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13 Common Baking Mistakes and How to Undo Them

13 Common Baking Mistakes and How to Undo Them

How to fix almost all of the mistakes you may not have known you were making while baking

Have a better baking experience by avoiding these common baking errors.

All too often, a fun weekend baking project turns into a stressful battle in the kitchen. There are some easily avoided mistakes we can help you correct so you can make baking a more productive and enjoyable activity. Fix these common errors and you'll notice a huge improvement in your baked goods.

Click here for 13 Common Baking Mistakes and How to Undo Them slideshow.

Set yourself up for success and pick recipes from a trusted source; a shoddy recipe will waste your time and money. The most important step in any baking project is reading the recipe all the way through. Not only will you figure out which ingredients you need to buy ahead of time, you’ll also be able to plan for any extended periods of down time, such as might be required for resting dough or letting it rise.

Once you’ve gone through the trouble of finding the recipe and reading through the whole thing, it’s essential to follow the proportions. Baking is a science, and throwing off one ratio can lead to burnt cookies or flat, dense muffins. This means no doubling recipes for baked goods or substituting baking soda for baking powder (among other substitutions) without researching first to make sure it won’t negatively affect the end product.

Although having too many gadgets in the kitchen can be a poor use of space, some kitchen tools are necessary. Every new baker should have a few essentials, like a digital scale, a sheet pan, and aspatula. Another important tool for baking is a candy thermometer, which is useful for frying as well as desserts. You can work your way around missing tools though; for example, a wine bottle can be used in place of a rolling pin.

Once you’ve mastered the basics you can move onto more advanced techniques like cookie decorating, but after correcting these easily-fixable mistakes, the only way to learn is to just keep baking.

Story originally published on September 18, 2014.


6 Major Mistakes You&rsquore Making When Baking Bread, According to One of the World's Top Experts

Among all the pastimes that have dominated during the pandemic—Zoom happy hours, puzzling, dance parties in your PJs (TikTok or it didn’t happen), guzzling wine, adopting pets, scrubbing your shower doors until they sparkle�king bread from scratch is arguably the most popular.

At first, it seemed like the goal was to make a homemade version of a grocery store staple that many families rely heavily upon so we wouldn’t have to run back to the supermarket constantly. But now I see that America’s obsession with bread baking goes deeper. It encompasses the 𠇏our C’s” of quarantine sanity: creativity, community, comfort, and carbs. Sourdough starter requires just two ingredients but endless amounts of time and attention? Sold. Perfect. What could be better.

But if you’ve attempted baking bread at home this month and find that it’s still not as good as your local bakery, it could be because you’re making one of these common missteps. Here are six of the biggest mistakes people make when baking bread from scratch and how to solve them. All is according to two of the world’s foremost experts on the matter: Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, authors of Modernist Bread, a 2,642-page celebration of bread-making that includes over four years of nonstop research, photography, experiments, writing, and (yes) baking.


The 11 Most Common Mistakes People Make Cooking a Ham - And How to Prevent Them

There’s no flavor more emblematic of the comforts of a homemade holiday meal than that of a baked ham, ideally cooked to glistening glazed perfection and served in warm, juicy slices. However, though turkey typically gets a reputation for the hardest protein to cook during the holidays, it can be just as hard to bake a whole ham that lives up to its dreamy expectations.

Ham, which is the hind leg of a pig that’s been cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, nitrates, and smoke, can be a tricky cut of meat to perfect. Due to its size and pre-cooked nature—the vast majority of store-bought hams have been cured and cooked in some way before heading home with you—it can be difficult to not overcook and dry out this touchy dish.

By following these tips and tricks, we’ll help you get on the path towards the ultimate whole ham that will fulfill all of your holiday fantasies with minimal kitchen-induced stress and anxiety.

