I LOVE baking! I love eating baked goods. I’ve been trying my hand at baking since I was about three years old. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that there are people who are afraid of baking!
For some reason, baking is one of the least common kitchen skills. Most people will learn to cook with the stove, fry things, and even use the oven to bake lasagnas or potatoes, but not how to bake cakes, cookies, and bread.
A lot of this has to do with how precise baking is. You need to measure out the wet and dry ingredients exactly, and you need to buy a lot of special items that you usually won’t use for other recipes. For example, cream is rarely ever used outside of cakes (unless you’re making some kind of creamy pasta sauce) and it takes a lot of patience and storage area to become a successful baker.
As a result, it can sometimes become a daunting thing to learn and we simply don’t have time for it. After all, if we can just go to a store and buy a cake that would otherwise take a lot of effort and time, why should we bother learning how to bake? Stores and bakeries will do it better than us, and it can be a little harder to learn than other types of cooking.
However, learning to bake is a great way to boost your confidence in the kitchen. As it turns out, the preciseness of baking isn’t absolutely required. Even when something fails you (usually) get something that is still perfectly edible. For example, I once made a chocolate torte for my father. It used whipped egg whites for leavening. However, at the time, I had no idea that there were different sized eggs. My father had purchased medium sized eggs, and when recipes refer to eggs, they assume large eggs. So I didn’t compensate and the resulting torte did not rise. It was tasty — but not light and fluffy as it was supposed to be.
In contrast, if you under or overcook pasta, meat or vegetables, then you usually get an unpleasant texture and a pile of mess that isn’t very nice. Baking also becomes smooth and easy once you get the basics down. You can easily make your own recipes, adjust how sweet something is, and share your creations with friends and loved ones.
So to help you overcome any fear of baking you may have, here are a couple of simple tips, tricks, and pieces of advice.
Practice patience when you start baking
Patience is key when baking. Make sure you give yourself some time to prepare the ingredients and bake because the entire baking process is going to take a long time. And mixing everything will eat up a good chunk of your time and energy. Try to clear your schedule so there’s nothing planned after baking. You don’t want to feel like you’re being rushed and you need to reserve some time to have a second attempt if the first one doesn’t quite go as planned. An empty house is best so that you don’t get family members or roommates staring at you while you work.
Try simple recipes
There are plenty of simple recipes. Some (funnily enough) don’t require baking at all, but they result in delicious cake-like creations. This might seem counter-intuitive since you’re not actually baking, but the idea of making something like a cake and measuring out the exact ingredients is good practice for both your skills and your confidence.
There are also brownies you can make with very few ingredients, and there’s always the option of making an icebox cake if you really want to cut down on cooking effort. Simple recipes are a great way to get something delicious in a short amount of time. The boost of confidence it gives when you share your creations with friends and family is fantastic, and it will go a long way to helping you become more skilled at baking.
Buy the right baking equipment
Equipment in baking is important. You’ll need a variety of tools, such as food processors, mixers, pans, trays and even thermometers. Scales are also incredibly important due to how precise baking can be. You’ll need to measure out exact amounts of ingredients, and nothing accomplishes this as fast as kitchen scales. If you’re baking, you’re also going to need an oven. While most kitchens come equipped with an oven, many people see it as the main wall to overcome when learning how to bake. This is because the oven can get extremely hot or it might be located in a place that isn’t very comfortable to reach due to an injury or disability. This review can give some valuable information about the Wolf Gourmet Countertop oven which is perfect for anyone who wants a more stable, controlled and convenient oven to bake with. It sits on your countertops much like a toaster or a microwave, and it works almost the same way as a regular oven except you won’t need to bend down and kneel on the floor in order to get something in and out of the oven.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I’ll post a list of the basic tools you’ll need when baking.
Follow recipes properly
There’s nothing worse than thinking you know better than the recipe you’re following. At least while you’re learning, don’t substitute any kind of ingredients because you won’t know what you’ll end up with. It’s possible to do it as an experiment, but try your best to stick to a recipe and follow it carefully. Make sure your measurements are accurate, ensure the temperature of your oven is set to the right heat and don’t neglect to re-read important sections in the recipe to ensure you get the best results possible. Do things in the order they are written and pay attention to what the recipe asks for you to do. For example, if the recipe says to save some chocolate, then save that chocolate. If it asks you to mix, then you mix and you don’t fold — there is a difference!
Share your creations
Baking will always create portions that are larger than what a single person can eat — so why not share them? As mentioned before, it’s a fantastic way to boost your confidence and collect feedback on how you did. Some people might not like your creations, others might love them, but the mixed response and feedback you receive (as long as it’s constructive) will go a long way in helping you become a better baker.
Get over your fear of baking and learn to share your creations with people to make them smile. It’s a good source of motivation and it can be a lot of fun.