Cooking is rewarding and challenging; whether you’re a professional or a beginner, everyone makes mistakes in the kitchen, and you may still be making them. You should avoid a few cooking and baking mistakes if you want to advance in the kitchen, from throwing out the pasta water to buying the wrong cuts of meat. Whether it’s overseasoning or overcrowding the pan, you’ve made at least one of these mistakes. Below are some common cooking mistakes to avoid.
1. Overcrowding The Pan
A crowded pan is a surefire recipe for soggy disaster. While it may be tempting to pile as many vegetables as possible onto a single sheet tray, it will increase moisture — and food will steam rather than brown. Allow your ingredients to breathe when roasting, pan-fry, sautéing, or pan-searing. This allows them to turn a perfect golden brown.
2. One Undersalts The Water
When you add pasta to boiling water, it will absorb some water as it cooks. The food will be bland if the water is not salted. However, if you do, it will be seasoned from within, which is a sure way to achieve pasta greatness. If you’re wondering how much salt to put in your water, the answer is: a lot more than you think! Italians will tell you that it should be “as salty as the sea,” While that’s a charming exaggeration, it’s not far off the mark. The majority of the salt you add will be lost in the water, so be generous to ensure some of it gets into the pasta.
3. Using The Wrong Oil
Experiment with different oils other than extra virgin olive oil. Many things can be cooked with extra virgin olive oil, but not all. If you’re cooking something that requires a lot of heat, you should use a different oil because EVOO has a low smoke point, which means it starts to burn at a low temperature.
4. Cooking Meat That’s Not At Room Temperature
Allow your meat to rest before cooking it. Meat that has been allowed to come to room temperature will cook more evenly than refrigerated meat. Allow meat to warm up for about 30 minutes before cooking to ensure that all parts of it cook thoroughly.
5. Not Prepping Ingredients
As you gain experience in the kitchen, you will learn to multitask to mince fresh herbs while the chopped onions brown. However, if you’re still getting your kitchen sea legs, make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. In French, this is known as mis en place, which means “everything in its place.” When the recipe says to “add onions, garlic, and oregano to the pan,” the onions are chopped and the garlic minced, and the oregano leaves are removed from the stems before cooking.
6. Fiddling With Food As It Cooks
Many people feel the need to poke, stir, and flip far too soon. Allow the meat to char on the grill before attempting to reverse it. Allow your broccoli to sear in the pan before tossing.” Food will only brown and caramelize if exposed to direct heat for an extended period.
7. Cutting Your Veggies Unevenly
Some smaller pieces will become overcooked when you cut your vegetables unevenly, leaving them soggy and flavourless. Those vegetables should be trimmed regularly! If your precision is lacking, consider using a vegetable slicer or dicer.
8. Not Fully Preheating The Pan Before Adding Ingredients
It is always best to preheat your pan before adding your ingredients. If you’re searing a piece of meat, for example, putting it in a lukewarm pan will ruin it and prevent you from getting an even sear. (This may also cause your meat to stick to the pan.) A hot pan also aids in forced evaporation: some of their moisture evaporates when you add vegetables to a pan. If the pan is hot enough, it will evaporate; if not, it will remain in the pan and steam the vegetables you would stir-fry.
9. Using Dull Knives
A sharp knife is more efficient as well as safer to use. You may be intimidated by a sharp blade, but using a dull knife requires you to use more force, which can lead to slipping and cutting yourself. It would help if you ideally honed your knife at least once a week. This maintains the blade’s straightness without dulling it, but it does not sharpen it. It would help if you sharpened your knife every few months with a whetstone or a knife sharpener. You should have it professionally pointed once a year for the best results.
10. Boiling When It Should Be Simmering
Simmering and boiling are not the same things. Simmering and boiling are not the same things. If a recipe says to let your Bolognese sauce simmer, that means only one or two bubbles should appear from time to time. On the other hand, Boiling results in a lot more bubbles appearing a lot more frequently.
11. Not Reading The Recipe Thoroughly
Before cooking, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Whether you’re making something for the first or fifth time, it’s always a good idea to read the recipe thoroughly, so you know what you’re doing when it comes time to cook. Read it before you even go to the grocery store; that way, you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into and won’t be in the middle of cooking only to discover that you’re missing a key ingredient or need to marinate something for a few hours.
12. Not CookingThe Hard-Boiled Eggs For The Right Amount Of Time
When it comes to boiled eggs, timing is everything. Nobody enjoys a hardboiled egg that is either too hard and dry or too soft and liquidy. Before you begin boiling, decide whether you want soft or hard-boiled eggs. Try cooking for six minutes if you want it smooth. Try nine minutes if you want something challenging.
Remember to account for “carry-over cooking,” which occurs when you remove food from the heat, and it continues to cook. Because meat’s internal temperature rises even after removing it from a hot pan, carry-over cooking is frequently discussed. Pork chops can range from perfectly cooked and juicy to dry and tough. However, carry-over cooking applies to a wide range of foods, including baked goods and vegetables. Roasted asparagus that comes out of the oven tender can become too soft after a few minutes, so remove it a few minutes before it’s done.
14. Getting Distracted
Don’t let yourself be distracted. Don’t check your email, help your child with homework, or read the news. The distraction causes the pine nuts to burn, the butter to blacken, the caramel to harden, the chicken to dry out, and the meal to be ruined.
15. Not Drying The Greens Before Sautéing Them
When you put your greens in the pan, they should be dry. Excess water on greens or vegetables (such as mushrooms) when cooking oil in a pan is not good. Aside from splattering everywhere, water creates steam, which results in soggy vegetables.
16. Not Using An Oven Thermometer
You should always be aware of the actual temperature of your oven. Unfortunately, not every oven is as dependable as you would like it to be, which means that the temperature your oven indicates isn’t always the actual temperature. On the other hand, an oven thermometer is much less likely to show an incorrect temperature.
17. Skimping On Oil
Many recipes will instruct you to use a small amount of oil. Sautéing or searing food in a too-dry skillet, on the other hand, results in dry, scorched food that frequently sticks to the pan. Begin with a tablespoon of oil, or however much the recipe specifies, or you believe is required. However, keep an eye on the pan. As you go, make adjustments. If you’re concerned about the food being too greasy, drain it on a plate lined with paper towels before serving.
18. Putting Lots Of Hot Food Directly Into A Cold Fridge
If you leave warm food out at room temperature for an extended period (more than two hours), bacteria may begin to grow. However, putting hot food in the fridge right away can raise the refrigerator’s temperature, putting other food at risk. To avoid this, store your warm-but-not-hot food in small, airtight containers and leave room in the fridge for them. That will let air properly circulate and cool the food down faster.
19. Opening The Door Of The Oven While The Cake Is Baking
As crucial as preheating the oven before baking a cake is not opening the oven door while the cake is inside. Otherwise, you will allow cooler air to enter, which may halt the rising process and prevent your cake from reaching its full potential. If you must look, turn on the interior oven light and peer through the clear window in the oven door, if one is available. (Alternatively, if you don’t, be extra patient.) You can open the door to check if the cake is done when the baking time is up, but not before.
20. Rolling The Pizza Dough
If you roll your pizza dough with a rolling pin, it can crush the air pockets in the dough, preventing it from rising when baked. When pizza makers hand toss pizza, they aren’t just acting! Stretching and tossing the dough with your hands will result in the fluffy, bubbly crust you expect from your pizza.