Buying the Wrong Kind of Ham

Sadly, not all hams are created equal, and it’s important to pay attention to which kind of ham you select for your meal. In a nutshell, there are two main types of ham available to purchase: country hams and city hams (check out our full breakdown of both). For holiday dinner purposes, you’ll want a city ham, which are typically submerged in a saltwater mixture, pre-cooked, and ready to be transformed into an epic goldencbrown creation.

In addition to the type of ham, we𠆝 also recommend putting thought into the quality of the meat you’re purchasing. For every delectable, high quality there are two bland options, so take the time and money to find one that’s worth being your holiday dinner headliner. Call your local butcher to order a great bone-in ham, or order one online.

Going Boneless&mdashor Artificially Treated

While a bone-free ham might be tempting for its ease of slicing, getting a ham that’s bone-in or only partially deboned will help with not only the flavor and moistness of your ham in the long run, but also your ease of cooking. The bone will help guide your thermometer to the proper spot while testing the meat’s temperature, and as a bonus can be used to lend extra depth of flavor to soups and stews long after the last of your ham has been gobbled up.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for hams that have been artificially plumped. While high-quality hams have been submerged in a curing saltwater solution, cheaper hams can be injected with salt water and other artificial flavors in order to save time and money. Make sure to check the label to guarantee the only ingredient listed is “ham,” which rules out any artificial meddling.

Not Lining Your Pan

For the benefit of your own post-meal clean up, be sure to line your ham pan with a heavy-duty foil before baking. Skipping this step will all but guarantee your glaze to harden into a seemingly impenetrable shell on your pan, which will require some major elbow grease to get rid of.

Cooking It Cold

For the best end result possible, you don’t want to shock your ham by transferring it straight from the fridge into the oven, which can be a jarring temperature change. Instead, bring the ham to room temperature before baking, ensuring all of the meat will be evenly cooked once it heads into the oven. This can be done by setting the pork on the counter for about an hour prior to cooking.

Drowning Your Ham

Though it might seem instinctual to add as much moisture to your ham as possible before and during the cooking process to ensure it won’t turn out dry, this can ultimately be a deterrent to the perfect ham. Rather than pre-bathing the ham, or basting it throughout the cooking process, add a half cup of stock, wine, or water to the bottom of the pan while it’s cooking, which will infuse moisture into the meat throughout the baking process. Make sure to cover the ham with foil while cooking to lock in some of that moisture, only removing it when you’re ready to move on to the glazing process.

Forgetting to Score the Skin

By scoring the skin of the ham𠅊ka cutting slightly into the skin in a crisscross pattern across the entire surface—you allow both the fat to render out and the glaze to seep into the inner meat, rather than just the outer skin. While this step will add a little extra time to your cooking process, it’ll be more than worth it in the end.

Using That Glaze Packet

While using the packet of pre-made glaze that commonly comes with a spiral cut ham is tempting when you’re running short on time, taking a few minutes to create your own glaze is the easiest way to take your ham to the next level. We𠆝 recommend a classic brown sugar glaze for the epitome of a sweet and savory experience.

Glazing Too Early

Once you’ve perfected your homemade glaze, you’ll probably be jumping at the prospect of smothering your ham in it and letting it bake to a glistening brown. However, jumping the gun on the glazing can result in a slightly burnt skin that misses the nuances of the sauce’s flavors. Brush on the glaze just 20-30 minutes before your ham is scheduled to be done to make sure you don’t overcook it.

Sticking to One Too-High Temperature

Hams are at their best when given the extra time to cook low, slow, and at an even temperature. While many recipes might call for a 375-degree or higher oven, by cooking the ham for longer at a lower temperature�tween 300-325—the result will be a more flavorful cut of meat that isn’t dried out.

After this patient cooking process, once your glaze has been added we𠆝 recommend cranking up the heat temporarily. This will help your glaze caramelize, creating that delectable outer shell. Once the glaze is on, turn your oven up to 450 degrees and watch your ham carefully, reducing the temperature once you see the glaze start to harden.

