As an amateur cook and aspiring baker, I am fond of doing experiments out of the remaining ingredients at home to prevent it from getting spoiled. However, I’ve found out that before getting involved in either cooking or baking, various things should be considered prior to certain procedures, such as, baking tools, techniques, accurate measurements, substitutions to ingredients that are readily available in your kitchen and food handling. Here are my 7 basic guides for beginners like me who really love cooking and would like to try baking as a hobby or just simply curious about the world of baking.
“Good things comes to those who bake.”
1. Choose a recipe according to your skill level.
We often tend to dream big and become very eager to select the greatest recipe that you could think of like, cooking for a feast or baking a birthday cake. However, my mentor told me that as a beginner we must bear in mind that several famous recipes were all made from scratches and everything should start from the basics.
As a beginner, I believe that a simple cake will suffice. For example, a Classic Banana cake recipe. It involves simple techniques like mixing dry and wet ingredients together and folding without any usage of mixers and it’s the very first recipe that I’ve learned as newbie. I will include my Classic Banana cake recipe on my next article and I hope you like it.
2. Prepare the necessary baking equipments for beginners.
“If there’s a whisk, there’s a way.”
3. Be familiar with your 10 basic ingredients and its substitutes.
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
1. Bread flour (1 cup) = 1 cup all purpose flour
2. Cake flour (1 cup) = ¾ all purpose flour + 2 tbsp. cornstarch
3. Pastry flour (1 cup) = 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour + 2/3 cup cake flour
4. Cornstarch (for thickening) (1 cup) = 2 tbsp. all purpose flour or 1 tbsp. potato starch/rice starch/flour
5. Baking powder (1 tsp.)(Double-acting) = ¼ baking soda + ½ tsp. cream of tartar + ¼ cornstarch OR = ¼ tsp. baking soda + ½ buttermilk/sour milk/yogurt to replace ½ cup non-acidic liquid
6. Cream of tartar (1/2 tsp.) = ½ tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
7. Chocolate 1 sq. (1 oz.) = 3 tbsp. baking Cocoa + 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
8. Butter (1 cup) = 7/8 cup oil + ½ tsp. salt
9. Buttermilk (1 cup) = 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp. vinegar OR = 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp. lemon juice OR = 1 cup yogurt
10. Confectioner’s sugar (1 cup) = ¾ granulated sugar + 1 tbsp. cornstarch
“One of the most important ingredients in creating exceptional bakery is fun! Make sure you always add an extra measure of that into your baking.”
4. Getting acquainted with measurements, conversions and oven temperatures.
|U.S. Volume Equivalents||Converting U.S. to Metric|
|1 1/2 teaspoon = 1/2 tablespoon
3 tsp. = 1 tbsp.
2 tbsp. = 1 ounce = 1/8 cup
8 ounces (16 tbsp.) = 1 cup
2 cups = 1 pint = 16 ounces
2 pints = 1 quart = 4 cups = 32 ounces
4 quarts = 1 gallon = 16 cups = 128 ounces
|teaspoons x 4.93 = milliliters (ml)
tablespoons x 14.79 = ml
fluid ounces x 29.57 = ml
cups x 236.59 = ml
pints x 473.18 = ml
quarts x 946.36 = ml
gallons x 3.785 = liters
|Metric Volume (ml/l)||
|Metric Volume (ml/l)|
|1/4 tsp.||1.23 ml||1 cup (16 tbsp./8 ounces)||240 ml|
|1/2 tsp.||2.5 ml||2 cups (32 tbsp.1 pint/16 ounces)||480 ml|
|3/4 tsp.||3.7 ml||2 1/4 cups (18 ounces)||540 ml|
|1 tsp.||4.9 ml||2 1/2 cups (20 ounces)||600 ml|
|1 1/2 tsp. 1/2 tbsp.)||7.5 ml||2 3/4 cups (22 ounces)||660 ml|
|2 tsp.||10 ml||3 cups (1 1/2 pints/24 ounces)||720 ml|
|3 tsp. (1 tbsp.)||15 ml||4 cups (1 quart/32 ounces)||960 ml|
|1/8 cup (2 tbsp./1 ounce)||30 ml`||4 quarts (1 gallon/128 ounces)||3.8 l|
|1/2 cup (8 tbsp.4 ounces)||120 ml|
|3/4 cup (12 tbsp./6 ounces)||180 ml|
- US. and Metric Weight Equivalents
Ounces into Grams: ounces x 28.35 = grams pounds x 0.454 = kilograms
|U.S. Measurements (Weight) (ounces)||Metric Measurements (Weight) (grams)|
1 1/2 ounces
16 ounces (1 pound)
32 ounces (2 pounds)
64 ounces (4 pounds)
Baking Temperatures (OVEN)
- To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius: (-) 32, x by 5, then ‘/, by 9.
