Step 7: Bake Gingerbread
Just about everything deforms when you bake it. After all the work cutting pieces and impressing designs in them, we want to try to minimize the puffy swelling that happens in the oven. First, I specify letting your cut & molded gingerbread pieces dry overnight. This helps set the surface texture up, so that we’ll see more of it after baking. Then when the pieces actually go in the oven, you’ll want to cook them at a very low heat (I used 250°F) with the oven door propped open with a wooden spoon. All this results in drying the gingerbread and cooking it very slowly. It will likely take an hour until your gingerbread is done (maybe longer depending on altitude, moisture, thickness…) Just keep checking it every 15 minutes or so, and eventually you will see it turn a slightly darker shade of brown. If you touch the surface of a piece, it will feel mostly firm, and your fingers will not easily leave an indentation. Try to group your gingerbread pieces with other pieces that are a similar size. Smaller and thinner pieces will bake more quickly, and it will be easier to remove a whole sheet of small pieces together. Let all gingerbread pieces cool completely before assembling.