STEP 1. Pre-Read and Re-Read Recipes. Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and the right amounts. Make sure the instructions make sense to you. Make sure you have completed prep steps before you begin.
STEP 2. Mise-En-Place (Everything in its Place). Set out all ingredients, utensils, pans, disposables - i.e. everything indicated in the recipe so that they are accessible and ready to go.
STEP 3. Weigh Ingredients. Get a digital scale and measure ingredients by weight rather than volume. You can go to a website like King Arthur Flour to find out how much weight corresponds to volume for different ingredients.
STEP 4. Baking Temperature and Bake Times. Use an oven thermometer to determine oven temperature, since ovens may vary greatly. Use a toothpick inserted in the center and to the bottom of the pan to test for doneness - if gooey or wet, continue to bake in 2-5 minute increments - most goods are done when a few moist crumbs stick to the pick (a completely clean toothpick may result in baked goods that are too dry).
STEP 5. Keep a Baker's Journal. Because all kinds of factors affect baking, keep a journal to keep track of your efforts - what you did when they turned out good and what you did when they turned out not so good (and what you think you want to change for your next attempt).
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