- To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit: x by 9, ‘/, by 5, then (+) 32.
|Fahrenheit (°F)||Celsius (°C)||Gas Number||Oven Terms|
|225 °F||110 °C||1/4||Very Cool|
|250 °F||130 °C||1/2||Very Slow|
|275 °F||140 °C||1||Very Slow|
|300 °F||150 °C||2||Slow|
|325 °F||165 °C||3||Slow|
|350 °F||177 °C||4||Moderate|
|375 °F||190 °C||5||Moderate|
|400 °F||200 °C||6||Moderately Hot|
|450 °F||230 °C||8||Hot|
|475 °F||245 °C||9||Hot|
|500 °F||260 °C||10||Extremely Hot|
|550 °F||290 °C||10||Broiling|
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a “What-the Hell” Attitude.” – Julia Child
5. Know the 8 basic mixing techniques in baking.
At first, I thought that baking was similar to the processes of cooking. And eventually I have learned that there are various techniques in baking. Here are the basic mixing methods in baking with its corresponding descriptions.
6. Follow instructions accordingly to the selected recipe.
No experimentations and alterations for first timers. It is vital to follow the appropriate instructions without hesitations. Before I tend to alter some ingredients and procedures. It ended up with an awful outcome. Moreover, the taste and texture may suffer upon neglecting the step-by-step guides of a recipe. That’s why recipe books are made in the first place to act as a guide and to be followed accordingly. So, as a beginner just follow the recipe and eventually after further practice you could play with the ingredients and make your very own recipe.
The ingredients are moved continuously in a back and forth, up and down, and around and around motion until it reaches a smooth texture. A wire whisk can be used to beat the ingredients together, if an electric mixer is not available.
Ingredients stick to each other, as when breading is bound to meat.
Ingredients are mixed thoroughly until fully incorporated.
Butter and sugar are beaten together until it reaches a light, airy texture.
5. CUT IN OR CUTTING IN
To distribute solid fat in dry ingredients by Bench Scraper, two knifes (in a scissor motion), or a pastry blender.
One ingredient is gently incorporated into another by hand with a large spatula to make a little aeration.
The simplest method that involves mixing all the ingredients together with a spoon in a circular motion.
8. WHIP OR WHISK
Through very vigorous mixing air is incorporated into food such as, egg whites and whipping cream, usually with a wire whisk or electric mixer.
“When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your taste.” – Laiko Bahrs
7. Proper food handling and preparations.
Hand hygiene is essential in food handling before and after each procedure. It is one of the primary methods used to help prevent food borne illnesses. Proper hand washing will reduce your risk of transmitting disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria, or viruses to people who will consume the food you handle. If possible, wear a hair cover during the process to avoid any unwanted hair stands on your creation. As a nurse, I encourage everyone to maintain the cleanliness of your work place and during food preparations. Furthermore, be sure that the ingredients are fresh and safe for human consumption. And also check the expiration dates of each item before using.
“Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.” –Denzel Washington
Hopefully, I did contribute some valuable information regarding the complicated but sweet product of baking. Always remember that “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing”, as what Julia Child said. Never lose hope and keep on practicing by starting from simple to complex recipes. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the moment and keep the passion burning.
Best of luck to everyone!
(CREDITS: https://thenounproject.com/term/oven/629453/, http://cliparts.co/clock-outline,http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/illustration/baking-and-kitchen-silhouettes-royalty-freeillustra tion/457718951, http://www.clipartkid.com/measuring-cup-cliparts/, http://www.istockphoto. co m/illustrations/silhouette-of-a-mixing-bowlsort=best&excludenudiy=true&mediatype=illustration&phrase=silhouette%20of%20a%20mxing%20bowl, lipart -finder.com/strainclipar t.html, http://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/pastry-brush sort=best&excludenudity=true&mediatype=illustration&phrase=pastry%20brush, https:/ /www.aliexpress.com/cake-coolingrack_reviews.h tml, http://www.lakeland.co.uk/in-the-kitchen/baking/bakeware/cake-tins, https://www.shutterstock.com/search/pan+icon, http://www.joyofbaking.com/IngredientSubstitution. html, http://ww w.slideshare.net/kenjoyb/k-to-12-bread-and-pastrylearningmodule, http://www.joyofbaking. com/ConversionsEquivalencies.html.)