February    2019

Bake It Happen

Monday,05 Feb 2018 06:06 PM IST

There is a rich and interesting history that revolves around the art of baking that has been around since thousands of years. It was discovered in 2014 in Croatia that the world’s oldest oven was around 6500 years old. In Ancient Greece, bread baking began in around 600 BC. However, according to some sources, Egyptians can be considered as pioneers in baking and their baking can be traced as far back as 2600 B.C. Egyptians are also credited as the ones who first started baking breads using yeast.

These are some interesting facts that show that different techniques of baking and baked goods have always featured in our kitchens since ages. Baking as a hobby adds not only to your skills but enhances your culinary knowledge as well. And those who wish to start their adventure in this field can be rest assured that they will have no dearth of interesting stories, creativity and ideas in life from that point onwards.

There are a lot of factors though that one has to sort out and be clear about before taking this up as a hobby. Being organised and researching about things before starting any new activity is always an added bonus, and this is the case with baking as well. However, when you take up baking at home, a common question that arises is that why bake at home when you can buy readymade things from outside, which taste and look really good and are an economical option as well? To answer this question, baking has a lot of categories and options and even techniques and through thorough research, you can narrow down on what you want to make and the things you would need to make it which helps to avoid unnecessary hoarding. Besides this, baked goods that are homemade are much healthier as you are in control of the materials that you would be using as opposed to readymade goods in which you have no clue as to what ingredients are used for the same.

At the beginning it is always better to start with smaller and simpler things rather than being too ambitious. Along with this be prepared that you might have a lot of disasters at the start. And while there are chances of more fails than wins at the beginning, with practice and experimentation, the success later on is guaranteed with delectable wins.

It is common to be intimidated by baking but experimentation is the key to it like any culinary art. What works for someone else won’t always work for you. One of the secrets to being a good baker or even a good cook for that matter is adding twists and giving a unique personality in the flavour to your dishes. So don’t be afraid to experiment and you will be surprised at the results you may get and the recipes that you would create yourself. With time not only will your culinary senses develop but so will your quick thinking abilities to find solutions as well.

While the entire process from mixing the ingredients to making it is fun, the best part is undoubtedly the decorating. Aesthetics are really important and what makes it so appealing is that you choose how you want to decorate it and what supplies you want to use to decorate it.

One of the main things to remember is to taste, taste, taste. Right from the time you are making the dough or the batter till the time it is done, taste everything. This gives you a better idea about what the dish needs and even later on helps you know what consistency is right. It is pertinent to know these things as the creator of the dish as you can fix it at these stages if something is amiss and this also tremendously helps to create delectable dishes when you’re tweaking the recipes to add your own twist.

Tasting the raw batter and dough as well as checking the consistency and texture especially helps a lot when you’re substituting some ingredient with another. Today baking is no longer about using just all-purpose flour as the main base. You can customise your dishes as per your preferences and use healthier alternatives like whole wheat flour or ragi instead of all-purpose flour, or use jaggery or brown sugar instead of white sugar. These substitutes have the same or better flavours that make sure that you can have your cake and eat it too.

Baking is not just limited to breads and cakes and cookies today. There is so much one can do and learn in this field. It hones your capabilities and quick thinking skills and gives a boost to your artistic abilities. And baking can also be looked at as an investment as well as a hobby. Once you are confident about your skills and develop your speed and abilities, it can be a great career opportunity as well.

(As Compiled by Divya Mistry)

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