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Baking Tips Every Home Cook Should Know

Baking Tips Every Home Cook Should Know

Your baking will rise to the next level with these tips

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Baking is an enjoyable endeavor, but it can be tricky if you’re a novice with the oven. However, it’s not impossible to make something at home that looks and tastes like the work of a professional. Whether you’re new to the ways of the whisk or just don’t know how to soften butter quickly, here are baking hacks every home cook needs to know.

Make sure your ingredients are at the proper temperature

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Baking can be a fun new hobby to learn, but it’s also a science that’s greatly affected by temperature. If your recipe calls for your ingredients to be warm, cool, chilled or room temperature, make sure they are. When not specified, it’s best to go with room temperature, as ingredients are then easier to mix together for a uniform consistency.

Soften butter with a rolling pin

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Many recipes call for your butter to be at room temperature. If you forgot to take your stick of butter out a few hours before baking, don’t worry. You can soften a cold stick of butter by placing it in a sealed bag and using a rolling pin to flatten the butter into a thin layer — a cooking hack you probably learned from your parents. A rubber spatula will help you scoop the soft butter out.

Flour everything

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If all of your ingredients are sticking together, don’t run and look for an online cooking class just yet. Flouring your tools will make things go smoothly. Dust your work surface in flour to keep dough from sticking to it, and do the same with rolling pins and your hands. When cutting through dough with a knife or cookie cutter, flour will help you work faster and neater as well.

Let the dough rest after you knead it

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When baking your own bread, make sure you let the dough rest after kneading it. This will give the dough time to relax, and in turn, it will be easier to work with.

Know how to measure dry ingredients …

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One thing to keep in mind when baking is that measuring dry ingredients is different from measuring liquids. When baking something like pancakes, which require a lot of dry ingredients, scoop the mix into your measuring cup and tap across the surface with a knife to level it off.

… And liquid ingredients

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Now that you know how to measure dry ingredients, we should also cover how to measure liquid ingredients. When working with things like eggs or water, pour the ingredients into a clear measuring cup on a flat surface at eye level. Whether you’re working with wet or dry components, it’s important to know the expiration date of the ingredients you’re using.

Use cooking spray for sticky ingredients

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Just like when you cook eggs in a pan, you should spray any measuring cups or spoons with oil prior to using them for baking. This will make it easier to tip ingredients out of them, it will also ensure you don’t waste any sticky ingredients, like honey.

Use unsalted butter

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While some things (like a perfectly cooked steak) require a lot of salt, baking is different. You want to be able to control the level of salt in your recipe where you can. A good way to do so is by using unsalted butter, unless it’s otherwise specified.

Be prepared

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One bad cooking habit you need to stop now is not being prepared. A key part of baking is making sure you read the recipe and set out the ingredients before getting started. This will help in case anything needs to set overnight or if the oven needs to be preheated.

Take your time

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Baking is a very precise art, and you want to handle your ingredients with delicacy. If you’re not in the right state of mind, it will reflect in your baking. Remember to take your time when baking and try not to let everyday stressors get in the way of your newfound baking skills.

Use an ice cream scoop for uniformity

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If you’re making cupcakes or cookies, you want them all to be perfectly even and the same size. Cover an ice cream scoop, tablespoon or melon baller with cooking spray and use it to scoop your batter into a cupcake tray or cookie tin. Not only will this make everything the same size, but it’s a faster and neater way to divide up the batter. With this helpful hack, you’ll be ditching store-bought cookies in no time.

Proof your dough in the oven

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Baking bread can be a great way to relieve stress, but you’ll want to brush up on the basics first, like how to proof dough — allowing the dough to rest and rise. To do so, turn on the oven for just two minutes and place a bowl of boiling water into the oven with the light on. Once you’re done kneading the dough, the oven should be the correct temperature to ensure the dough will be proofed properly.

You don’t need the best gadgets

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Instead of running out and buying the latest and greatest machinery, all you really need is some essential cooking tools to get you started. Remember, the best or the newest gadgets don’t necessarily yield better results.

Incorporate steam when baking bread

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In the same vein, it’s important to know how to incorporate steam when baking bread. The easiest way to do so is by spraying the loaf with warm water before putting it in the oven and again five minutes later. This is also a fun way to get your kids in on the cooking process — let them spray the bread before putting it in the oven.

Use a cooling rack

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If you’re a frozen dessert connoisseur, you won’t necessarily need a cooling rack, but it’s important to have when baking cakes, cookies or breads. Cooling racks ensure proper airflow and allow your pastries to cool properly. If you leave the item in the pan or immediately place it on a plate, there won’t be a way for any residual heat to escape.