Not Measuring the Temperature Correctly

In order to properly test the temperature of your ham, you’ll want to get your meat thermometer close to the bone to ensure you’re getting a reading from one of the deepest points of the meat. While a ham is generally considered done when it reaches 145 degrees, make sure to remove it from the oven before it hits this final temperature. Since your ham will continue cooking slightly on the countertop, removing it from the oven at 135 or 140 degrees will guarantee your meat won’t end up overcooked and dry.

Not Letting It Rest

As with most meats, ham needs to have a proper nap before it can be enjoyed in its peak form. By letting your dinner’s main event rest for about 20 minutes, you’ll allow all of those internal juices to soak into the meat, resulting in a moister, more succulent experience. Trust us, it’s worth the wait.

Ready to put these tips to the test and create your best holiday ham ever? Start with this simple and effective Simple Baked Ham recipe, and then learn the easiest way to slice it and some tips for getting creative with all those leftovers.


Forgetting about parchment paper

Parchment paper is your best baking companion. Treated for use in the oven, this type of paper is resistant to grease and moisture. In order to prevent deep and painful cake removal scenarios in your kitchen, be sure to line the bottom of your cake pan with parchment paper. Doing so will allow your cake to easily release from the pan without breaking into pieces. You can find parchment in most grocery stores sold in rolls, sheets, or pre-cut to fit round cake pans.


Mistake: Not letting the batter rest.

Shutterstock

It's understandable that you'd want to get cooking as soon as the mix settles, but in this case, it doesn't pay to work quickly.

How to fix it: Before you start flipping your flapjacks, you should let the batter rest for at least 20 minutes, covered and at room temperature, says food blogger Jim Mumford, a former nuclear engineer who runs the site Jim Cooks Good Food. Gluten gets tougher as the batter gets cold, so you don't want it chilling in the fridge.


12 Common Cake-Baking Mistakes, And How To Fix Them

Baking isn't very forgiving -- especially when it comes to cakes. Everything must be just right to bake the perfect cake: the proportions should be measured to a tea, the temperature needs to be spot on and the steps rigidly followed. Getting just one thing wrong when baking cakes can often lead to sad mishaps, like a burnt, collapsed cake that doesn't want to come out of the pan. We're here to help.

The best instructions anyone can have when it comes to cake baking is a great recipe -- we have 100 awesome ones to choose from. If you follow one that's well written, you're bound to get good results. But no matter how great your recipe is, if you're skipping some of the small, yet crucially important steps you might end up with failure. There are 12 common mistakes people make when baking cakes, we've listed them out for you so you can change the error of your ways -- and bake better cakes.


12 of the most common cake baking mistakes fixed

From opening the oven door too early to using out-of-date ingredients, there are plenty of reasons why a beautiful cake can become a sunken disappointment.

The Good Housekeeping Cookery Team has identified some of your most common pitfalls when it comes to cake making, so you should get the perfect rise every time.

You&rsquore not measuring your ingredients accurately

Too much flour or sugar can have a bigger negative effect on the finished product than you&rsquod believe.

Follow the exact weights given in a recipe and don&rsquot use cheap analogue scales that are hard to read. Digital scales that weigh in 1g increments are your best friend when baking.

Use calibrated measuring spoons rather than cutlery spoons. The latter isn&rsquot a standard size and vary hugely in their capacity. We like the Tala Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon.

You&rsquore substituting or adding extra ingredients

Unless you&rsquore a truly seasoned baker, don&rsquot be tempted to substitute one ingredient for another.

Oil and butter are both fats, but they don&rsquot work in the same way (oil makes denser, moister cakes than butter) and you can&rsquot substitute them gram for gram, either.

The type of sugar matters, too. If a recipe states caster sugar and you only have granulated, you&rsquoll end up with a crunchy, speckled sponge with a denser texture.

Your raising agents are out-of-date

If you use baking powder past its sell-by date, your cakes won&rsquot reach the dizzying heights they could have.

