When it comes to making sweets and desserts, there are so many baking tips and ‘rules’ to remember and keep up with.
While it might be easier to wing it when you are cooking, baking is a whole different ball game. Low carb baking especially requires a few unique methods and has its own special list of rules.
This whole guide is full of some of our best baking tips and will help you make the best low carb and keto-friendly baked goods right at home. We created this guide from our FAQ from readers’ comments and emails. We hope it helps you create wonderful low carb desserts for you and your family.
The Best Baking Tips and Tricks To Make The Perfect Dessert
Today, we will be sharing some of our favorite baking tips and tricks we follow when it comes to making all of our sweet treats and desserts.
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1. Use the right measuring cups for the ingredient required
I see bakers often using dry measuring cups for their liquid ingredients and I can tell you from testing and experience that this is one of the major reasons why recipes tend to fail.
A liquid measuring cup does not allow you to fill and sweep your dry ingredients correctly. This introduces too much of the dry ingredient to the recipe. If that dry ingredient happens to be coconut flour, even a tablespoon extra is too much and will significantly impact the final moisture level.
Conversely, the dry measuring cups are exacting to the very brim but make it difficult to fill to the top without spilling. This usually leads to lower liquid ingredients being introduced to the recipe.
2. Alway Spoon and Sweep Your Dry Ingredients
Spoon and sweep! What does this mean?
North American recipes are usually based on volumes, measured with standardized measuring cups. If you press down into the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, etc., you’ll compress it and end up with too much.
When you fill a measuring cup with spooned ingredients and then sweep off the excess, you get the right amount.
Always spoon and sweep!
2. Always Buy High-Quality Ingredients (When Possible)
If you have the budget and can purchase higher quality ingredients, I would say go for it. Everything down to the type of butter, milk, or sweetener you use can affect your dessert’s flavor and outcome.
We created a low carb bakers pantry list to give you an idea of some of the ingredients and brands we use in our test kitchen.
Our New Favorite Brand For Low Carb Flours and Sweeteners
3. Invest In Really Great Flavour enhancers
We love using bakery emulsions and flavor oils in our low carb baking. Lorann’s makes every flavor under the sun, and a tiny bit can turn any baked good into something spectacular without adding any carbs. They are especially great in fruit-flavored desserts. We can’t recommend them enough.
A few of our personal favorite Lorann’s bakery emulsions and flavor oils are maple, banana, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and cookie butter. <- yes, cookie butter!!!
4. Always (ALWAYS) Sift Your Dry Ingredients
This is actually one of the most important baking tips many low carb bakers tend to skip, but it can actually make or break your low carb baked goods.
Low carb ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, and powdered sweeteners tend to lump. If you do not sift, those lumps will remain present in your final baked goods. When lumps present themselves in the dough, it is easy to over blend to incorporate them. This is why low carb baked goods sometimes turn out heavy and dense.
The second reason why you want to sift all your dry ingredients is air. When we sift, we lighten the ingredients and add a bit of air. This tiny bit of air helps the leavening agents do their job and part of what creates lift and rise in low carb baked goods.
Always sift after measuring out your dry ingredients.
5. Don’t Skip The Xanthan Gum (or other thickeners)
Since there are so many carbs in recipes that use flour (gluten), lots of low-carb and keto recipes use other types of flour such as almond flour. That’s why pretty much all keto-friendly recipes are gluten-free.
Because you are using flours that have zero gluten in them, you need some binder to really hold your baked goods together- and that’s where xanthan gum comes in. It mimics gluten most wonderfully! Xanthan gum holds all the ingredients together and makes the dough gummy and sticky.
If you try to bake without it (or another xanthan gum substitute), your recipe is just going to fall apart.
We have a full guide on Xanthan gum with a list of possible substitutes if you don’t have any on hand.
6. Read Through The Recipe Carefully
I can’t say this enough. ALWAYS read your recipe from start to finish before going out to buy your ingredients. From personal experience, I can tell you what a pain it is when you’ve arrived home and are halfway through the recipe and realize you don’t have all the ingredients you need.
Low carb and gluten-free baking different from traditional baking in many many ways. There are often important steps, tips, or notes that need to be followed to ensure the baked goods come out perfect every time.
I don’t tell you my life story in my blog post (you’re welcome!), but I do give you every single tip and trick I used, so your results mimic mine.
7. Invest In An Oven Thermometer
Even though you set your oven at a certain temperature, it doesn’t always mean that it’s completely accurate. Between the calibration of the oven, altitudes, and simply opening and closing the oven door, the internal temperature of an oven can fluctuate.
I would recommend investing in an oven thermometer and use this baking tool as a temperature reference. It could mean the difference between perfectly moist muffins and dry, overly browned door stops.
