Want to become a better home baker? Pssst…. Let’s tell you a secret – You have to keep on practicing and learning.
Here in today’s post, we’ve come up with a list of traits and essential skills that all amateur bakers should know. How many of these skills do you already have mastered?
Traits that all Bakers Should Inculcate:
Cultivate Organizational Skills
Baking is indeed a master act of juggling. You need to have a sharp mind to organize everything – from forward thinking what ingredients you need to work your way through stages of the recipe, you have to stay alert at all times.
When you’re a baker, you have plenty of things to think ahead. To give a simple example, you need to make sure that your ingredients are at room temperature and your oven is pre-heated before you even begin making the batter.
Also, it doesn’t work out if you find that halfway through the process, you’re missing a key ingredient. Baking needs plenty of organizational skills that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the recipe – Wiping down the kitchen between steps, cleaning and reusing measuring cups, weighing ingredients before use, preparing the necessary equipment and more.
It’s no wonder that they say – baking is a science. Like scientists who work in the labs with accurate and precise steps, you have to be organized in the kitchen.
Pay Attention to Detail
Accuracy is very important in baking. Unlike cooking, where you can eyeball ingredients and innovate along the way, baking is a precise science, where you have to follow instructions to the T (especially during the initial stages).
Slightly varying oven temperatures or using baking soda instead of baking powder (if you aren’t sure what’s the purpose of each, then we’ve got an excellent article on the differences between baking soda and baking powder, right here) could cause all your efforts to go waste.
You need to pay careful attention each step of the way. Start by carefully reading the recipe at least twice. Then measure and assemble all the ingredients you need. Make sure to read ingredient labels to ensure that you’re using the right ones and invest in standard measuring equipments and an oven thermometer.
Work on your Co-ordination Skills
As a baker, you need to have excellent hand-eye coordination. No worries if it doesn’t come naturally to you. You can acquire it with practice. Baking skills like piping, making intricate sugar fondant decorations, painting on cakes, using a palette knife, kneading dough all require time and effort to learn.
Some of these skills even take years to master. If you really want to develop your baking skills, then online tutorials are a good place to start. You can even book a baking class here at Gurgaon Bakers and get expert guidance from our talented bakers at one-on-one sessions.
Master the Art of Being Patient
Many beginner bakers skip over crucial steps because they aren’t patient enough. All common baking processes like mixing, creaming and whisking require tons of patience.
Baking isn’t something that is finished within two minutes. A vast majority of tasks in baking require plenty of time. Whether you’re waiting for the yeast to activate and make your bread dough rise, whisking a custard until all lumps are eliminated, stirring until a filling reaches a particular smooth consistency or creaming sugar and butter to achieve the satiny finish – all processes take time.
Don’t be tempted and take the short cut by fast forwarding these critical stages. Being patient makes all the difference between a sunken cake and a perfectly risen sponge.
Let your Creativity Flow
All dessert recipes that you love, and relish are all created by cooks and bakers who wanted to do something out of the ordinary. To become an expert baker, you have to develop a flair for it – you should know which flavours work together and how to create something that is experimental but tasty.
You can also express your creativity through new styles of cake decorating. This can be anything from the gravity-defying cake styles or the mirror glaze cakes that have been trending for some time now.
Ok, now that we’ve spoken about the traits that all bakers should possess, let’s take a look at the,
Basic skills that all Aspiring Bakers need to Acquire:
Identifying the “Stiff Peaks” stage with Accuracy
Be it a swiss meringue buttercream or fresh cream, you need to form stiff peaks for the right consistency. You’ll have to whisk egg whites vigorously with an electric whisk. After some time the egg whites get a glossy sheen and begin to hold their shape. This stage is known as “Soft Peaks”. You know you have the right consistency when you whip the peaks so that they retain their shape even after tipping the bowl upside down.
Perfecting the Method of Creaming Batter
When it comes to cake batter, there are two main ways to make it. The first is the one-bowl method, where all the ingredients, both liquid and dry are added into a single bowl and mixed together to form the batter.
The second and most common method is creaming. Here, you mix butter and sugar until it becomes soft, creamy and fluffy. Following this you add the eggs gradually and then fold in the dry ingredients to get an airy and light batter.
Perfecting the method of creaming will help you whip up different batters quickly and with confidence.
Basic Piping Techniques
You need to master a few piping techniques if you want to make your creations look pretty. For this, you need to have a steady hand. Squeeze the bag gently from the top to release the frosting in a smooth flow. Once you’ve perfected the basics, you can apply it on all desserts like eclairs, macarons, cakes, cookies and more
Ok, this is one skill you really knead to know (ok, we couldn’t let go of this pun). Kneading is essential to elongate and develop the gluten strands in the dough. Once you begin to knead, you can notice that it begins to stretch and become more elastic and malleable. You can know you’ve got the perfect texture, when you stretch a small piece between your fingers and it doesn’t break. A perfectly kneaded dough lets you see through it.
Sifting the Flour
For a fluffy light sponge, you have to sift the flour at least three times. There’s a technique to sifting the flour – the higher you lift the sieve the more your flour gets aerated. Also make sure to use a large metal spoon, while folding the dry ingredients into the wet bowl. Avoid using a wooden spatula as the mixture tends to lose air.
Baking is an art as well as a science. If you want to learn the ropes, then the best way is to learn from the masters. Consider enrolling in a professional baking class in Gurgaon. Here, at Gurgaon Bakers, we conduct regular baking classes – both as group sessions as well one-on-one sessions. Get in touch with us to find the right class and become a master baker in no time.
Baking ain’t your cup of tea? No worries, you can order the best cakes from our kitchen by clicking here.