked good receive an equal amount of heat.

4.     Ingredients at Room Temperature

You often have your baking ingredients stored in a refrigerator and you may find that it is very hard to use these cold ingredients. Many recipes even mention that all items used must be at room temperature. This means that you need to ensure that you have given enough time to your ingredients to warm up to the room temperature. You can do this by getting all the required items out of the fridge at least a few hours beforehand.

5.     No Sugar Cut-Down

Sugar is an important part of most baking recipes. It is not only added for sweetness. It also provides texture, color and the right moisture to a recipe as well. Although there are many artificial sweeteners available today, but we suggest to never substitute or cut down on regular white sugar while baking because it will destroy the taste and texture of your recipe.

These are just some of the easy steps that you can do to instantly improve your baking skills. You will find that these simple steps and activities will turn your ordinary baking experience into more experienced one with consistent results.

 

The Top Five Kitchen Skills of Professional Chefs

August 18th, 2016

chef skillMost professional chefs have many years of training and working experience behind them. However, they need to develop many skills if they want to move ahead in a competitive world. They generally have mastery over the skills that people ordinarily apply in their kitchens.

We are focusing here, on the top five kitchen skills that professional chefs have. These skills make them different from other individuals, who just cook food either for fun or for the need of preparing their own food.

Cleanliness

All chefs believe that it is essential to clean their work area as well as keep their clothes clean. Good chefs work with a lot of food, but there is not a single mark on their sleeves. Chefs who do not have the habit of keeping up excellent hygiene cannot progress further in their career.

Cleaning comes as a habit for these professionals, and they usually clean their working area after performing each task during the long process of finishing a single recipe.

Amazing Knife Skills

Exceptional knife skills are required to take the meat clean off the bones. Also, fish cannot be prepared without proper deboning procedures.

The superior knife skills of chefs allow them to work faster and also create proportional serving sizes where all the vegetables and the meat are cut into similar sizes for every dish.

Seasoning It Right

Seasoning is very important. It provides the ideal flavor for a recipe. Professional chefs have to be experts at seasoning. They can use advanced seasoning skills to mask different cooking problems as well. The use of the right amount of salt itself is an art and great chefs are experts at it, creating dishes with complex flavors with just the right amounts of zest and zing.

Precision

Professional chefs do everything in the kitchen with complete precision. They are able to follow timelines accurately and are able to remember long recipes that may require over 20 different steps. They work in a precise manner, which means that they can consistently reproduce good food if they have access to the required ingredients. Precision also means that they efficiently use all parts of the ingredients and throw away as little as possible.

Handling Pressure

The most important skill which makes professional chefs different from everyday cooks is their ability to handle pressure situations. Restaurants do not have a consistent workload, as expected when cooking for the family. Rush hours in restaurants can truly test the nerves of the best chefs. Professional chefs are able to handle this pressure and still ensure that the flavor in their dishes remains consistent.

There are also many more skills that professional chefs have, when compared to ordinary cooks. You can improve on these skills as well to improve and better serve your family with delicious food.

 

The Needs of an Efficient Kitchen

August 11th, 2016

appliancesA kitchen is an important part of your home. Each kitchen is unique and its needs depend on the needs of the individuals that live in the home. There are some needs that are basic in nature and should be present in all kitchens to facilitate cooking.

We will look at some of the important needs that make an efficient kitchen and that allows people to get maximum value out of the place. Here are some of these needs:

The Counter Space

The counter space is very important in a kitchen. It is usually used by fixing counter tops. A balance needs to be maintained when allocating space to kitchen counters. Larger counters can mean difficulty moving within the kitchen . On the other hand, a very small counter space could mean that there is are not enough places to easily put utensil, ingredients, and other items.

The shape of the counter spacing is also important. This will allow you to decide on how you can plan other items such as putting a refrigerator in the kitchen. You should also take the height of the counters seriously. Use a height which is comfortable for everyone at home. Good counter spacing will allow maximum utilization of space in your kitchen and hence ensure that you have a hassle-free working environment.

