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Perfect Bake review: A novel and high-tech (but not better) way of baking

Michael Brown | Dec. 10, 2014
Baking isn't so complicated that we need a whole new set of tools and methods for doing it, especially when you still need the old tools and methods for more than half of the process anyway.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right
The Perfect Bake can't eliminate the need for other kitchen essentials, such as an electric mixer. But the app's step-by-step process indicator includes a timer that helps ensure you don't under- or over-mix, a second timer that will make sure you don't under or overcook your creations, and a third to ensure you let them cool sufficiently (okay, that one's a little silly). The timer doesn't account for oven features such as convection bake, however, so my cookies came out a little crunchier than I would have preferred. 

Of course, you could just as easily time your workflow by following the instructions in the recipe, and using the timer on your watch or smartphone. The scale does offer an advantage in that it will measure recipes with portions, such as drop cookies, so they come out of the oven baked to the precise temperature. But I had trouble getting the scale and app to work correctly on this step.

The app has a couple of other good features: It's loaded with context-sensitive tips to help newbie bakers. When you're adding small amounts of ingredients, for instance, the app will show you who to dispense them (by pinching granular ingredients, or tapping a spoon instead of pouring right out of the container).

Perfect Bake's best feature is its ability to recalculate quantities of ingredients when you increase or reduce the amount of finished product you want to end up with. If you want to make 60 cookies using a recipe designed for two dozen, it's much easier to have the app scale up the ounces of each dry ingredient you'll need to pour into the bowl than to do the measuring-cup math in your head. The app will also calculate the quantities of wet ingredients you'll need, but you'll still need the traditional tools for doling those out.

Half baked
In the final analysis, Perfect Bake is a solution in search of a problem. Baking isn't that  difficult; humans figured it out before they mastered fire (the earliest bakers would spread their ingredients on a hot rock). If you're afraid of getting the proportions wrong, even the boxed mixes (or pre-made dough, if you're making cookies) will taste better than ready-made treats.

Perfect Bake doesn't make bad baked goods, but using it is no easier than the traditional method. And coming to depend on this system means you'll never really learn how to bake.


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