To check your baking powder hasn&rsquot lost its mojo, mix 1tsp into 4tbsp of hot water and see if it bubbles up immediately.

You&rsquore not following the method properly

If a recipe says beat eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes, or to wait for butter to cool before adding it to a mixture, then there&rsquos generally a scientific reason why, and doing otherwise will result in a flop.

Follow the method to the letter.

You don&rsquot know the difference between creaming, beating and folding

Creaming:

  • Creaming is mixing butter and sugar together until it reaches the consistency desired by your recipe (usually &lsquountil pale and fluffy&rsquo) and is most effectively done using an electric whisk for a good few minutes.
  • It traps air into the creamed mixture &ndash the more you trap, the finer the texture of your cake.
  • For an ethereally light sponge, try creaming the butter and sugar until the mixture is nearly white.

Beating:

  • Beating refers to the process of adding eggs to the creamed sugar and fat. The best way to do this is to beat all your eggs in a jug first, then pour them into the bowl a little at a time, so the mixture doesn&rsquot curdle.
  • Again, an electric whisk works best here. You&rsquore trying to incorporate and keep as much air in the batter as you can.

Folding

  • Folding in flour and dry ingredients preserves all the precious air you&rsquove created in the cake batter so it rises as high as possible.
  • Don&rsquot use a wooden spoon or electric whisk to do this, and try not to be heavy-handed, otherwise, you&rsquoll knock the air out.
  • If you&rsquore too vigorous, you&rsquoll also make the texture of your cake tough. Instead, use a spatula in a gentle, slow and deliberate figure-of-eight motion, finishing with scrape around the edge of the bowl. Repeat this action until you can&rsquot see any more flour, but don&rsquot be tempted to over-mix.

Your ingredients aren&rsquot at room temperature

Butter that&rsquos too cold won&rsquot cream properly and eggs that are straight from the fridge will make a mixture curdle, resulting in a coarse-textured, greasy cake that doesn&rsquot have a good rise.

Plan ahead and have everything out at room temperature for a few hours before you start baking.

If you&rsquore tight for time, try these simple hacks: pop the uncracked eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for a few mins to take off the chill, and put the butter in the microwave for short 20 seconds bursts on the defrost setting to soften it without melting it.

You&rsquore not preparing your cake tin sufficiently

Different types of cake use different lining methods, normally outlined in your chosen recipe, so make sure you follow the instructions when given.

For a standard Victoria sponge, lightly grease the base and sides of the tin with butter or oil, and put a circle of baking parchment or greaseproof paper in the bottom that fits the base of the tin exactly. Use a good quality tin, like the Kitchen Craft Non-Stick Cake Tin.

You only need to line the sides of the tin for fruit cakes, deep sponges baked for celebration cakes or square bakes such as brownies.

If your sponge cakes seem to always have a dark, crunchy edge, then it&rsquos likely you&rsquore greasing the tin too generously.

You&rsquore using the wrong size tin

We&rsquove all been there. You find a cake recipe that sounds amazing, but you don&rsquot have the right size tin.

Think twice about using whatever you do have to hand. The size of the tin affects the cooking time and how thick or thin the sponge turns out.

Too small and your cake might burn at the top or overflow out of the pan, while still being a raw mess in the middle.

Choose one too big and it could end up a thin, dry pancake. Use the tin size stated in the recipe.

Your oven is the wrong temperature

All ovens vary to a degree, which is why a lot of baking times are approximate.

If your oven runs too hot or too cold, you may find that the cooking times are consistently too short or too long, respectively.

Invest in a reliable oven thermometer to check, like the Heston Blumenthal by Salter Oven Thermometer.

If you have a fan oven, most recipes will give you a slightly lower temperature to use, to account for the fact that these ovens run hotter.

