You too can be a great home baker, bringing baking delight to your family and friends over hot cinnamon rolls, artisan bread, pumpkin pies, apple cakes and chocolate chip cookies. Baking for beginners can be successful and with the tips that we have shared. You will be able to have your own bake off at home, right in your own kitchen.
So turn off ‘The Great British Bake Off’ on BBC and turn on your oven. Remember, the faster you bake, the faster you get to eat all of those scrumptious bakes. So get ready to give up store brought bread, muffins, scones and cake mix. Because once you taste your homemade treats, you won't ever want to go back.
Benefits Of Baking
When you bake foods, they are full of flavour and engage all of our senses from the preparation to the eating. Even the complete beginner can create yummy foods that anyone would be proud of. As well as filling your belly baking can help you improve your social life, boost your self-esteem and improve your health.
Some Of The Benefits Of Baking Are:
- Baking is a great way to share with your social or professional circle; Everyone loves and appreciates homemade but especially homebaked foods. If you didn't make enough to share or just prefer to keep your slices of apple pie to yourself, why not take a picture and share to social media. However, don’t make it look too delicious, or you might just get some unexpected and invited guests at your front door.
- Baking is stress relieving process; Especially things like kneading bread or dough, Sieving dry ingredients, or rolling out pastry. Baking can be very meditative, which is beneficial for your health and can be a great relaxing exercise, especially after a stressful day at work.
- Baking is good for the health; This is especially true when compared to deep frying. However, it is essential to realise that for baking to be healthy, it does depend a lot on what you bake. Of course, baking a sweet cheesecake is not as healthy as baking chopped vegetables. Choosing to bake savoury items over frying them is a great step toward better health overall.
- The smell of fresh baked foods; This is something that everyone can appreciate. It hardly matters what is in the oven, nor does it matter much whether you are a beginner or an expert. The smell will be enough to lift your mood and have you waiting for the timer to go off so that you can take the first bite. Remember to wait for it to cool, though, or you might burn your mouth.
- A sense of achievement; As well as whatever you bake being delicious, it also comes with almost instant gratification. From the great smells that waft out of the oven to the great tasting food that is being created. You should feel confident and proud as this was created by your hands.
Top 5 Essential Baking Terms
- Knead - To massage dough in a rough way to develop the mixture, often done using the palms of the hands or an electric mixer.
- Sift - This is when you work dry ingredients through a sieve to remove lumps or impurities. Often used for flour and icing sugar.
- Beat - This is the process of mixing something rapidly and energetically to create an evenly mixed and smooth paste or batter. This adds air to the mixture and creates spongy cakes and bread.
- Blend - This is done to mix 2 or more ingredients together well and evenly
- Whip - Whipping like beating is to mix a mixture rapidly to add air. Often done with a whisk. Eggs are whipped to create a meringue.
Tips To Improve As A Baker
These days we rush everything that we do, but baking is a process to be enjoyed not a chore that gets rushed. Taking your time while baking allows you to reap all of the rewards that baking has to offer. It also allows you to learn and observe what you are doing and how things are coming together. This observation is the basis for creatively and expertise later.
Baking Powder Needs To Be Precise
This essential ingredient for cakes and desserts can also be the ingredient that quickly ruins all of your hard work. Adding too little will ensure that your cake won't rise at all and adding too much will ensure that it will rise and fall quickly. Follow the recipe carefully for this ingredient
Combine The Signs: Is It Ready?
When baking a cake or anything really, you can use a few methods to be able to tell if the food is well baked. Mixing these signs will help you ensure well-baked foods every time.
- Is it brown?
- If it is a cake when you push it gently in the middle does it rise up again (this means it's ready)
- Has the right amount of time passed?
- If you have a toothpick, you can push it into the centre of what you are baking. If it comes out clean, it is ready.
- Does it smell amazing?
Tips For Your Equipment
You Don't Have To Do It The Hard Way
Kitchen electronics are an actual godsend, they make your life easier and make baking so much more fun. If you don't believe me try whisking eggs to create hard peaks for a meringue pie. You could think of it as a fitness workout for your arms, or you could save that for the gym and just invest in a good electric mixer.
Invest In The Basics
Investing in highly used equipment will always be money well spent, especially if you want to start to bake more regularly. Although the initial investment might be a bit high, and it can be tempting to go for cheaper alternatives. These items can last forever if you take care of them, so it is worth the investment. Flimsy, low-quality tins, parchment paper (greaseproof paper), spatulas/utensils, and mixing bowls. Will take your easy baking recipes to an early grave as they will need to be replaced much more often.
Most ovens do not heat evenly, so it is helpful to rotate your baked goods halfway through to ensure that they are baked evenly. For example, you may see one side is brown and completely cooked while the other side is only just starting to cook. Rotating the item will balance this out and ensure that it is completely cooked by the time you take it out.
For a beginner, however, it may not be clear which side of the oven is hotter or how your oven bakes. In this case, you must take your item out of the oven, slowly observing how it looks. If there is an imbalance, you should be able to see it quickly.
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Tips For Recipes
Weigh Ingredients Carefully
If you have too much flour and not enough sugar or worse too much salt. It can really throw off the entire result of your baked item. Paying attention to the recipe and following it properly will help you to get a better result than guessing at the measurements.
Recipes Are Not Written In Stone
While recipes are important, they sometimes also need some tweaking to perfect them and get them just right. This is because the recipe was not made with your kitchen in mind. The temperature of your oven or the way it cooks may be slightly different and so whenever you bake you should mark up your recipe with notes. Perhaps you had to bake for 5 minutes longer to get the perfect bake, or maybe you had to turn it down a few degrees to avoid burning your food.
When using a recipe the first time you should follow it precisely then make notes for what you could do to improve the baked treat next time. These notes are the real gold as you have now personalised the recipe to your purposes. Each time you do this, you will improve on your result.
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Grease And Flour Surfaces Generously
When you are baking things stick. If you don't flour your work surface while working on making bread, cookies, biscuits and icing on your dough will stick to the surface, making it really hard to get off the surface. There is nothing worse than rolling out your dough perfectly then realising you can't get it off the work surface. The same rule goes for greasing your baking sheets, baking trays, cake tins and pie dishes. Once baking the doughs may connect with these items and cause a severe and ugly breaking and tearing or the baked good as you try to get them out of the container. This is easy to overlook but really worth paying attention to.
Now you know some of the baking tips, tricks and secrets of the top bakers. You have a foolproof way to bake the ‘best ever’ everything. Preheat your oven, you can now fly through easy baking recipes, adding impressive international dishes like focaccia bread, gooey chocolate red velvet cupcakes, deliciously indulgent macarons and flakey puff pastry. Not convinced? Get out your mixing bowl and just give it a try, you can thank me later. Ready, set, Bake!