The Right Appliances

Latest appliances are able to simplify a lot of difficult kitchen tasks. For instance, the use of a gas or an electric stove and oven is also an important choice that you should make according to your needs as well as running expenses.

Always select appliances with newer technologies. These appliances may cost more, but they are usually very efficient and help them save a lot of money over the course of their use. Always decide on the appliances that enable you to make savings in your utility bills and this way help conserve the environment.

Implementing a Cooking Style

Each kitchen is built around a particular theme. Normal home kitchens are not large enough to incorporate all the accessories that may be used in cooking. Hence, you need to first identify the cooking style that will be required for the use of a kitchen. All the needs of the kitchen would then follow the template of that particular style.

A homeowner needs to ask herself if she loves baking, experimenting with new foods, or just wants the best kitchen to cook family meals. The answer to this question allows you to set up the perfect kitchen template. For instance, a baking kitchen requires a large and efficient oven and everything is built around it. On the other hand, a culinary delight creating kitchen needs the latest kitchen appliances. A family kitchen, on the other hand, needs efficient working space and a large stove to place family sized utensils on it.

These are just some of the needs that are required for creating an efficient kitchen in any house. People should ponder over their kitchen more than they actually do because they may suffer if they design a kitchen in a hurry.

 

 

How to Design the Best Professional Kitchen

August 5th, 2016

kitchen designRestaurants often suffer from a poorly constructed kitchen design which is extremely difficult to replace once a restaurant has opened up and is functional.

It is therefore, important to take the suggestions of technical experts as well as your staff members when designing the kitchen that they are going to use on a daily basis.

The best professional kitchens are the ones that are designed with input from all the people who can be defined as the stakeholders in a project.

This article will discuss the basic requirements of a professional kitchen design and how different people can help you during the designing process.

Selecting a Design Team

You may feel that there is no need to hire a design team for a professional kitchen as there are plenty of designs that are already available when you approach a contractor. In this case, all you have to do is select the one that is either the most economical or looks good to you. But this is not the ideal way to go about it.

You need to bring in all the professionals and take their suggestions seriously.

First of all, your chefs should be represented in the kitchen design team. Then you should include some professionals such as your plumber and carpenter.

These people can give great suggestions about their relevant needs which allow you to create more efficient kitchen designs.

You should also keep one or two independent team members on your team, which may be your spouse. These people can look at a design from the perspective of an onlooker and sometimes identify a problem that may have just skipped your notice.

On the other hand, people like electricians and plumbers are able to give you better knowledge about the best placements of several kitchen elements such as the oven, refrigerator and wash basins.

Finalizing the Initial Plans

You may find it difficult at times, to take the input of trade professionals because they cannot imagine your kitchen space properly.

This is why you will need to put the kitchen plans on paper so that everyone on the team can clearly understand them and then provide proper feedback. This feedback should then be implemented to create the new design.

Including the Interior Designer

Once you have talked to some of your trade partners and included your chefs in the planning, it is time to contact professional designers.

You should visit multiple interior designers and share the ideas that you gathered during your consultation with them.

You should then ask the designers to visit the place and prefer designers who show an interest in your project, and can show you a cost and time estimate that will be required to finalize the design of your professional kitchen.

You should select an interior designer who is able to provide you with a clear concept of the design and understands your needs.

Final Points

You should give importance to ergonomics and also ask your designer to place the kitchen accessories in a way that improves the energy efficiency of the appliances.

Finally, you should always give the local health and safety standards the utmost importance and ensure that these standards and requirements are incorporated in the final design of your professional kitchen.

The Benefits of Kitchen Islands

July 29th, 2016

kitchen islandA good kitchen requires a balance between the storage area, the work area and its functionality.

Most kitchen designers though, find it hard to get this balance right, which happens due to the lack of spaces. Kitchen islands are ideal for this matter as they create the required space without disturbing the flow of traffic around the kitchen.

There are many potential benefits of kitchen islands. Let’s discuss some of the top benefits of incorporating at least a single kitchen island in your kitchen layout:

Additional Storage

A kitchen island adds the necessary storage space that your kitchen needs. You cannot go on buying kitchen accessories and utensils if you do have proper storage space for them.