If you have a gas or a conventional oven, cakes are best baked on the middle shelf, as the temperature of each shelf position varies (this is not the case with fan ovens, which have an even heat throughout). Get to know your oven and make sure you use the correct temperature for its make.

You&rsquore opening the oven door too soon

Curiosity killed the cake. Open the door too early and you run the risk of having a cake with a permanently sunken middle.

It&rsquos a good idea to let at least 3/4 of the cooking time pass before even thinking about opening the oven. If you find your cake isn&rsquot cooked, don&rsquot keep opening the door every minute to check &ndash doing this makes the oven lose heat and lengthens the cooking time with each occurrence.

Wait at least another 5-10min, depending on how close you believe it is to being done.

Conversely, if your cake seems to be browning too quickly while still raw in the middle, cover the top of the tin with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

You&rsquore taking too long to put the cake in the oven

Cakes that don&rsquot rise properly or have a surface covered in little holes are often the result of not getting the cake into the oven quickly enough a common mistake that happens because you forgot to turn the oven on before you started, or you get distracted with something else mid-way through mixing.

Once the raising agents in the batter are activated and start to bubble up (usually when the baking powder or self-raising flour gets added to the liquid mixture), you need to capitalise on this chemical reaction quickly so that the heat of the oven can set the air bubbles in place before they pass.

Make sure your tin is prepared, the oven is preheated and all your ingredients are out before you begin baking.

You&rsquore not using a reliable recipe

The internet is packed to the rafters with recipes. Odds are, picking one from a website you&rsquove never heard of before may mean that you were doomed to fail before you even opened your kitchen cupboard because it was never going to work.

Good Housekeeping recipes are all Triple-Tested, so you can rest assured that the delectable creation you&rsquore about to whip up will be a roaring success.


9. PROBLEM: Your melted chocolate turns out dry and clumpy.

SOLUTION: Chocolate that has lumped together in a crumbly, dress mess has seized — which is just a fancy term for chocolate that has come into contact with water. (Because melted chocolate + water do not mix.) To prevent this, make sure you start with dry tools and try your absolute best to prevent any water droplets from splashing into the chocolate. If you do end up with seized chocolate, add one tablespoon of boiling water at a time until it smooths back out. (Which sounds counterintuitive, but actually works. You just won't be able to temper it or use it for coating, but it'll be good enough for most baking projects.)

Note: Chocolate that has overheated and burned can also clump up and look dry. Unfortunately, at that point there is not much you can do with it. To prevent that in the future, make sure to melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 10-second increments.


13 Kitchen Organizing Mistakes — And the Easy Way to Fix 'Em

These small but clever tweaks could totally change your kitchen routine for the better.

Little Changes, Big Results

So much of what goes on in your kitchen takes place on autopilot. After unpacking on move-in day, most of us never give another minute&rsquos thought to where we stash the silverware or how we arrange the spices. But of course, often it&rsquos the smallest tweaks that can make the biggest improvements. We asked professional organizers for their easiest yet most brilliant kitchen habits and hacks to make your space work harder.

Store Spices Smarter

The mistake: The spice jars are stacked, stuffed and spun every which way, making it impossible to find what you&rsquore looking for fast. And how long they&rsquove been languishing in the cabinet is anyone&rsquos guess.

The fix: Skip the cabinet altogether, says Amelia Meena of Appleshine Organization + Design. Instead, stand up spices in a drawer and label the tops of the lids, making it a snap to look down and find the oregano. Bonus points for dating the bottom of the jars too take a peek every few uses, and toss and replace spices after about a year for optimal flavor.

Leverage Leftovers

The mistake: It&rsquos always a bit dodgy to eat the leftovers in the fridge because no one can remember how old they are.

The fix: Use a dry-erase marker to write the date on your clear glass leftover containers &mdash you don't even need tape. The marker washes right off in the dishwasher, and you can get a magnetic marker that sticks to the fridge. "Our family has been writing on clear glass leftover containers for the last year, and it&rsquos been great," says MaryJo Monroe of Portland, Oregon-based reSPACEd. "The dry, cold atmosphere of the fridge sets the ink, making it harder to smear without deliberate force." And glass containers are also handy because they save you the step of transferring leftovers onto a plate for reheating.

