No, this is not me jumping on the pandemic-baking frenzy bandwagon. This has truly been a goal in my adult life since baking doesn’t come naturally to me the way cooking does. Cooking is in my blood, my very DNA. My whole family cooks- and enjoys it! It’s just what we do, ya know?
But, baking was never my forte. I think I just didn’t have the patience for it. I could riff on a recipe when cooking, but you cannot do that with baking. Baking is scientific and precise. You have to respect the process and I just did not have time for that when I was younger.
I think my real journey of baking and bread making began when I met my mother-in-law, Kathy, in 2001. She was such a wonderful baker! She made it seem like the easiest thing in the world. Trust me, it’s not! I watched her make braided challahs, rolls, biscuits, cakes, and cookies for years to learn all her tricks. Here are the top five things I learned from her:
- Make sure you’re using the right type of flour, sugar, and salt. The wrong gluten content, grind, or additives can ruin your recipe.
- Know when to sift your dry ingredients. Sifting mixes them together evenly and helps with the finished texture.
- Read the recipe, get out your ingredients, then BEFORE you start, read the recipe AGAIN. This way you’re less likely to make a mistake. I learned this the hard way!
- Take your time. If it says whip for 5 minutes, do it. If it says knead for 10 minutes, set that timer. I think whoever said, “Patience is a virtue,” was a baker.
- Let your breads and cakes cool all the way before you try to frost, slice, or otherwise manipulate them. Once, I almost cried when a carrot cake fell apart in my hands and the cream cheese frosting started to melt!
Below are some of my baking and bread making adventures from the last few years! I think she’d be proud, don’t you?
Oh my gosh, just looking through all those photos made me hungry! I think it’s time for some good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. Who’s with me?!
‘Til next time, thanks for stopping by Raebird’s House!