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5 Basics of Baking for the Beginner

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked goods wafting through your home. From fresh sourdough bread to melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies, there’s virtually no end to what your kitchen can produce.

However, if frozen pizzas and store bought cookies are familiar faces in your kitchen, you might be intimidated by the thought of entering the baking world. Though you may produce a few failed batches of brownies or cinnamon rolls at first, every baker needs to start somewhere. If you’re ready to try your hand at whipping up some sweet treats, here are a few basics you need to know.

Invest in the right equipment

When baking, it’s critical to set yourself up for success with the right set of tools. To begin, you’ll need a set of measuring cups and a digital weighing scale. While measuring cups are reliable tools, a scale will allow you to measure out ingredients accurately. You’ll also need basic utensils like a whisk and spatula, along with high-quality bakeware like a muffin tin, baking sheet, and cake pan. Stock up on parchment paper, or purchase a few silicone baking mats for a reusable option. 

Ultimately, your most essential tool should be a reliable oven. A wall oven microwave combo like these can help you save counter space and also automatically adjusts baking temperatures to convection temperatures for even baking.

Stick to the recipe

Baking is a science. While you may not feel that it’s necessary to wait for your eggs to warm to room temperature or mix your dry ingredients before adding your wet, there’s a reason behind every instruction. Not only does following the instructions carefully allow you to achieve optimal baking results, but it also makes the baking process less intimidating. Remember to read the recipe before beginning to mix ingredients, as you’ll feel better prepared to tackle any recipe regardless of difficulty.

Prep your ingredients ahead of time

Before starting the first step of a recipe, prepare all of your ingredients on your counter. Measure all of your ingredients and place them all in front of you within reach. This prep work leaves little room for error as you follow the recipe and ensures that you won’t be panicking and scrambling as you mix and fold ingredients together. Baking will become a smooth and relaxing activity if you’re well-prepared for every recipe.

Keep your oven door closed

While it’s tempting to check in on your batch of cupcakes or brownies while it’s baking in the oven, resist the urge to open the oven door to peek at your baked treats. While it’s exciting to watch the fruits of your labor come to life, your goods won’t rise and brown if you’re disturbing the oven temperature by opening the door. If your oven has a light feature, utilize it to check in on your cakes and cookies as they bake. If you absolutely must open your oven door, do so quickly, and don’t keep it ajar for too long.

Don’t give up

Your first sheet of cookies may be burnt or overcooked. Your second cake may not have risen correctly. Your third batch of brownies may be too runny and raw. No matter how many mistakes you make as you embark on your baking journey, never give up, and push your feelings of discouragement aside. Every mistake you make will only help you grow as a baker. Soon enough, every sheet or tin you pull out of your oven will contain a perfectly baked treat, ready for you to enjoy. Until then, learn to laugh at your baking mishaps. Mistakes are a part of life, and you’ll make less of them each time you preheat your oven for another recipe.

The bottom line

If supermarket brownies can’t satisfy your sweet tooth any longer or if you just miss your grandmother’s signature snickerdoodle cookies, try your hand at baking. You might just discover a new favorite skill or hobby along the way. With time and practice, you’ll be creating sweet confectionery masterpieces that’ll rival your local bakery’s.