Keep 'Em Separated

The mistake: You store your rimmed baking sheets with your baking equipment.

The fix: "Baking sheets aren&rsquot really for baking &mdash they&rsquore for roasting veggies, toasting nuts, baking fish and chicken &mdash and you probably use them a lot," says Emily Fleischaker, founder of KitchenFly, an in-home kitchen organization service. "But they&rsquore often stored with cake pans, muffin tins, pie plates, and other things you use less frequently that come in tons of specialty sizes and shapes. This is the definition of clutter! Liberate your rimmed baking sheets and give them better real estate than all your other baking equipment. Stacked is fine. On their side is fine. What&rsquos important is to give them their own dedicated space." To make them easy to access, Fleischaker likes to keep them in a waist-height cabinet or even a drawer near the stove. If you've got the space, a basic sturdy rack (like this one) can help keep things even tidier, and your sheet pans can slide easily next to your other weeknight workhorses like skillets and cutting boards.

Try to Improvise

The mistake: You assume that you need a fancy organizing system to start getting your kitchen in order.

The fix: You likely already have the tools to start straightening up (and keeping your cookware in lasting condition). Even ordinary household items can make for greater organization. File separators (from an office supply store) or thin metal bookends work well in a pantry or deep drawer. And you can spare your pots and pans from scratches by slipping paper plates between the larger ones and coffee filters or paper dessert plates between the smaller ones.

Organize Your Oils

The mistake: Oils and vinegars drip into your cupboards, making shelves a slippery, sticky mess.

The fix: A shallow plastic tray, plate or cutting board inside your cabinet can hold all those messy bottles, and you can easily run it through the dishwasher when things get too greasy, says Monroe. Just be sure to set it up away from the stove or the top of the refrigerator &mdash the warmth radiating from your appliances can quickly turn oils rancid.

Shelve Staples

The mistake: Your favorite kitchen shelf is working overtime. It&rsquos overcrowded, messy-looking, and even a little bit of a safety hazard.

The fix: Take the guesswork out of finding your most-often-used items by corralling them together within the tiny walls of a tray, suggests organizing coach Maeve Richmond. Trays are handy because you can pick them up and move them around the kitchen, from shelf to countertop to table: "I have a tray under my tea supplies up on a shelf," Richmond says. "It&rsquos light enough that I can easily pull it down, and it frees up lower shelves for heavier, more often used items. I also place a tray under all my mugs because it creates a divider between them and the plates on the other half of the shelf."

Hook It Up

The mistake: You overlook cabinet doors as potential storage space.

The fix: Reclaim that unused space with hooks! Lisa Zaslow of Gotham Organizers swears by 3M Command Hooks to hold oven mitts, potholders, dish towels, measuring spoons, cutting boards, mixer attachments and other frequently-used items that can clutter a drawer infuriatingly.

Test Your Tools

The mistake: You've got a drawer or crock crammed full of utensils, from those used once a year to those used every day.

The fix: "I have my clients put an empty shoe box or coffee can on the kitchen counter," says organizer Cheryl Smith of Consider It Done. "After they&rsquove used and washed a utensil, they place it in the box. In a few weeks, you&rsquove collected the utensils that serve your needs on a regular basis." All the rest can be stored away for special-occasion use. So you'll always have what you need within easy reach, and clutter won't block your access &mdash and you'll eliminate time spent rummaging through three different places looking for the peeler.

Put Lazy Susans to Work

The mistake: You routinely lose condiments in the depths of your refrigerator. There are too many containers in the way, hindering your efforts to access what you need &mdash or even to know what you have.

