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The Basics of Baking With Vanessa Parish

The Basics of Baking With Vanessa Parish

Ready. Set. Wait! That’s basically what you do when you start baking. You learn a lot of patience. Waiting for the dough to rise, waiting for the pie to bake, waiting for the cheesecake to set, etc. Starting your baking journey is fun and exciting but requires a deal of precision. What you need to start your baking goals is to have the basic ingredients and tools in your kitchen. 

Your Shopping List

  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Flours ( All Purpose is best, but invest in Bread Flour and Cake Flour too) 
  • Sugars ( Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Powdered Sugar) 
  • Salt (Kosher is the baking standard) 
  • Cocoa Powder 
  • Oil  (Canola oil, Vegetable Oil, Coconut Oil) 
  • Eggs
  • Milk 
  • Vinegar 
  • Yeast
  • Cornstarch 
  • Unsalted Butter 
  • Cream Cheese
  • Extracts
  • Spices
  • Nuts
  • Food Coloring 
  • Chocolate Chips ( Dark Chocolate, Semi-Sweet Chocolate and White Chocolate)  

Your Tools List

  • Pastry Brush
  • Large and Small Offset Spatula 
  • Mixer ( Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer) 
  • Nonstick and Heatproof Silicone Spatula
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons ( Most American recipes are volumetric) 
  • Kitchen Thermometer 
  • Whisk
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Different Baking Pans ( for cakes, cupcakes, bunts, loaves, pies, etc) 
  • Measuring Scale ( the most beneficial way to measure ingredients is via weight) 

You will see these ingredients and tools constantly in your recipes. Having your kitchen stocked will give you ease and confidence right from the start!

Baking Hacks Before You Start

Make sure your ingredients are room temperature. Cold dairy and eggs will seize and clump your mixtures. When you look at your recipe, read the ingredients first and then make sure you read the WHOLE recipe start to finish before you begin. Like I said previously, there are alot of waiting periods in baking so you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to start a new recipe and what is required.

Measure out all of your ingredients before you begin to save you time and headache. In the professional world we call this mise en place( mi zɑ̃ plas) which means everything in its’ place. Don’t get frustrated, have fun! If you make a mistake, most often than not you’re going to have to start over. Don’t forget baking is chemistry and you are mixing a ton of chemical reactions to achieve a tasty treat! Every oven is different; the basics are gas, electric and convection. You often won’t know what type of oven the recipe developer used until you get to know your oven, so pay attention to temperatures and bake times.

What Should I Bake First?

Now that you’ve got your tools and you know what you’re looking at, what do I bake?? I always tell my students to start off with cookies and cakes. They are simple ingredients, mix fairly easy and bake well too. Your wait time is often not as long and you’ll feel so accomplished when you achieve the perfect chocolate chip cookie! Once you feel more confident, try for a cheesecake or brownie then move on to breads and croissants! There are so many things you can achieve once you take things step by step and the basics! 

If you want to know more about baking, baking substitutions for different dietary lifestyles, and recipes, let us know in the comments! What do you want to see next? 
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