Baking for Beginners

Want to start baking and churning out some home-baked goodies but not sure where to start? Here are some tips to help you get going!

Getting started with the right equipment

as a beginner, you do not need to have a whole array of equipment. It is tempting to get that Kitchenaid and that set of attractive-coloured silicon bake ware. Be honest with yourself. If you know you usually would not last long in a new hobby, get only the basics. For a beginner in baking, it may be a good idea to have these – a few mixing bowls, 2 or 3 baking trays, a whisk, measuring spoons, a digital weighing scale and an oven thermometer. When you are ready for more, you can always expand your collection.

There is one thing I have learnt from experience – get the best that you can afford. Even if you decide later to abandon this hobby, the good stuff are easier to sell off. :P

Try the easy recipes first

If your oven has always been used as a storage area instead of a source of nice baked goodies, it may probably be a good idea to start with the easier recipes with a shorter ingredient list and less steps involved such as a cookie recipe. Some websites have a huge collection of recipes with various difficulty levels for beginners in baking and more seasoned bakers, and might include comments from other users. Do read all the comments before you try; sometimes you may need to tweak it for it to work better.

An alternative is to buy premixes from the supermarket. They will be good ego-boosters as failure rate is lower. At the same time, you can get to familiarize with your oven and pick up techniques.

Check the recipe and gather what is required

When you have decided on a recipe, read through it again and again. Make sure you have all the equipment and ingredients ready when you start. Ensure that all required equipment are clean and dry. Check expiry dates of your ingredients to ensure they are fresh. Is there any term or method which you are unsure of? Reach out for Google and Youtube. That was how I learnt for free.

Follow the recipe

Follow the instructions in the recipe carefully. This sounds easy doesn’t it? However, for a beginner, they may not know which are the processes which give room for failure. Over-mixing or under-mixing can affect the outcome of your baking, and in some cases, the sequence of ingredients added can matter. If chilled milk is called for, do not take it out of the fridge too early.

Wash as you go along

This may not sound like a part of the baking process, but it is important. It is easy to end up using many spoons, bowls, measuring cups during the baking process. I make it a point to wash as I go along, so that my sink is not piled up with stuff waiting to be washed. If you leave everything to be washed at the end, I am quite sure it will be a long time before you decide to bake again.

Bake with love
Without this ingredient, I can assure you that you that nothing will turn out right.

So, you have tried and failed…what next?

Try again! Personally I feel baking recipes can be fill with “traps” for beginners. Sometimes, the most important step could look like the least important step.

- Did you weigh all the ingredients correctly?

- Did you preheat your oven?

- Is your oven of the right temperature? Every oven behaves differently. It may show 180°C on the oven dial but is that the temperature inside? An oven thermometer would help and you would probably need a few more experiments to know how it behaves.

- Did you put it on the correct oven rack?

- Ask. Read others’ blogs, post a comment and wait for them to reply, google why you failed, or simply ask around.

- Register for a baking class. Nothing beats having an instructor around to answer your questions and watching you hands-on.

Now, you can start your baking journey soon!

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