“I’ve been wanting to get into baking for a while now and I’m just not sure where to start.”
That was a question in one of the baking groups I'm in. If this is you, I have lots of ideas, including one that may surprise you. We're going to start in the baking aisle of your grocery store.
Before we go, be sure to check out a list of Baking Books for Beginners I drafted for you.
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What to Bake If You're a Beginner
If you’re brand, brand new, never baked anything, never watched anyone bake anything, start with a mix like a box of brownie mix or a box of cake mix.
Go to the baking aisle of your favorite supermarket and look for a box of something that looks appealing to you.
This may sound like an odd suggestion from a food blogger who believes there should always be a batch of homemade cookie dough in your freezer, but if you’re really new, baking a brownie or cake from a box mix will help you get familiar with the motions of baking.
A box mix or a tube of slice and bake cookies from your grocer’s refrigerated section will help you learn how your oven acts. It might run hot or cool. Or certain areas of your oven may have hot spots.
You’ll need, depending on what the back of the box says, an egg or two and some canola or vegetable oil.
A bowl, a spoon, a measuring cup or measuring spoons and a baking pan will be all you need for equipment.
You can mix up all of these baking mixes in one bowl with a spoon and bake them in pretty much any size baking pan you have--8x8, 9x9 or 9x13.
Depending on pan size, your baking time will vary.
Be sure to set a timer on your phone or oven so you know when to pull out your baked goods.
An oven thermometer is a tool that can make a big difference in how your baked goods turn out.
Starting your baking journey with box mixes should give you easy wins, which will give you confidence to try other recipes such as basic pie recipes.
Don’t freak out, I wouldn’t suggest learning how to make pie crust from scratch just yet, unless you’re feeling really confident.
Two really simple pie recipes, for newbies in the kitchen are Key Lime Pie and Easy White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Pie. Both use graham cracker crusts that you can find in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
Pecan Pie and
Pumpkin pie are simple too.
Now that you’ve got a few boxed brownies and basic pies under your apron, try baking cookies from scratch.
Start baking cookies using a drop cookie dough.
Be sure to read the recipe at least twice before getting started and pull out your ingredients so you know you have everything you need on hand.
Three drop cookie recipes good for new bakers include:
Bar cookies are another option for new bakers.
After you make a few batches of drop cookies or bars, try your hand at making shortbread cookies.
Shortbread cookies are nice because there are minimal ingredients involved and most are slice and bake. That means you’ll form the dough into a log, which you’ll slice into cookies after the dough has chilled.
Sometimes, shortbread cookie dough can be frustrating to work with, which is why I left it for my last suggestion for you.
Shortbread can be dry and crumbly and sometimes will just refuse to be formed into any sort of cookie that doesn’t shatter into a million bits.
But don’t throw those bits away. In fact, never throw away cookies that don’t turn out. Unless, that is, you've burnt them to a crisp.
Give those problem cookies a chance at a new life!
Grind them up into crumbs in a food processor and store them in your freezer for later. Those crumbs could become a cookie crust for a pie or for bars, like S’mores Bars. (add crushed grahams if you don’t quite have enough crumbs).
How to Start Baking Tips
- read baking cookbooks and magazines
- watch tutorials on Youtube
- make a list of your favorite flavors/baked goods that you want to replicate
- create a baking pantry so you’re ready when the inspiration strikes
- get an oven thermometer so you know if your oven runs hot or cold
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