You can also put in bins, shelves and cooking areas on top of the kitchen island. The kitchen island usually allows you to take the help of another person for side tasks, so that the main cooking area is not disturbed when extra utensils have to be taken out.

Seating Area

Most homes do not have enough space to have separate formal and informal dining places. In such cases, chairs can be placed around the kitchen islands, turning them into great areas for having an informal munch.

Sometimes, you can also extend a kitchen island outside the main kitchen area as well. This provides you with increased seating that you can use especially when you have guests.

Great for Kids

If you have kids, then you will certainly know the stress and worries that you have about them, especially when cooking alone in the kitchen.

Kids have a lot of energy and it is essential to keep an eye on them, lest they engage themselves in a dangerous activity.

Kitchen islands allow you to engage your children in their tasks while you are working in the kitchen. You can ask your kids to help you with the cooking too, or just provide them with something to eat or play with while sitting on the chairs around the island.

This will allow you to keep them under your watchful eyes while still giving the impression that the kids are free to do whatever they like.

Additional Cooking Areas

If your cooking needs are greater and you regularly require multiple people to work in the kitchen, then you need multiple cooking areas.

Kitchen islands add the necessary space that you will require for this purpose. You should add multiple cooking aids according to your needs, but make sure that the islands are placed in a manner to allow easy traffic flow across the kitchen.

Added Utility or the Center of Attention

You can basically have two types of kitchen islands. Most islands are added for their utility as they allow multiple people to work within the limited space in the kitchen.

These islands also work as informal dining places and allow you to quickly give your spouse or children a meal, fresh from the stove.
But there are some kitchen islands that are not meant to be an accessory. These islands, in fact, are the focal point in the kitchen and usually contain a high quality marble top.

These islands mostly have a cooking range installed in them and bring a modern charm to your kitchen.
You can also add an island to your kitchen design and enjoy countless benefits including the ones that we have discussed here.

The Future of Cooking

July 22nd, 2016

Awesome infographic by Noel Dempsey Kitchen & Design

The future of cooking infographic

Important Accessories for a Baker’s Kitchen

June 30th, 2016

Here are some important kitchen accessories that will help turn any kitchen into a delight for bakers.There are many kitchen utensils and gadgets that are available in the market and it is almost impossible to buy all of them. Most kitchens simply do not have the necessary space that would allow them to have an extensive set of kitchen accessories.

It is therefore important to understand the basic needs of any particular kitchen. We are focusing here on creating a wonderful baker’s kitchen.

Baking is a complicated process and requires a multi step process. The activities involved, often require a variety of baking accessories and utensils for regular use. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Place the Kitchen Trio: The Sink, the Cooking Range and the Prep Area

June 23rd, 2016

It is important to place the kitchen elements in the right place to create a kitchen which is easy to navigate and also offers complete functionality. A kitchen is a very important place for any home and different people have their ideas about designing the best one for their homes as well as businesses.

It is however, not possible to design a great kitchen unless you are able to comprehend that all kitchens are based on a trio of elements. These three elements include the sink, the cooking range and the preparation area.

There are also some people who now include the refrigerator in the kitchen trio in place of the preparation area because modern cooking is based around elements that can be stored for a long time in the fridge. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Improve Your Cooking Skills in a Hurry

June 16th, 2016

These are some of the basic methods that you can employ in order to quickly improve your cooking skillsAlthough it is impossible to become a great cook in a day, there are a few skills that can quickly turn anyone into a decent cook. It is not essential to use exotic ingredients to improve your cooking, though access to such items such as aged cheese and virgin olive oil can certainly boost the existing flavors. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Kitchen

June 9th, 2016

energy efficient kitchenEnergy conservation is very important and it can provide a better ecosystem for us all.

However, as the kitchen is a place where we commonly need to combine both the cold and the hot elements, this means that we certainly face a dilemma when designing a kitchen that is efficient with respect to the loss of energy.

There are however, a few steps that can truly provide increased efficiency in a kitchen, and ensure that the utility expenses for both the cooling and heating needs can be reduced. We have placed them in the order of importance below. Read the rest of this entry »