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Old 05-06-2011, 10:47 AM   #1
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The Baker vs The Cook.

I have always thought this to be true, but was wondering if you bakers here were distinctly more proficient (even confident) at desserts (baking) than you are at general cooking?

Myself, I have never been a good baker, and as such have usually tended towards mixes and pre-made stuff. Even for dinner parties, I am much more inclined to BUY the dessert, even if I have made an exquisite meal.

Another example: My former mother-in-law couldn't make a simple pasta dish to save her life, but cookies and cakes were to die for from her kitchen.

I don't know. Is it the precise measuring thing perhaps?

Thoughts?

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Old 05-06-2011, 10:53 AM   #2
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I think it's where your particular passion lays. I'm a semi-confident general cook, but my passion is in baking. I look for reasons to bake and read bakery recipes like a good novel.

Baking is also a challenge for me. I enjoy learning and doing things that are complex and challenging. It gives me a sense of true accomplishment.

And in the case of baking, practice certainly helps!
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:56 AM   #3
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I can do both and do very well, but my passion is cooking. I just enjoy baking.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:05 PM   #4
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i plain dislike baking- too mathmatical, too few allowances for creativity. i'll stick w/ cooking!~
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:09 PM   #5
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I grew up baking - made my first Christmas dessert when I was 8 - okay, it wasn't baking, it was Broken Glass, made with Jello and whipping cream. But I very quickly got into cakes and cookies. I also started cooking at around 11. When I finally got to go to school and was trying to pick, I decided on culinary. However, all my off time was spent hanging around the pastry kitchens and picking up all knowledge I could. I planned to go back for pastry but never did. Instead I continued to practice what I learned by osmosis there, and train under an awesome catering chef. When I started with my own catering business I realized that I loved planning the menus, but equally loved handing the execution over to my assistants and working on the wedding cakes and other desserts.

Now that I have retired from catering for health reasons (and only do the odd cake), I am finding my passion for culinary is coming back....partly thanks to the GCC Challenges here!
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:09 PM   #6
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I'm also good at both baking and cooking. Better at cooking as I haven't learned all the secrets to great baking.

In our home, I leave most of the baking to SO who enjoys it and has the patience to do the sometimes fussy work that goes with it.
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:00 PM   #7
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Oh, I should add, I do not do bread! Though with FrankZ's help I did make some pretty good sour dough awhile ago and when my pan arrives I am going to try my hand at New England hot dog buns!
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:03 PM   #8
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We all tend to cook more than we bake in todays world. I am pretty good at both when it comes to home cooking and basic baking but, I was taught the basics and was expected to memorize them just like basic math. That sounds odd in todays world but, it makes baking easier if you have a solid foundation. I need much more work on presentation so I try to take the time to practice when I am doing my daily cooking. This creates confidence for me.
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:11 PM   #9
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I don't like "fussing" with things. My food is always tasty, but my presentation SUCKS! So if a baking project it supposed to be gorgeous...well...NOT. It will taste heavenly though. I like to bake more than I like to cook I guess. I'm pretty fair at both though. I just like to learn and experiment with what tastes good to my family.

I know most folks say baking is more precise than cooking, but I've not found it so. Maybe I just have a good eye or something but my measurements are often, shall we say, less than precise. Its rare for me to have a baking disaster though. (Unless I forget to put the sugar in! )
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:28 PM   #10
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>>baking vs cooking

you may have heard somewhere.... baking is a science, cooking is an artform (g)

there's a lot of truth to that - although not to the 200%

in a cooking / recipe dish, a little more / less of x, y, z "to taste" is not likely to ruin the dish.

in baking, the chemistry does need to be more precise. something like "gosh, I'm out of baking powder, I'll just omit it" probably won't work out so well....

otho, "fillings" to tarts, pies, turnovers, popovers, whatever - you can easily substitute fruit for dates, for example - if you hate dates....

bakers are prone to using scales and weighing things. it is probably the best method to achieve "consistency" - avoids the "gosh, last time it worked" issue.

pastry baking - including many many "deserts" - can involve a lot more prep/steps - not to mention a long list of seemingly unintelligible "ingredients" - a pinch of this, grated rind of that.....
some folk enjoy the detail, some folk just like to "wing it"
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