If you want to start baking and would love to become a creative and confident baker you might be feeling overwhelmed and out of your comfort zone. I get it. There’s just so much information out there it’s difficult to know where to begin. But don’t be disheartened. Like learning any new skill, whether it be a new language or learning how to drive, baking with confidence doesn’t happen overnight.
When I started baking, my goal was to make great tasting bakes for family and friends, I mean there are only so many cookies and cakes one person can eat right?* Baking for others may be your goal too. Whether that’s making your kid’s birthday cakes, or treating your co-workers at the end of the week. Whatever it is that’s spurring you on to pick up that mixing bowl you have to start somewhere and the first step will always be the hardest. To help you on your way to preparing for your first baking session, so you can start your baking journey, here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself before you even step foot in that kitchen.
*If your goal is to bake and keep the fruits of your labour to yourself that’s totally fine too. No judgment here. After all, baking is a scientifically proven mindful activity perfect for alleviating stress.
5 Questions to ask before you start baking.
How much time do I have?
Whether it’s 30 mins, 1hr or more. Schedule this in. Pop it in your diary as you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Knowing how much time you have will make everything else much easier. From finding a recipe to doing any necessary preparation.
What will I bake?
Select a recipe that works for you. Would you prefer something that’s quick to prepare because you need to get it in the oven as soon as possible? Perhaps a longer prep with a quick bake time because we all know what it’s like when the kids ask ‘Is it ready yet?’ for what seems like the millionth time. Whichever you opt for I would always play it safe and add some extra time to whatever recipe you’ve chosen. Especially when trying a recipe for the first time.
How can I prepare?
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a sous chef? Someone to prepare all the ingredients, and layout all the equipment. But in the absence of said chef, you need to do what you can to make sure you’re baking ready. Read through your recipe and see what you can do in advance.
One of my best prep tips that saves me loads of time on the day I want to bake, is to pre-weigh all the dry ingredients. I store these in a tupperware, seal, and label with the contents and the name of the intended recipe. On baking day all I need to do is add the remaining ingredients. You can make up several of these ‘homemade box mixes’ so you’re ready to bake in an instant.
Making rainy days a little less miserable. Other ways you can prepare are to line your tins and cupcake trays and to remember to add any ingredient or equipment you need to your weekly shopping list. This is one that often catches me out leaving me running out to the shops at the last minute.
Definitely not efficient!
How will I keep the kids interested?
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this but here it goes. Kids get bored easily. If the recipe you’ve chosen has any downtime, chilling, resting and of course the baking step itself, this is when you’re likely to lose them. Think about what activities you could fill this time with, getting them to draw a picture of their bake, create a menu or greetings card to accompany it. I love using it as an opportunity to do a quick interactive kitchen science activity or discuss the steps we’ve done asking questions along the way. If you need some inspiration for activities you could do check out my FREE resources available in my content hub.
What would make this baking activity successful?
When you start baking you will have moments where you’ll wonder if all the effort was worth it? Where you vow never to do it again. Especially if you’re baking with kids. This usually is the case when our expectations for a successful bake are too high. We stress about not having those perfect moments. Before you start have a think about what would make it a success for you. Other than it looking and tasting like a Michelin starred chef has baked it. Success can be as simple as your kids having a great time and taking immense pride in what they’ve achieved. You learning a new technique that you didn’t know anything about before. Or just getting through it without swearing. That is a huge achievement!
So the next time you head to the kitchen to start baking. Take a minute. Ask yourself these questions so you’re prepared to start baking with confidence.
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