Want to start baking? Want to know the basics of baking? Then here’s the ultimate beginners guide to baking!
First of all, WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF BAKING!
Baking is an amazing hobby and a great passion to have. Studies have proved that baking reduces stress and it is a wonderful activity to relieve tension.
“ Baking is a science which requires the mind of an artist. “
I truly believe in the above written line. Baking is a science as it consists of proper measurement of ingredients, time and temperature. It requires an artist as it belongs to the category of ‘food’ which obviously is a visual art.
Like every art, baking requires you to have some basic knowledge, right?
So, here is a detailed guide for all those who want to learn baking. I have tried to include all the basics – the basic tools for beginner bakers, main ingredients every beginner baker should have, the type of oven a baker should buy etc. I hope you will find this beginners guide to baking useful and helpful!
Buy an oven
If you are serious about learning baking, then I’ll recommend you to buy an oven. An oven is the very basic necessity for anyone who wants to start baking.
An oven allows you to bake various kinds of cakes, cookies, tarts, muffins, pies, cupcakes, breads etc. While buying an oven, keep the following points in your mind :
- Size of the oven : An oven comes in various size capacities. If you have to bake just for your friends and family, then go for an oven between the capacity of 25-30 litres. I believe that an oven with a capacity of 19 or 20 litre would be quite small for you (even if you have a small family and you don’t have to bake frequently). On the other hand, an oven with large capacity (like 48-52 litres) might be too large for you. You don’t have to bake on a commercial purpose and that’s why, it’s not profitable to buy such a large capacity oven. Therefore, an oven between the capacity of 25-30 litres is ideal for a beginner as well as expert home baker.
- Brand of the oven : Always buy an oven of a trusted brand/company. Whether you buy online or from your local market, always buy an oven which belongs to a trusted company. Don’t fall into the trap of low cost and buy an oven from a new or a not so established company.
Essential Baking Tools For Beginners
Along with an oven you will need some basic baking tools. Now, the most common mistakes beginner bakers make is that they don’t buy baking tools and use the available tools for baking. The result : There baking experiments fail again and again. PLEASE DON’T DO THIS!
Another common mistake that beginner bakers make is that they buy everything related to baking. If you have just started baking, then there’s no need to buy fondant, gum paste or anything that experienced bakers use. You will gradually learn baking and you will need these things, for sure BUT you don’t need them now. So don’t buy and stuff unnecessary things in your kitchen.
If you want to learn baking, then definitely buy some of the basic baking tools. You can either buy the basic baking tools online. There’s a good range of baking tools available online. Or if you have a baking related store near by, you can buy your baking tools from there.
The question is what baking tools to buy?
Here’s the answer – Baking tools list for beginners. I have created a list of all the basic baking tools a beginner baker would need. I’ll recommend you to go through this list and buy the needed tools before you start baking.
Essential Ingredients Every Baker Needs
Just like baking tools, there are some basic ingredients that every baker should have. These are the commonly used ingredients. You will need these ingredients no matter what you bake.
- All purpose Flour –
The basic baking ingredient. Have a good stock of all purpose flour as you will need this in a large amount.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda –
Both of these are leavening agents. In other words, they help the cake batter in rising. They make the cake spongy and light. You will probably need both or one of these in almost all the cake recipes you will bake.
Butter and oil are used as fats while baking. Almost all cake/cookie/muffin recipes have either butter or oil.
Sugar is another important baking ingredient. Mostly recipes ask for powdered sugar. For this, there’s no need to buy powdered sugar separately. Just blend the regular granulated sugar you have in a blender jar and use that.
Some recipes like banana bread or carrot cake, sometimes require brown sugar.
One of the most common baking ingredients is egg. It makes the cake batter light and spongy. It helps the cake batter in rising. Don’t buy a lot of eggs at the same time. Try to use fresh eggs whenever you bake.
If you want to bake without using eggs, then you will need some egg replacements like yogurt, buttermilk, tofu etc.
Easy baking recipes for beginners
As a beginner, you should ALWAYS TRY EASY RECIPES. You are tempted to try a nice chocolate ganache or the lemon drizzle cake but please don’t. Simply because if your first ever attempt fails, it will leave you disheartened and will lower down your passion for baking.
Start with easy recipes. Try 1-2 simple cakes or any easy cookie recipe. Also, firstly try and learn to bake simple cakes. Don’t try to bake and decorate a cake after baking only once or twice. Decorating a cake is a different level of baking. If you are just starting, then firstly try to polish your basic baking skills. Once you become a pro at basic cakes, then start learning cake decoration.
Below are some of the easy recipes for you to try –
Muffins are an important part of the baking world. Yes! Once you would learn more about baking, you will realize that muffins are probably the easiest thing to bake. You can experiment a lot with muffins. You can bake a good amount of muffins at a particular time. They also are a good option for edible gifts. From kIds to grown ups, everyone loves muffins!
