Everyone who bakes has the occasional question about it. Yes, even the experts.

We found a list by Claire Saffitz, via Bon Appetit, of some common answers to your baking questions.

Substitutions

This is a common thing for bakers to wonder about. Can I remove this, or add that? Whether for taste or health, inquiring minds want to know. So what about it?

Fats are tricky to substitute. The internet has turned coconut oil into the wonderfat of our generation. But can you use it to bake? The short answer is no.

Any recipe that starts with creaming butter and sugar together—so, most cookies and cakes—rely on the special properties of butter that allow it to be whipped.

You are simply never going to get the cookie results you want, or an acceptable pie crust, with coconut oil.

Also growing in popularity are vegan and gluten-free recipes.

There are all sorts of tips and tricks when it comes to subbing vegan ingredients for eggs and dairy, but it’s tricky to say the least. My best advice is to find an existing vegan or gluten-free recipe from a reliable source and start from there.

Necessities

There are a lot of specialty items and ingredients marketed to bakers, but do you really need to shell out for them? In many cases the answer is no, but there is one you should spring for.

Parchment paper is an essential baking tool because it creates a nonstick surface… It can be a little pricey, but it’s also available in pretty much every baking aisle and is 100% worth it—way better than having a cake that you worked so hard on refuse to come out of the pan.

Quantity

Finally, another common baking question centers around downsizing (or increasing) your recipe. This time the short answer is yes, but it’s a qualified yes. Cutting a recipe in half is generally easy and workable.

Doubling or tripling a recipe can be a little tricky, though, because you can begin to exceed the capacity of a standard mixer.

 

Do YOU have baking questions you need answered? Drop ’em in the comments!