Brownies are undeniably the easiest baked goodies to make. By simply mixing the batter, pouring it into the pan and letting it bake in the oven, you can create these scrumptious, chocolatey and delicious squares often without hassles. However, even the most skilled gourmet chef can make errors. Here are seven simple-yet-effective tips that would guide you in avoiding common mistakes in making the best brownies at the same time increase the mouth-watering factor of your treats.
1. Use the specified pan size
Pan sizes have a great impact on the resulting brownies. There are times when a baker lacks the exact baking pan asked by the recipe and would just use the available pan closest to what is specified. However, even a 0.5 inch inaccuracy makes a difference, a bad one. If the pan used is larger than what is needed, the brownies would become too thin and have a biscuit-like texture. If it is smaller, the batter would be overcooked at the edges and undercooked at the center. Follow the pan size indicated by the recipe as often as possible. The most common pan size is 13 inches x 9 inches x 2 inches. Baking pans are pricey, it’s true. Still, it is all worth it and it saves you from having to deal with the stress of a failed brownie adventure.
Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!
2. Add flour and eggs gradually
When the time for adding eggs to the mixture has come, add them one at a time, beating well before the next one is added. The same practice should be applied with flour. Add about half of a cup of the powder into the batter, then mix thoroughly before adding another half cup. Doing this enhances the consistency of the batter and improves the texture of the resulting brownies.
3. Avoid overmixing when flour is added to the batter
Overmixing is a crime when it comes to mixing batter, specifically when flour is already incorporated. The outcome of doing this are dry, hard, and stiff brownies. In adding flour, mix it with the batter until all of the solid powder is moistened and is joined with the wet ingredients, then stop right there, even if lumps are still present. Always keep in mind that a lumpy batter is fine. To help avoid overmixing, have all the ingredients at room temperature. Bring out cold eggs and butter from the fridge and let them warm for 25 minutes before using them. Remember, it is better to undermix than overmix. Of course, a batter mixed just right is best and it would produce moist and chewy brownies.
You must always remember that when a recipe calls for a greased baking pan, coat only the floor of the pan. Greasing the sides would give the batter a hard time rising during baking. Please avoid using vegetable oil, shortening and water for greasing because they add an undesirable tang to the brownies. Commercial greasing sprays as well as the delicious butter or margarine are excellent greasing agents.
5. Turn the pan halfway through baking time
Unless you are using the best convection oven (one that utilizes fans), it is wise to turn the pan halfway through baking time to allow even cooking of the batter. Ovens often concentrate the heat towards the back of the chamber. If the brownie recipe requires 30 minutes of baking time, open the oven and turn the pan around at the 15th minute, then allow it to bake through the remaining 15 minutes. This way, all parts of the batter are evenly baked.
6. Quality ingredients
Great ingredients make excellent brownies. Obviously, top-notch ingredients are expensive. Many people buy the cheap, low-quality ingredients to save money or because of a tight budget. This is very understandable. However, even a few dollars or cents can mean a significant amount of quality. When you are in the grocery choosing between two sticks of butter, one $1.50 and the other $1.75, and you have a few coins to spare, go for the $1.75. You might be surprised by how much improvement it can give to your brownies than using the $1.50 butter.
Use plastic knives for cutting
A plastic knife is the best tool for slicing your brownies. If you have made brownies before, you must already have had the painful experience of cutting them using a steel Japanese knife and having a messy, crumby conclusion. For some reason, plastic knives are able to cut through more cleanly through the brownies than ordinary ones. You may also use a steel knife with its blade dipped in hot water instead of a plastic knife. With this kitchen tool, you can cut your brownies while preserving its gorgeous appearance.
These tips should make your brownie expeditions more delicious and rewarding. Even just by following the first four you would be able to produce remarkable results. Please remember that in the unpredictable world of baking, mistakes are inevitable. However, learning from these is the best source for our skill and strength. Our latest batch of brownies is often better than the one before. Keep moving forward and someday you might just be able to make the perfect brownie.
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