Baking away the quarantine blues? Anushree Bansal shares basic pointers for every new baker
Millennials finally have the time to recreate scrumptious baked goodies from their Instagram feed; but baking a cake is hardly a cakewalk. Even if you plan on baking something basic like bread, or cookies or mug cakes it’s really important to be sure of what you can do and the kind of time and energy you can devote in the kitchen.
Home baker Anushree Bansal who runs the Kolkata-based bakery Whisk- Home Made Treats ventured into baking quite organically. She just wanted a batch of healthy cookies for her son, that are not all sugar and white flour. And now, she runs one of the best gourmet bakeries in town; the baker only uses natural flours, natural sweeteners like jaggery or honey and is making desserts sinless again. And we asked the baker to share a basic dummy’s guide which every new baker should keep in mind:
Think about what you want to bake
If you’re really new to cooking and have never baked before you obviously can’t go for a black forest cake on your first go. It’s always advisable to start with something simple, which needs only a few basic ingredients, like cookies. I started with cookies for my son, which then propelled me towards extensive baking. But most new bakers only bake on occasion for their friends or if they find the time, and millennial bakers especially don’t often want to be stuck inside the kitchen for more than an hour.
Keep all equipment at the ready
Go through the recipe several times to see if you already have access to everything you need from baking paper to mould cutter. You cannot be midway through your batter and then realize you don’t have an essential ingredient. Which is also why you need to choose simpler ingredients because so many things aren’t available right now. So bring it down to the one recipe, which is simple enough and not too ingredient-heavy.
Do not make your own alterations to the recipe
Many new bakers make changes to the recipe to bring in different flavours or to try things their way. But most amateaur bakers don’t know what reacts badly with what or how one single small ingredient change can totally ruin a recipe. And the last thing you need amid a lockdown is to waste food, so please don’t go your own way and stick to the recipe. A visual aid usually helps bakers so if your recipe is a little unusual, try to find something that’s closest to the thing you’re making.
Oven size doesn’t matter
I luckily had access to a 50 litre oven in my kitchen when I started baking, but that’s not something every baker needs. A standard 28/30 litre over counter oven or OTG should do just fine.
Do not improvise on measurements
One strong point every new baker should be careful about is ratio or quantities. Even if someone is pursuing baking as a hobby, it is quite scientific when you break it down. If you change the ratio of even one ingredient you have to proportionally reduce the others too. For example, in case your recipe is meant for 12 cookies but you want to bake only 6 to try out .. reduce all the ingredients by half in quantity.