Baking for beginners can be a challenge because there are so many secrets that you don’t know. Secrets learnt by bakers with experience and time in front of the oven. But there is a way that you can fast track your success by reading about the secret tips of the trade in our baking guide. Are you ready to get your mixing bowls out and flour on your work surfaces? Then read on because this guide will only make your baking even more delicious.
The Benefits Of Baking Are:
- Baking is a stress relieving process; if you have had a hard day, nothing comes close to kneading some dough to work out all of your troubles. You can be as rough as you want with the dough and afterwards, you will have some great bread, you will feel better, and you will have something tasty to eat.
- Baking is healthier than some other forms of cooking, such as frying. Baking retains flavour, and as long as you are not using too much sugar, it can be very healthy.
- Baking is a straightforward form of cooking; with minimal effort, you can achieve some delicious and impressive dishes with quite a minimal effort.
- The results are in the details such as sieving the flour, glazing the pastry, the quality of the ingredients and the oven temperature. If you know what to pay attention to, you can get consistent and foolproof results.
- Baking is a cheap way to cook, and you will save on buying the same items in the supermarket. Not to mention the taste when made at home will far outshine anything you can buy in a packet.
- Almost everyone loves chocolate if you are feeling generous and want to build up some brownie points with your friends and colleagues. Baking could be just the ticket, why not try to make chocolate truffles, chocolate fudge muffins, chocolate cookies, double chocolate and peanut butter cookies. There are endless recipes, and all of them will be welcomed with open arms where ever you choose to share them.
- Baking is great for your self-esteem because you will be able to see yourself getting better each time you try to bake. Each time you bake a scone or biscuits, you will be sure that it is better than the time before. Building your confidence in the kitchen and in your baking abilities.
- Do you know that to sell a home, an estate agent will often bake cookies in the oven just before people are due to arrive? There is no better smell of home than warm bread or cookies.
Top 5 Essential Baking Terms
- Knead - To knead (said ‘need’) something done when baking bread is when you have formed your dough. You then firmly massage the mixture using your hands or a mixer to make the dough more elastic. This is commonly used to make light, airy bread.
- Score - To score something in baking refers to the shallow slices or cuts made in the dough before baking. These help stream to be released but are also decorative. Commonly used with Bread and pies.
- Beat - To beat ingredients in baking is to stir them together very rapidly. Commonly this can be done with a fork, spoon, whisk, or electric mixer. Beating helps all of the ingredients come together well and can add air to the mixture.
- Blend - Blending in baking is about making sure that all ingredients are mixed evenly together. You should continue to stir until blended well. This is commonly used in many baking recipes as evenly blended mixture give the best results in terms of flavour.
- Whip - Whipping in baking is a way to add a lot of air to ingredients. You would whip egg whites, for example, to achieve the light, fluffy mixture which creates a meringue.
Tips For Getting Started At Home
Use Room temperature Ingredients
Using room temperature ingredients helps your baking, and it is an important step. Hard butter will not mix well, and cold eggs may curdle. Having all ingredients at room temperature will ensure that they mix well and bake well.
Remember To Taste As You Go
Taking your time also helps you to avoid silly mistakes like using salt instead of sugar, or oil instead of honey. These mistakes are very easy to make when you are trying to multitask with making a pie and a cake, for example. Try to enjoy the process and take your time, taste ingredients that look similar to sugar and salt if they are not well labelled before adding to your mixture.
Always Use Fresh Ingredients
Things like baking powder and baking soda can sit in the cupboard for years and seemingly not go bad. So can flour and other ingredients, but it is always worth using fresh ingredients as older ingredients may act in a way that you don’t expect when you are baking. Also, while ingredients may seem like they don’t go bad, they can go rancid without you be aware of it. It is better to purchase ingredients in small qualities and use it all up rather than have huge quantities sitting in the cupboard for years at a time.
You have seen salt in your cake recipe and are thinking about leaving it out. It's weird, right? But remember what we said about following the recipe closely. Every ingredient is there for a reason, this includes salt too. For example; Salt is there to balance sweetness and make the flavours pop. If you want your lemon cake to taste more lemony, add a tsp of salt and watch the lemon come to life.
Some Practical Baking Tools & How To Use Them
The Essential Top 10 Equipment List For You To Start Baking At Home
- Kitchen Scale,
- Mixing Bowls,
- A Baking Sheet,
- Muffin Tin
- Baking Tin,
- A Wire Whisk
- A Wooden Spoon
- A Sieve
- Greaseproof Paper Or Parchment Paper
- A Timer
Useful Tools For Beginners
- Measuring Cups And Spoons
If you decide not to pay out for a kitchen scale, you can also use a measuring cup or measuring spoons. It is a bit more of a slow process this way, but it can work for you if you are patient.
