Chef-In-Residence

Baking 101: 3 Things You Need To Know To Get Started

by Edwan S. Photography FriedChillies on Wed, October 01, 2014

Baking is a great aspect of cooking. Breads, cookies and cakes are all within reach once you get to grasp with the basic concepts and tips on baking. So check this simple starter list out!

Baking Is An Art and Science!

One of the greatest things in the world to a food lover is the moment a freshly baked loaf of bread or delectable cake comes out of the oven. The smell hits you just right and you find yourself salivating over the prospect of eating it. Even watching people bake can be inspirational and make you want to start baking yourself. So before you invest in that two-tier oven or expensive mixer, we've prepared the most basic of baking tips to get you going.

Not All Flour Is Created Equal
You read that right. Though there is a ‘general purpose’ flour, once you really get into baking you need to know the different types available. This is important because different kinds of flour have differing protein content and will yield varying products. To start of with, it’s enough to know these 2: soft flour has lower protein content and makes crisper, crumblier items. This is best for cakes and cookies. Strong or hard flour has a higher protein content and is great for breads and pizzas because it gives you a stretchier, chewier finished product. As you bake more, you’ll find other kinds of flours like high-protein, superfine and more. Knowing which flour to use for which product ensures your recipes are done right.

It Is As Much Science As It Is Art
It’s cool to see a master baker in action: every move, every step and every measurement seems to be done with a certain grace that comes from years of practice. But as much as we’d like to believe in the romance, baking is actually a pretty complicated science. There is a rhyme and reason to every movement: for example how to mix in butter into flour or how to knead and shape bread. Even differences in temperature are huge factors in determining if a baked product will be a success. Study the techniques and try out recipes and don’t worry if you screw up the first few times. It’s great to learn from mistakes and it will only set you up to be a better baker in the long run.


Mix well, my friend, and a good dough is not far away


Accuracy Is Key
Unlike regular cooking, baking (and pastry work) is an exact science. Whereby when you cook, say, a stew you can pretty much throw things in and it might still turn out great, in baking every measurement and step is crucial to the finished product. Baking recipes aren’t a random set of ingredients brought together but rather a list that has been tried and tested to actually work.


Even rolling needs accuracy ok!

You can’t just throw a bunch of ingredients in a mixture and expect to make a cake or turn out a perfect crusy French loaf. The ratio of flour to water or butter or sugar must always be exact for optimum results. So make sure you have the necessary measuring tools! At the very least, get a digital scale and a set of measuring spoons.

So that’s to get you started. Now read up on baking books and crank that oven to get going!

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