we all know that there are varies ways and habits one can adopt to have a healthier life.
The process itself can be quite simple. Enjoying the journey of discovery is most probably the most effective way to bring change into your life. Discoveries change the way you see things, which automatically and ultimately culminate on a change of habits. You will of course need a couple of techniques and useful hacks to make it easier, doable and sustainable.
When it comes to healthy baking, the same applies. The only thing you need is to always choose the healthiest ingredients possible and build from there!
But what does healthy eating mean? Stop eating desserts? Schedule a sweet’s day on the fridge calendar? No, no one wants that! 😉
We’ll just make the wiser choices when it comes to baking and follow a few single tips and hacks.
I’ll go ahead and start with just a few HACKS (you‘ve got to love those hacks!):
- Sweeten with fruit is a great way to sweeten up a treat without adding artificial sugar. Use fruit purees to add moisture and sweetness.
- Switching flours is one of the easiest ways to make your dessert healthier. Use wholegrain-wheat flour instead of white wheat flour. White flours are made from heavily refined and processed wheat grain that you don’t want in your body. Or replace totally wheat flour for other flours. That’s even better! Just be aware that the swop ratio is not 1:1. You will have to learn a bit more on this one.
- Quit the sprinkles and start topping your desserts and cakes with seeds or fruits. Dried or fresh fruit like raspberry or strawberry can create beautiful colourful toppings that are natural and high in vitamin C. All sorts of seeds bring a ton of fiber into your goodies.
- Yoghurt is your friend and works wonderfully if your goal is to cut off butter and oil. Yoghurt creates wonderful moist muffins with much, much less fat. Use it in your cakes or desserts every time you get that chance. Not only is it low fat but it’s higher in protein and a source of calcium.
As in all trades, there are some RULES
A key component for your baked goods to flourish and thrive
Follow the recipe
Baking is an exact science. It is primarily a practical exercise in chemistry. Each ingredient serves one or more specific purposes, from generating gases, to make the dough rise or caramelise, or to bind all ingredients together. The recipe basically states a proven formula.
Preheat your oven
Preheating the oven is the first and foremost requisite for baking.
If you don’t preheat your oven at the right temperature there won’t be enough heat and the end result may be a heavy, undercooked mess. 20 to 30 minutes before baking is enough to set the oven at the desired temperature!
Weigh and organise your ingredients before you begin
This is most one of the most important rules. It is called the mise en place and I’ve been a victim of what can go wrong when you don’t prepare your ingredients ahead. Read the recipe, check and set aside all the needed ingredients. You don’t want to discover you don’t have enough flour, milk or cocoa powder in the middle of your recipe.
Be precise with your ingredients
Very, very, very important. This is a big one, because healthy baking is not like other methods of cooking, where you can risk throwing a little bit more or less of this and that, just by feeling.
Exact measuring of your ingredients is essential for success. This is particularly true with the main ingredients such as flour, sugar or fat. With ingredients such as dried fruit, nuts or chocolate chips, you don’t need to be so precise.
The Cool Down
Trying to remove hot cakes or cookies from their tins or trays is always a mistake. All baked goods should be allowed to cool down, at least for awhile. Some you need to remove from the tin still luck warm, some have to be completely cooled down.
Pies need to be cooled so they can be sliced cleanly. And cookies, of course, need to firm up at least a little — otherwise they’ll fall apart on the way to your mouth.
But some cakes will stick to the baking form or crack if you let them cool down too much or if you take them out to early.
Check your Oven Temperature
Incorrect oven temperature is up there as one of the main reasons for failure. Get to know your oven well and when in doubt, use an oven thermometer to check its accuracy and adjust the temperature accordingly.
Use the Correct Size Pans
Did you know not taking the size and type of your pan in account might completely change the course of the recipe?
The ingredients that make the cake moist, fluffy, and tasty are the same ingredients that weaken those ingredients that give structure to the batter – which are the proteins and starches.
When a cake is baked in a smaller pan than indicated, it can deflate and become a fudgy, tough, unrisen, and flat kind of cake.
On the other hand, larger pans make the depth shallower, which will require less baking time.
If you don’t have the particular pan size mentioned in the recipe and need to use a different one, you will need to adjust the baking time.
Don’t overmix your batter
When cake batter is overmixed, the end result may very well be a dense, weak cake. The cake will be fragile, as the protein structure was weakened by too much mixing. Unlike light and fluffy cakes, an overmixed one will likely be gummy, chewy and unpleasant.
In healthy baking, you sometimes reduce the amount of fat. The dough reacts differently to less fat, so it is easier to overmix the batter in healthy baking.
Overbaking cakes dries them out. It could only be a couple of minutes window between a perfectly baked and a overbaked cake, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on that cake.
Healthy baking uses significantly reduced amounts of fat and cakes can dry out much quicker than those made with full fat amounts. To balance that with the baking time is crucial for success.
I’ll finish by mentioning the ingredients, where the soul of any baked good lies. Picking the right ingredient will make a world of difference.
There’s an endless list of ingredients that are proven to be healthier than the traditional ones used in baking. There are healthier flours, sugars, substitutes for dairy products or for gluten, lactose etc. But as in all things, you need to try them out, test them in your recipes and make the necessary adjustments.
To be a successful healthy baker you need to know your ingredients well, how they work both in your body as well as in reaction with other ingredients. Because they will react differently in each recipe, as well as in each body. 😉
Please don’t hesitate to drop a question in the comment box down bellow, in case you have any doubt!
Have a sweet week,