The Art of Reading a Recipe
Learn how to approach even the most complicated recipes like a pro!
Read recipes like a pro: they are designed to help you out in the kitchen! There is a lot of work that goes into how they are written, so don't be intimidated by unfamiliar terms and procedures. Here are a few tips on how to break down and decode basic baking and cooking recipes.
1 Read the recipe twice.
This first step may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how skipping this step could leave you scrambling for something that you forgot to prep!
Reading through a recipe twice gives you the chance to double check your ingredients if you have them (and enough for the recipe), and will help you organize your prep work. It will also give you an idea of the procedure: many recipes call for split ingredients, like “1 cup and ¼ cup of flour, divided.” 1 cup may be part of the batter while the ¼ cup may be part of the breading process.
2 Note down the prep time and cooking time.
Know if your chicken needs to marinate overnight, if your dough needs to rest for 6 hours, or if your no-bake cheesecake needs 1 hour to set. That way, you will be able to go about your day as productively as planned. Plus, you won’t end up bringing a watery cheesecake to that last-minute potluck party!
3 Take cues from the ingredients list.
More often than not, ingredients are listed according to which ones are used first in the recipe. In a baking recipe, you will notice that the dry ingredients are listed first because they need to be whisked together before being blended into the wet ingredients. Read this recipe as an example:
4 Look out for the comma.
The ingredients list also shows the prep work that you need to do: chop, slice, julienne, trim, sift, beat, and soften, among others. If these instructions are listed after the ingredient, that means that the instructions must be done after the ingredient is measured. To illustrate, "1 cup flour, sifted" means that the flour must be sifted after being measured at 1 cup. In relation to this, "1 cup of sifted flour" means that the sifting must be done before being measured into 1 cup.
5 Be bold and adjust flavors!
Remember that you can adjust a recipe to your personal preference, so feel free to add chilies if you want a touch of spice, or add a couple extra pinches of salt. The more you cook, the more familiar you will be with ingredients and how they react when cooked or baked.
Main image from Pixabay.