The fix: Who says you can&rsquot organize the fridge like any other cabinet? Add a lazy Susan to the rear of a lower shelf where infrequently-used items dwell, suggests organizer Deb Baida of Liberated Spaces. Even if you store more frequently used items in front of the spinner, moving one thing and rotating your way through all that&rsquos behind it is a snap. You&rsquore less likely to forget about that gourmet chutney or lose a tiny tube of almond paste this way, too.

Streamline That Pantry

The mistake: You keep snacks in their original cardboard boxes, even when there&rsquos only one left.

The fix: Dump all prepackaged snacks into open-top bins, says Meena. Ideally, multiple boxes of the same size would be most helpful &mdash one for bars, one for snack packs, one for fruit cups, etc. When space is limited, however, one larger box for all snacks may have to do. For aesthetics, choose pretty containers or wrap each box in nice paper and label them. Keep replenishing your system and recycling the store packages.

Add Height

The mistake: You don't utilize the full height of your cabinet shelves.

The fix: Double up on dish and glassware capacity by placing a simple wire shelf inside your cabinet to max out the space you've got, suggests Clutter Cowgirl Jeni Aron. These lightweight, moveable shelves keep your storage system flexible, but leave no spot under-used. Use the shelves in your pantry, too, to create more usable space while avoiding precarious stacking. And don&rsquot forget that cabinet shelves themselves may be adjustable customize to your height needs by repositioning the pegs (call the manufacturer for more if necessary).

End Paperwork Pile-Ups

The mistake: Somehow all the mail always ends up in the kitchen, whether or not there&rsquos a desk in there.

The fix: "As the kitchen is the heart of the home, it can also be the place where clutter gathers," says organizer Mary Carlomagno. "Maintain kitchen space for cooking and dining at all costs. Designate a separate space in your home for bill-paying, mail and kid-related work so that your kitchen can stay tidy."

Don't have an office space? Don't worry &mdash you'll be surprised how much of a difference even a single mail organizer can make. Regular sorting is the only way to prevent a backlog. "Think of it like brushing your teeth or any other routine: It has to be done daily," says Carlomagno. "I like to do it immediately when the mail comes in. Adopting this habit will make you more familiar with your items and more likely to act on them because they&rsquore front-of-mind." Clutter comes from delaying decisions, so the minute the mail comes inside, decide what to keep. If you know you&rsquore not going to need certain things like newspapers, ads and catalogs, let them go lickety-split.

Contain Yourself

The mistake: You can never find the right lids for your plastic storage containers because you&rsquove got a plethora of random pieces scattered in a drawer or cabinet.

The fix: Stick to one brand of storage containers &mdash in fact, treat yourself to a nice, new matching set. Lids and containers by the same brand will neatly stack within one another &mdash a sanity-saving maneuver totally worth the investment. Go a step further and store all those matching lids in a magazine holder, says small space expert Sarah Karakaian of Nestrs &mdash they have a thin profile and stand upright, streamlining and maximizing cabinet space.


Subbing in the Wrong Ingredients

We’ve already covered that coconut cream can’t be subbed for coconut milk or that coconut flour is a tricky flour to substitute because of its over-absorbent ingredients. However, the same goes with trying to sub in gluten-free flours for other wheat flours on a one-to-one ratio. While this may sound like a tempting solution to transform a non-Paleo recipe into a gluten-free version, most grain-free flours need to be balanced with other binders, moisture, and textures. (You can check out common flour replacement ratios here.)

But there are other substitutions you should be wary of in Paleo baking, too. Take, for example, dark chocolate and cacao powder. While it’s obvious that you can’t use cacao powder in place of solid chunks of dark chocolate, you also can’t add cacao powder to a recipe in place of melted dark chocolate – not without a few tweaks, anyhow.

Cacao powder alters the moisture content of a recipe when used on its own, but when mixed with a bit of melted coconut oil or grass-fed butter, it can mimic the effect of melted chocolate. Always include one of these melted fats when attempting this kind of substitution.