Guest Blog – Fabulous Baking Tips!

I am soooo excited to introduce you to someone I admire, and love!  We met back in December during a Chef2Chef twitter chat.  We have since decided we must be sisters somehow, we have so much in common.  The one thing that we truly have in common, we both adore food…..I mean LOVE food, especially bread!

Nelly is a pastry chef, and has an amazing culinary background.  She attended CIA in NY, what a dream opportunity!  So it is such a wonderful honor to have the opportunity to go to her for baking tips.  We have done so many Facebook chats, Twitter chats, and Skype dates helping me learn and grow with baking.

So with out further adieu, here is the lovely Nelly!  She shares her twitter page, and blog page at the end, be sure to follow this beautiful foodie!

Hello Café Terra readers! Today I’m happy to be guest posting for my darling friend Terra and we thought it’d be a good idea for me to share some general baking tips on this post. These are in no way a definite way to do things, but instead they are my experiences and have worked for me. I learned some of them at culinary school, and others were trial and error. Like when I added 2 pounds of baking SODA instead of baking POWDER to a huge batch of biscuits. They baked to be bright orange and tasted awful; now, I will never forget it!

Nella’s Tips & Tricks
When making Pastry Cream:
  • Add half the sugar to your simmering milk. This will allow for easier incorporation and the sugar dissolves with the heat.
  • When whisking your eggs/cornstarch or whatever thickening agent you’re using, make sure there aren’t any lumps. Straining it will result in a silky pastry cream.
  • Some people add butter to their hot milk, but adding butter AFTER the cream is cooked all the way through gives it a silkier mouth feel and nicer shine.
  • Use: fill cakes and cupcakes; cover cakes and sprinkle with nuts; add to whipped cream or Italian meringue; eat as pudding!
When making Pate a Choux:
  • Make sure your milk comes to a full boil before you add your flour. Add your flour and stir ON the heat until a film forms at the bottom of the pan. Turn your heat to low and add flour, keep cooking it. This removes that “floury” flavor and gelatinizes your starch.
  • When I hear people putting their batter in the mixer to “cool off” before adding the eggs, I want to scream. The only thing you are doing is developing that gluten and making your batter tougher. Add your eggs, they won’t cook. Trust me on this.
  • If you need one more egg, add a yolk. It adds color and a little more fat, making it a nicer dough to work with.
  • Can be used to make eclairs, profiteroles, and if sugar isn’t added to the batter, you can make great little appetizers filled with pate, cream cheese or veggies!
Gorgeous Eclairs by Terra on QC Exclusive here


Bread Baking:
  • Have a pan with water in your oven to create steam in it. This develops a crustier loaf!
  • Don’t add all the water/liquid the recipe asks for. Flours vary from place to place, as well as the temperature and humidity in your kitchen. Add water as needed.
  • Not only does salt add flavor, but it controls your yeast from going crazy. Again, trust me. Once witnessed an entire batch of bread go in the oven without salt. Loaves the size of your head!
  • Clean equipment and no yolk residues in the whites. Fat will prevent your whites from rising.
  • I’ve made meringue with cold and room temperature whites. They both work perfectly.
  • Start whipping slow, you’ll get more volume this way.
Cake Baking:
  • Sift your flours and dry ingredients! This incorporates them, aerates the flour and removes anything that could have been hiding in there.
  • Creaming your sugar and butter: soften butter and cream until the mixture is airy and is pale yellow.  If adding eggs, use room temperature eggs as to not break the emulsion.
  • Add flour in one or two steps, as to not over develop the gluten.
Piece of Cake!
If you have any tips and tricks that have worked for you, please share. The more, the merrier!  If you have any questions about these tips just send me a message.

Marnely Rodríguez
follow me on twitter: nella22

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  • Terra, you know I'm here for you for any and all baking tips/random chats we have! Love you sweets!
    • Love you too!!! Thank you for such a helpful, and fun post!!! Hugs:-)
  • [email protected]
     Oh wow, this is great! Thank you soooo much for these wonderful tips!! 
    • I am so glad you enjoyed the tips!  Thank you:-) Hugs!
  • What great tips!
    • I am so glad you enjoyed the tips!!! Hugs, Terra
  • Excellent tips!  I'm off to visit your blog, Nelly.  Wonderful guest post :)  Thanks for the introduction, Terra~
    • Hope you enjoy Nelly's blog, she shares some fabulous recipes, and tips!  Hugs, Terra
  • angela.simon11
    Great tips. I am glad to read the one about the temp of egg whites for meringue. Waiting for room temp is not in my range of patience.  
    • I know I have no patience, so when Nelly shared that tip, I was very happy!  Glad you enjoyed:-) Hugs, Terra
  • Thanks for the great tips Nelly! I'd love to go to cooking school one day.  One day...  And, thanks Terra for having Nelly do a guest post.  You both are pretty wonderful :-)
    • Awww, Love and Hugs EA!!!! So glad you enjoyed!  I know I think I may need to go to Culinary School soon, it is a long time dream that needs to be a reality! Hugs, Terra
  • Great tips! Everything looks absolutely amazing.
    • Thank you so much!!! I am so glad you enjoyed the tips:-)
  • Fantastic post, I'm so glad I found it!  Some I knew, some were good reminders and one I didn't know at all.  Thanks!
    • Oh so excited you enjoyed the tips that were shared by the lovely Nelly!  Thank you so much for stopping by:-) Hugs, Terra
  • Karen Bechman
    What a wonderful choice for a guest post hostess...just came from visiting Marnely @  .  You are two of my favorite blogs and enjoyed both this morning very much.  I think I need a piece of cake and an eclair!
  • Karen Bechman
    What a wonderful choice for a guest post hostess...just came from visiting Marnely @  .  You are two of my favorite blogs and enjoyed both this morning very much.  I think I need a piece of cake and an eclair!
  • Karen Bechman
    What a wonderful choice for a guest post hostess...just came from visiting Marnely @  .  You are two of my favorite blogs and enjoyed both this morning very much.  I think I need a piece of cake and an eclair!
    • Both a piece of cake AND a eclair, that is a true splurge day!  Love love it!  Thank you so much for the kind words:-) Love and hugs, Terra
  • Lora @cakeduchess
    The both of you just rock! This is a fantastic post Nelly!! I'm so happy you did this wonderful guest post for Terra:)
    • Thank you Lora!!! Nelly pretty much rocks!!!! Love and Hugs, Terra
  • Awesome! I'm so glad everyone enjoyed the tips, learned a new one or just remembered a few ones! 
  • It looks so yummy and i know it also does tastes good. Thanks for posting and for sharing your wonderful ingredients and procedure. i know a lot of your viewers tried doing this. Nice post!