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Old 04-10-2004, 07:09 PM   #1
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Basics of Baking

Please excuse my ignorance in baking. But I have a question that's been bothering me. I love to bake, but I feel like I lack a basic knowledge of baking. Like the amount of each ingredient that is needed, and what each does, and ratios of flour to eggs or sugar, or etc. Just those kinds of stuff. Can someone please elaborate?? Thank you.

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Old 04-10-2004, 07:19 PM   #2
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Basically, with baking you need to follow the recipe. You can't really fudge it with ratios etc, as you need to know what end product you are wanting to produce, a feather light sponge, or a dense chocolate cake. Why guess it when someone else has done the work for you?

Once you have mastered the basics, you can play around with your recipes a little, as you get a feel for the ingredients and ratios. I can highly recommend Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess" I am sure there are some great American baking books as well.
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Old 04-10-2004, 09:28 PM   #3
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Joy of Cooking has a lot of information about different foods, spices, techniques, etc. (at least it did when I got mine a zillion years ago--I assume it still does). Kyles is right, you can't bake quite the same way you cook (a little of this and a little of that)--you do have to measure. As she said, once you gain a good understanding of things you can start to play around with your ingredients.

You can probably find Joy of Cooking at your local library. That would be a good way to try it out before deciding if you want it or not.

:) Barbara
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Old 04-11-2004, 02:00 AM   #4
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After 50-odd years of cooking, I've never felt the need to know things like that. If you want to get all scientific and mathematical, you could enrol in a gourmet cooking course, where they go into that sort of thing in detail. For me, I'm happy to follow a recipe, but I'm not afraid to change it a little after the first attempt - add a bit more or less liquid or flour, or omit one of the non-vital ingredients etc.
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Old 04-11-2004, 03:26 AM   #5
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I goto the local store and snag me some bread or cake. :D
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Old 04-11-2004, 04:29 AM   #6
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Ah Sushi, if you ate more home baked cakes and less sushi your delicate tummy would thank you!!! It might be bigger though........

Nothing is more satisfying than baking, in my humble opinion, especially these days when less people bake, you can really impress with quite a simple recipe. We have a bring a plate day at work every so often, and I always bake something, last time I took chocolate dipped strawberries, mini lemon and poppyseed muffins, and tiny pavlovas filled with fruit. It was a winner. Next time I am going to try the fruit sushi ideas we have been chatting about!
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Old 04-11-2004, 08:14 PM   #7
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well, thanx everyone, i guess it's all abt experimenting and just experience.
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Old 04-11-2004, 09:55 PM   #8
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Kyles... I agree with you a 100%. Alas, Im just horrible at baking. I baked bread twice. The government seized my creation for research years ago and I belive are now using it in Iraq to hamper the enemy. :?
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Old 04-21-2004, 09:59 PM   #9
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Try Williams Sonoma Essential of Baking. It has big illustrated recipes with full color photos that leave little to the imagination, it has a full survey of all the classics (bread, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, etc...) and the quality of the recipes is excellent. Also be sure to invest in the essential equipment (a hand mixer, measuring spoons, measuring cups, baking sheet, etc...) and follow the recipes to the last detail.
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Old 04-21-2004, 10:59 PM   #10
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I would recommend "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. It may be alittle technical, but does explain alot & you should be able to learn from it.
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