We also have a full guide for all the must have tools for the low carb baker.
8. Line Your Baking Pans With Parchment Paper
When prompted, line your baking pans and sheets with parchment paper or with silicone baking mats to make it easier to remove your baked good without sticking or breaking apart.
It also helps avoid a major clean up.
Low carb sweeteners do tend to stick. To prevent ruining your desserts, I highly recommend parchment over greasing pans.
9. Don’t Overwork Your Doughs and batters
Many batters made with almond and coconut flour can result in a very tough dessert if constantly kneaded or overworked. Make sure only to stir or blend the appropriate amount of time.
Over blending will make it difficult for the leavening agents to do their work. If your gluten-free and low carb desserts are not rising, over blending could be the culprit.
10. Use heavy duty pans, or wrap pans in tinfoil
Almond flour, coconut flour, and allulose (to name a few) are ingredients that over-brown very quickly. We use commerical grade heavy-duty pans ( we LOVE USA pans – the best we’ve ever used). When that option is not possible, we wrap our baking pans with a layer of tinfoil.
Placing a loose piece of tin foil over a rapidly browning cake or muffin is a great way to get a golden color on your baked goods without going too far.
Over baked almond flour and coconut flour tend to taste bitter and “off.” Keeping an eye on your baked goods and ensuring they are properly insulated from the heat is a great way to take your low carb baking up a notch.
11. Use Unsalted Butter
Many times, a certain recipe will call for just butter, not specifically salted or unsalted. I know that can be not very clear, but I always tend to grab unsalted butter out of habit.
By not using salted butter, you can actually control how much salt is added into the recipe, and you run less of a risk of the flavor of your baked goods coming out differently than what you are used to.
Unsalted butter is also ever so slightly sweeter.
If you see “butter” in any of my recipes it means unsalted, unless otherwise stated.
12. Keep The Oven Closed
I know. The yummy, sweet smell might be tempting you to take a peek, but do not open that oven door.
Every time you open the oven, an influx of hot air escapes and reduces the oven’s internal temperate. You can also disrupt the baking process in delicate desserts like a souffle or cake.
In low carb baking, our leavening agents need all the help they can get. Nut flours are heavy, dense, and sometimes very difficult to rise. When we open the door during baking, we interrupt the leavening agents’ work (baking powder, baking soda). This can cause a premature drop and a dense, heavy baked dessert.
13. Use Wet Hands or parchment To Work With Sticky Food
If you are working with a particular dough or sticky ingredient, lightly wet your hand to allow you to work with what’s in front of you. That way, you can shape or work with your sticky food!
You can also use a piece of parchment paper as a barrier between your hands and the sticky dough; this works incredibly well.
14. Prep The Pan BEFORE You Make The Recipe
Many times after making a recipe (especially recipes with a leavening agent), there’s a small window of time where you can transfer the dough or batter into a pan and stick it in the oven so that the leavening agent can do its job.
Prepping the pan beforehand can help tremendously!
15. Use Room-Temperature Ingredients
You’ve probably seen in many recipes where they will list room-temperature butter or eggs, right? There’s actually a good reason for this.
Adding cold eggs to warm melted butter in a brownie mix is a good example. Instead of a batter that is smooth and glossy, the batter will be thick and gloppy. Those cold eggs are going to seize up that butter and ruin your recipe.
Bakers Tip: Room Temperature Eggs
16. Mise En Place – Measure all your ingredients before you start baking.
I am a firm believer in mise en place baking. Mise en place means cooking and baking like a pro. It’s a French cooking term that translates to ‘put in place”.
When you measure your ingredients ahead of time and prep, you uncover problems well before you even start baking. When steps in a recipe require quick additions or temperature measurements (like with candy or cooked allulose), having your ingredients ready will ensure that the recipe is perfect.
How many times have you started a recipe only to discover halfway through you are out of cream, butter, or salt! Or the vanilla isn’t where it is supposed to be, and while you hunt your kitchen, your allulose is over-browning, and your egg whites are going flat.
And we all know how expensive low carb ingredients are to buy. It’s absolutely no fun to bake up a cake only to realize you forgot the melted butter in the microwave or forgot to add the vanilla.
The solution – mise en place!
All The Best Gluten-Free Baking Tips + More!
I hope all of these baking tips and tricks help you make the best desserts possible.
We’ve created all kinds of guides to help you navigate your low carb baking adventures. You have FAQ guides for:
- Baking with Almond Flour
- Baking with Coconut Flour
- Guide to Allulose
- The Complete Guide to Erythritol
- Everything you need to know about Monk Fruit Sweetener
Have any tips or tricks of your own that we missed (or don’t even know about!), go ahead and leave us a comment. We love comments and feedback!