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A Beginner's Baking Dilemma

I often laugh and enjoy reminiscing my baking mishaps when i was just starting at age 18. I didn't know anything about baking temperatures, i certainly have never seen an oven thermometer and i have no idea what bain marie means. Looking back, i came a long way from being so ignorant inthe kitchen to being someone who teaches other people how to make bread, of all baked goods. I remember this incident when i tried making cheese muffins from the box. I read the instructions and baked the muffins and was surprised to find every piece perfect and delicious. It was that good that my brother asked me to do another batch for her girlfriend. Proud that somebody asked me to bake them something, i proceeded to do my thing but the muffins turned bad, rock hard. This baking inconsistencies will plague my dream to finally be able to bake goodies that are good batch after batch. I realized that it was an occurring dilemma for every novice bakers, that due to their lack of knowledge in baking science, of the methods and ingredients, baking becomes a hit and miss trial. If you are impatient, baking isnt going to cut it. I tried to take up short baking lessons from time to time but it didn't help that much. My sponge cakes burn, muffins overflow and flood the oven floor, cakes turn into volcanoes, breads become paperweights. Whew! The money i wasted in all these could have supported a family of two for a year. But i was so determined. i can't get the glowing golden brown images of breads out of my mind so i kept going. I plan to write more of my mistakes and what to do to avoid them in my future postings hoping that those who read them may learn something and encourage them not to give up. For those who have questions especially with breadmaking, feel free to post me a question and i will be glad to answer them.
For someone who intends to start a baking career, i suggest that you start by reading about the methods, the equipments available, and then the ingredients before you invest in them. Do not buy a tool or an ingredient that you have no knowledge of. For example, some people buy semolina not knowing what to do with them. The recipe calls for all purpose flour, you buy bread flour not knowing the difference between them. I still have in my possession baking pans and tools that i bought 20 years back, not having the guts to throw them but not having the need to use them at all. A total waste of space, money and time. Also ingredients that are not needed simply rot in the pantry because most are perishable except for sugar or honey. So take your time and learn everything that is available to you, browse the internet, refrain from buying hardbound books because most of these are just decorations and sorry to say, merely feed the eyes and make you salivate but teaches you very little if you are a beginner. Start with cookies, muffins, cakes, then ice them, and then proceed to breads. This is the order i followed when i dared to venture into baking. After having done all of these, i got stuck with breads because i found comfort in making them. It may sound tedious what with the long hours of making them compared to cakes and cookies, but that to me made it all worth it. The smell of baking bread permeating through the whole house is some kind of a deep high for me. When you tear off a piece of the still warm bread and pop it right to your mouth wspecially when you are hungry....... nothing beats it. I hope every household gets to experience this.


Anonymous said…
Hello =)
I just wanted to let you know what a blessing and joy it is to have stumbled across your blog!

Your knowledge and passion for baking is so very evident..every post is a joy to read.
And just from reading, I learn so much!

This post has particularly inspired me to really take up the challenge. As you said..I will begin with cookies and muffins and then cakes..and go on and on! I also would like to cook regular meal dishes as well aside from sweets.

I always crave a good piece of bread..sweet or savory..I know all too well the intoxication of such a wonderful aroma!

Thank you!
Amanda C.
{P.s. Congratulations with your cancer battle. Those who overcome and continue to live life fully are always an inspiration to me}

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