Used for: Measuring Ingredients
- A Rolling Pin
You will get a lot of use out of your rolling pin if you like pies, biscuits and perfectly iced cakes. Yes, you can use it for all of that and more if you get a good one, it will last forever.
Used for: To roll pastry, icing or other doughs flat in a uniform way.
- Pastry And Cookie Cutters
I almost added this to the essentials list because who doesn’t love biscuits and cookies in gorgeous shapes. You can’t have gingerbread men in the shape of a circle, for example. These cutters make things fun and can be used for lots of purposes in the kitchen. Such as for icing shapes, pie shapes etc.
Used for: To create decorative shapes in doughs.
- A Spatula
This is a narrow metal unsharp blade that is used for spreading. You can use this to spread icing onto cakes or jam on scones. It helps a lot with spreading icing on cakes and biscuits.
Used for: Spreading uniformly.
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Upgrading Your Equipment As You Improve
- Electric Mixer
Mixers can be expensive, but wow do they make baking easier. After you have tried your first one, you will wonder what you have been doing without it. Not to mention the results of your bakes will show that it was worth the investment.
Used for: Makes your life easier by mixing everything for you.
- Pie Dish
While you can technically use an oven-safe bowl for your pies, both the sweet and savoury kind. If you are planning on making lots of pies then having a dish can be a great treat
Used for: Used for pies, often they come in a uniform shape and size.
- Pastry Brush
If you want lovely brown baked goods, then you need to coat them in an egg or milk wash. This helps you coat your savoury and sweet treats uniformly without drowning them in liquid which will burn once added to the oven.
Used for: To coat baked goods to help them to brown.
Baking Recipe Books And Online Resources For Beginners
Baking Recipe Books
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
This is one of my favourite baking books that I have at home. Brought after trying the decadent cakes from the hummingbird bakery in London. I am an absolute fan of their cakes, and the book makes it really easy to recreate some of my favourites. Like the deliciously chocolatey red velvet cupcake that they are well known for.
- Purchase: Everywhere books are sold, online and offline; also available on Kindle
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Price: from £6.99 for the Kindle edition
- ISBN-10: 1784724165 / ISBN-13: 978-1784724160
Online Courses For An At Home Bake Off
There are lots of easy ways to get hands-on help from people from around the world. The benefit of learning from people who come from different cultures is that you can learn the real techniques that they use to get authentic and delicious dishes at home. Want to learn how to make Macarons like a French baker, focaccia like an Italian baker, streusel like a German baker, pumpkin pie like an American baker.
Online baking courses or classes are a great way to try your hand at making international sweet treats. Using the power of the internet, you can meet bakers who can take you step by step through the techniques to make sweet treats and luscious, savoury bakes. As well as your oven and ingredients, you also need to have stable internet connection and compatible devices.
Online YouTube channels
This is the channel is focused on helping you to bake with confidence. Gemma Stafford is a fully fledged chef, but she creates recipes that are accessible for you to develop your baking skills and also other kinds of cooking as well. Nothing is out of reach with this channel as her focus is for you to use things you already have at home to make great and yummy recipes.
New videos: Sundays and Thursdays
Step By Step Cookie Recipe For Beginners
So you have got your tools, have learnt a few tips and looked up a few bakers. Now it’s time to try your hand at baking, this easy recipe is perfect for beginners and yummy enough to make sure you don't stop baking.
Recipe For OTT Chocolate Chip And Peanut Butter Oaty Cookies
- 500 g oats
- 250 g of peanut butter
- 3 large eggs
- 113g of butter
- 200g of brown sugar
- 150 g of granulated sugar
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- 170 g of chocolate chips
- 170 g of M&M’s
- 100 g of peanuts
Optional: Add raisins,
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cooking Time: Less than 10 minutes
- Serves 60 cookies
Cooking Instructions For OTT Chocolate Chip And Peanut Butter Oaty Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Prepare two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy.
- Stir in the vanilla and the egg until well mixed.
- Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well.
- Add the peanut butter and vanilla mix again until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and combine until evenly mixed.
- The dough will be sticky and soft to the touch.
- Now fold in the chocolate chips, peanuts and M&M’s.
- Using tablespoons or your hands; scoop out 1 (small cookies) to 2 (large cookies) tablespoons of the dough and place on the baking tray.
- Bake for 7 to a maximum of 12 minutes.
- Take them out and let them cool for 5 minutes.
Baking brings all of your senses to life, as you focus on step by step of your recipe, you detach from stress, worry and the overactive thoughts in your mind. Welcome to the baking world, Enjoy your journey