To get started, you can try this easy eggless Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe. (Don’t think that these would be difficult to bake, just follow the recipe and the instructions and you would be able to bake these properly.)
This recipe is suitable for those baking beginners who are interested in healthy baking. Yeah! It’s not necessary that every cake you bake is unhealthy. This recipe is a healthier take on the regular chocolate cake.
This chocolate cake is prepared using atta (Whole wheat flour) and not maida (all purpose flour). Use of atta makes this cake a healthier one and thus you can easily bake this whole wheat chocolate cake for your kids as well.
Nan Khatai is a popular Indian cookie. If you want to try baking cookies first, then this is an easy recipe for you.
Simple, easy and tasty nan khatai 🙂
Want to start with something different from the regular vanilla or chocolate cake but still want something easy and simple?
Then this recipe is perfect for you. This cake is prepared using fresh mangoes. No artificial color is added and is perfect for baking beginners.
Basic fruit cake is one such cake recipe that every baker should try. This cake is ideal for baking for your family and friends. You can also gift this cake as an edible gift. Love Christmas? Then definitely learn to bake this cake.
These are simple recipes, using easily available ingredients. Try these recipes, learn how to use your oven, and then slowly progress to other difficult recipes.
Important Tips For Beginner Bakers
Here are some important tips which you (as a beginner baker) should keep in mind. These are some important baking tips and I am sure these would be of great help to you.
- Always read the full recipe : It’s important to read the full recipe. Never skip any step mentioned in the recipe. Read the description you find along with the main recipe ingredients and method. The baker usually shares his tips for that particular recipe in the detailed description you find on various blogs and websites. Therefore, always read the recipe before you start to bake.
- Never skip an ingredient : Baking is not like cooking. In cooking you can add or leave an ingredient without causing any harm to the dish. But in baking, you can’t do this. For example, say a recipe asks for baking soda and you just skip it or replace it with baking powder, you would definitely ruin the entire recipe. Every ingredient in any baking recipe is added for a reason and you should never avoid it.
- Use room temperature ingredients : Hmm.. The same old advice, right? But it’s important. It’s quite essential that all the ingredients (Flour, eggs, butter, milk etc.) should be at room temperature. Suppose all other ingredients are at room temperature but your butter is chilled. If you will bake using this chilled rock like butter, what will happen is that the butter and sugar won’t mix properly. Due to this, the batter won’t incorporate air bubbles and this would result in a dense hard cake. All your efforts would go into vain!
- Measure ingredients properly : It’s quite important to measure your ingredients properly. That’s why, I’ll recommend you to buy a good measuring cups and spoons set OR a digital scale. Most of the recipes on Indian cookbooks, tv shows, blogs and websites use measuring cups and spoons for measuring the ingredients. Therefore, you can start baking with a set of measuring cups and spoons.
- Always preheat your oven : Preheating an oven is an important step in baking. Pre-heating the oven means to switch on the oven and let it heat up to a certain required temperature. So, if a recipe asks you to preheat an oven at 180 C, then switch on the oven. Select the temperature as 180 C. Select the mode in which both the heating rods of the oven are ON (that is select the preheat mode). Select the time as 10 minutes. Start the oven. YOU DON’T HAVE TO PLACE THE CAKE TIN/BAKING TRAY right now. The oven will operate for 10 minutes at 180 C without any cake tin/baking tray. After 10 minutes, place the cake tin/ baking tray into the oven. Select the time mentioned in the recipe. Select the mode in which only the bottom heating rods of the oven are ON. (that is select the baking mode). Start the oven. Never try to bake a cake, cookie or anything without preheating the oven.
- Always whip butter and sugar properly : Almost every cake recipe requires you to whip butter/oil and sugar together. Whip room temperature butter firstly for 2-3 minutes. The whipped butter should look pale and it should have a creamy white texture. Then add sugar gradually and whip both the ingredients together. You should whip both of these ingredients till a creamy textured mixture is formed. At this point, this mixture would have incorporated lots of tiny air bubbles. THIS IS IMPORTANT! This step incorporates air bubbles in the batter and this would make cake batter airy. This would ultimately result in a soft, moist and fluffy cake.
- Make mistakes, learn and grow : Yes! You will make mistakes, you will face baking disasters, you will have to deal with dense, unbaked, hard cakes; BUT DON’T GIVE UP! Baking requires practice and you will improve with every baked item of yours. Enjoy the process of baking and learn from your mistakes.
Baking for beginners book
If you like reading and want to learn baking through baking cookbooks, then here’s a collection of some popular and best seller baking cookbooks.
