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Baking 101: The Way of the First-Time Baker

Baking 101: The Way of the First-Time Baker

I have an incredibly sweet tooth. As much as I like eating cakes, cookies, and bread, nothing gives me greater joy than baking them myself. While I still stumble around baking, I am fairly confident with my skills as I have a year of baking fails and triumphs under my belt. I always look back fondly on my first-time nerves when I was starting out. I collated a few tips I wish I knew as a first-time baker and to help anyone who’s curious about where to start in baking.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to bake a batch made in heaven.

Start simple

If you’re a first-time baker, try to dip into baking with simple recipes. My first experience baking was a box mix of banana bread. I added chocolate chips but I basically followed the recipe in the box to the tee. It took me a few tries of other box mixes and pre-bought dough before I started to make the same recipes from scratch. Baking teaches you to the importance of being meticulous and patient. Starting with an easy recipe with few ingredients can help you focus on what you’re baking and have great results. You can gradually build up your confidence and skills by slightly upping the difficulty of what you’re baking.

Learn your tools

Let’s talk about measuring cups and spoons. In cooking, you can get away with winging the measurement of ingredients if you have to. However, in baking, the measurement makes or breaks the recipe. You also need to sift your dry ingredients before using your measuring cups to ensure there are no lumps. You also have the option to weigh your ingredients instead of using measuring cups to be more precise, however, I think using measuring cups is fine if you’re just starting in baking.

Your oven is another tool you will need to master. The result was always burnt during my first attempts at baking. I learned that our oven didn’t distribute heat evenly, so I had to correct this manually. I made the habit of checking every five minutes if I needed to reorient the baking tray from one end to another. Check the type and brand of oven you have and research online to learn how to bake using it. You’ll need to adapt how you bake to the tools you have available.

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Keep an eye on the time

Underbaking or overbaking is always a hassle. Make sure you pre-heat your oven before preparing to bake so that when you’re done, you can just pop it inside. Set your timer correctly to avoid getting your wonderful baked creation too early or too late. You can generally tell if it’s baked if it has risen and when you poke the middle, it comes out clean. For brownies, it’s okay if the center is a little undercooked, it will set after you take it out of the oven. It’s really hard to wait to eat any baked goods fresh out of the oven, but waiting for them to cool down to room temperature greatly affects their taste and flavor. I recommend eating them when they’re cool to touch.

Baking is more fun than you’d expect

Baking became the way for me to de-stress and concentrate on one thing at a time. I love it as a hobby because while the results aren’t perfect every time, I still learn how to get better. When it does come out great, it tastes better because of all the hard work I put into it. There’s also the added bonus of sharing it with family and friends. After all, love is a plate of homemade cookies!

If you’re a first-time baker, don’t stress yourself too out, and keep your head in the game from start to finish. And as the saying goes, bake it til you make it!

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