Cut cinnamon rolls with floss

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This might be a cooking tip you learned from watching grandma, but if you’re looking to cut cinnamon rolls into even layers, a knife isn’t necessary. Instead, roll out the dough and use thread or unflavored dental floss to cut the dough. To do this, slide the thread under your dough, making sure it’s centered, and wrap it around the top. Pull the dental floss together in a swift motion. The thread should cut right through the dough.

Take your cookies out of the oven early

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The best cookies are chewy, but sometimes the perfect texture can be hard to achieve. Take the cookies out of the oven when they’re a little underdone. The cookies should look moist, and the edges should be slightly brown. Once you have this technique down, get creative by baking your cookies with some unexpected ingredients.

Make a DIY piping bag

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Just like there’s a bunch of do-it-yourself home maintenance hacks, there are also plenty of ways to DIY when baking. And if you’re working on a baking project that requires decoration and you don’t have a piping bag handy, you can probably make do with what you already have. Fill a zip-lock bag with your desired icing or frosting and then snip off a corner to your liking.

Decorate on wax paper

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When baking an impressive dessert that requires decorating, try using wax paper. Cut a piece of wax paper so that it’s the size of your cake, then decorate the surface how you’d like and freeze it. This is a low-pressure approach, because you can wipe away any mistakes. After the decorations and/or letters have frozen, you can carefully peel them off the paper and place onto the cake.

Don’t overmix

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Once you have your ingredients together, be sure not to overmix them. When baking muffins, biscuits, pancakes and other iconic breakfast foods, overmixing can cause the batter to become tough.

Double the recipe

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Frost a ‘crumb coat’ first

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A baking hack that will give even the sweetest dessert shop in your area a run for its money is to use a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that’s spread over the cake and refrigerated in order to get rid of any crumbs. Once this step is done, you can add another thicker layer of frosting on top.

Use cookie dough as a base for other ingredients

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While it’s convenient to have 50 cookie recipes on hand, it’s a pain to make a bunch of different types of dough. Instead of using cookie dough to make just sugar cookies, try using it as a base for other mix-ins like chocolate chips or M&M’s. This also works for other dough-based recipes like bread and biscuits. You can use the dough as a base to make jalapeno bread and more.

Know important substitutions

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It’s quite a bummer when you have your heart set on making a specific recipe only to realize you don’t have all of the necessary ingredients. One way to avoid this is by knowing how to work with what you have. The next time you’re ready to put your baking skills to the test, try out some of these important baking ingredient swaps everyone should know about.

Dip icing spatula in hot water

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15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!


15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know

There's an expression used to define what goes on behind-the-scenes in a restaurant kitchen: "choreographed chaos." An efficient kitchen staff operates quickly, quietly, and keeps up with the dance. To do this, chefs have many go-to tricks. Below is a list of some of their secrets that will benefit any home cook.

1. Master mise en place.
This might be the most important tip of all. "Mise en place" is French for "everything in place." What it means to a chef? Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased, etc. and within reach. This will keep you from running around looking for the dried basil while your sauce is on the brink of burning.

2. A sharp knife is essential.
Sharpen it on a regular basis and hone in between sharpening. Dull knives are dangerous and make cutting much more difficult.

3. Taste as you go.
You should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice brings perfection. Which brings us to the next tip&hellip

4. Salt as you go.
Don't be afraid of salt! Since you're cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one, you're starting out with much less sodium to begin with.

5. But lose the salt shaker.
Use a small bowl of kosher salt and add pinches as you cook and taste. It's easier to control the amount and ensures even coverage.

6. Tongs are an extension of your hand.
Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand &mdash usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.

7. Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board.
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they're extremely dangerous when you're holding a knife and trying to chop something. Wet a paper towel and lay it under the board and it won't budge!

8. Sear chicken breast and finish in oven.
Chefs sear a piece of meat, poultry, or fish in a pan and then place it in the oven. Not only does this free up burners, it results in a much moister result.

9. Don't overcrowd your pan.
When roasting or browning anything, the tendency is to cram as much in the pan as possible &mdash resist! Do it in smaller batches instead. Crowding the pan leads to steaming and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won't get the caramelization you're looking for &mdash and that's where the flavor is.

10. Cook with a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
Oil stops the butter from burning and the butter adds richness to the dish.

11. Cut the ends off onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Pretty much do this for any other food that does not stay stable on the cutting board to make a flat surface. This allows you to have complete control of the item as you chop.

12. When baking, only mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Over-mixing causes toughness by developing gluten in the flour. For light and fluffy cupcakes, only mix until the batter's come together.

13. Your broiler is basically an upside down grill.
Use it for more than storage!

14. Don't forget the power of your nose.
If something in the oven smells done but the timer's still ticking, check on it.

15. Clean as you go.
This simple tip makes a world of difference. Wipe down your cutting board in between items. Not only is it hard to chop something that is swimming in tomato juices, it's unsafe to chop on a wet surface.

TELL US: What's your top tip for cooking like a pro? Share in the comments below!