Books are great for learning baking. You can read them during your free time. You can also write your own notes in your baking cookbooks. I have a small collection of baking books and they are like a treasure for me. :p
These baking books are perfect for beginner bakers. Some of these deal with particular baking section (like bread baking or basic baking vocabulary). Collection of baking for beginners books –
The essential-and accessible-guide to the science of baking Baking is as much a science as an art. That’s why, in addition to mastering basic techniques and recipes, every baker must also learn about the science that underlies the baking craft. Guided by contemporary baking and pastry research and practice, this new edition of Joseph Amendola’s invaluable reference gives readers knowledge that they can apply to their own baking-whether it’s selecting the right flour, understanding how different leavening agents work, or learning about using new baking ingredients and additives to enhance favorite recipes. Written in a clear, easy-to-understand style, Understanding Baking is an essential companion for anyone who is serious about baking.
At last, the star of BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off reveals all the secrets of his craft in How to Bake. The son of a baker, Paul Hollywood is passionate about busting the myths that surround baking, sharing his finely honed skills, and showing that with the right guidance, anybody can achieve success time after time.
With this in mind, he has filled this book with easy-to-follow, clearly explained, utterly delicious recipes. Having taken you through the basic techniques, Paul explains how to make an abundance of breads, pastries, cakes and biscuits including wholemeal loaf, soda bread, focaccia, etc.
Learn to bake delicious homemade muffins, cakes, biscuits, and tarts! In 101 tips, you’ll learn more than you thought possible from our pocket baking guide. Get simple, easy-to-follow advice on baking brownies, cupcakes, meringues, and more, plus information on ingredients and simple techniques, all in one incredible pocket guide.
Build your knowledge and confidence — fast! This pocket guide has all the essentials you’re looking for, including the latest tips and tricks. For the price of a magazine, you get incredible research and colorful design that breaks a big subject down in a way that’s complete and easy to understand. With 101 Essential Tips, you get a pocket guide that’s jam-packed with information and details, from simple explanations of the basics to illustrated step-by-step guides and close-up pictures with detailed descriptions.
Whether you want to build up your basic skills, become an expert, or just have a little more confidence in conversation, 101 Essential Tips is right for you. This pocket guide is chock-full of information to guide you, inspire you, and give you the knowledge and confidence you’re looking for.
In this book of no-fuss recipes everyone should know, trusted baking expert Rose Levy Beranbaum guides you through every recipe for can’t fail results – with a streamlined, simplified approach and more than 600 mouthwatering and instructive photographs.
Throughout, Rose shares her unique tips and methods for unlocking the secrets to the best flavours and foolproof results, for a treasury of essential recipes you’ll use forever.
If you are particularly interested in eggless baking, then this is a good book for you.
The author Nita Mehta, Indian celebrity chef, has written this amazing recipe book to show people certain ways in which one can prepare amazing bakery goods like professional chefs.
All thanks to this book, the readers can explore completely different and interesting ways to make cakes and pastries. The recipes included in the book do not contain eggs. Instead egg substitutes are used to create some of the eye-catching and palatable cake, muffins and pastries.
The book throws light on some of the unique ingredients and techniques, using which anyone could make pro-like eggless cakes at home. Hence, it is a helpful guide for those who don’t like eggs in their baked-bread products. Apart from different cake-making techniques, the book also covers many types of icing and frosting methods to give desired shapes to your cakes, pastries or muffins.
If you want to learn bread baking at home, then this is a good option for you.
Bread Baking for Beginners offers the easiest tutorials and recipes to make every bread lover into a home baker.
Flour, yeast, water, and salt even with the simplest of ingredients, making homemade bread can be a daunting task if you have never done it before. From total scratch to your first batch, Bread Baking for Beginners offers simple, user-friendly tutorials and recipes to mix, knead, and enjoy freshly baked loaves at home.
Bonnie Ohara, a self-taught baker who runs a micro-bakery out of her own kitchen, preps home cooks with clear explanations of the bread making process and basic techniques. Complete with photographs to help guide you, this bread cookbook offers 32 recipes for kneaded breads, no-knead breads, and enriched breads that prove you can bake your bread, and eat it too.
Through this book, readers can enhance their baking skills by following his simple, yet spectacular recipes.
All the recipes are mentioned in an organised manner, with easy-to-follow step-wise instructions.
Written in a simple and lucid manner, any one can learn the art of baking from scratch, using this helpful book.
Learn dozens of delectable delicacies, both sweet and savory, and bake them in your own kitchen.
So, these are some good baking books that you can buy as a beginner baker, if you want to learn baking by reading books.
I have tried to incorporate almost everything a beginner baker should know about baking. If any topic is lacking in this article, then please feel free to ask me about it in the comments below. I know that when we start baking, there are so many question in our mind. Sometimes we are able to find a solution and sometimes we just have to keep waiting for that perfect solution. But don’t do that. If you have any questions related to baking, feel free to ask them in the comments below. I’ll definitely reply to your questions.
All the best for your baking experiments!
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