Preheat your oven before you mix the ingredients or, for yeast breads, after rising.
Measure liquid ingredients in a glass measure on a flat surface, lining up the markings at eye level.
Measure dry ingredients in a dry measuring cup, leveling the top with a straight-edged blade.
Stir all-purpose flour before measuring. It is not necessary to sift it. Cake flour does need sifting.
Choose your bakeware according to its browning ability. Shiny bakeware reflects heat and slows the browning process, making it ideal for shortbread and soft crust breads. Cookware with a dull finish and glass baking dishes will absorb more heat and brown crusts much more quickly, which is perfect for piecrusts, cookies, coffee cakes, and crusty breads.
When making cutouts, try to get as many biscuits or cookies as you can from the first rolling. Too many rerollings may cause them to become tough and dry.
For yeast breads, use fresh yeast and a thermometer to make sure the heat of the liquid won’t kill the yeast.
Grease muffin cups and baking pans on the bottoms and only halfway up the sides to prevent unwanted rims around the edges of quick breads.
For even baking, bake on one rack of your oven and allow space between baking sheets or dishes for the warm air to circulate.
To avoid soggy sides and bottoms, cool baked foods in the pans only as long as the recipe directs, then transfer the baked goods to a wire rack to finish cooling.