ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Defying the Rules of Baking

Updated on April 28, 2017

From a young age we are taught to bake with impeccable accuracy and I'm sure we have all spent countless minutes obsessing over getting just the right amount of flour on the weighing scales, convinced that the smallest fluctuation will have disastrous effects on our end product.

Coming from a a family where baking was not our most frequent use of the kitchen, I had to rely on a bit of maths ( I'm sure we can all do ) to stop my meringues from turning into scrambled eggs. I had to find my own way around the kitchen by using the grand old method of trial and error. That's how the masters learn their trade.

Baking without rules can be very interesting and rewarding as long as you get the basics right. After that, everything just spirals into controlled chaos.

Knowing the Basic Ingredients


Sticking to a strict recipe will keep your sponges nice and level, but not knowing why we put individual ingredients into our mixing bowls can leave us puzzled when our final product doesn't turn out how we'd like it. Knowing why we put things into our bakes can help us to understand what we've made and how to tweak things to make it better. Once you know the basics of what goes into a Victoria Sponge or a chocolate cookie you can adapt the recipes to suit your taste buds.

  • Flour is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you gather your ingredients. Flour is the structure of the bake and basically what gives it substance. It contains proteins called gluten which gets stretched out by the baking powder or yeast to give the final products a light and fluffy texture.
  • Eggs also add structure an texture to a cake but can be substituted out if needed.
  • Sugar as well as sweetening the product it caramelises in the heat of the oven giving it that golden brown colour that we always look for.
  • Butter and oil add moisture to the cake which makes it melt in your mouth.
  • Milk as well as liquidising the mixture to make it the required consistency, also adds structure to the bake.
  • Yeast and baking powder are rising agents which make the flour rise in different ways.

These are the basics once you have mastered your way around these, baking simply becomes an experiment from which you will get disasters and wonders.

Scales and Proportion


A good baker always tells you to measure each ingredient out to the gram, however this isn't always available to all of us and some of us might just be lazy. There is a way to make quality bakes without loosing your mind over a small fault in the scales.

I did this by my use of proportions. It's pretty simple really, start with just one ingredient (butter's a good example) and just put a good share of it into the mixing bowl. You can add more later if you need to. Then use proportions to add in your next ingredient. So for example if you had 50g of butter and you needed to add 20g of sugar, you would need to try and measure out 2/5s of the butter you already have. To help you do this, you can put the butter in a tall jar and mark on where you need to fill the sugar to. This is a good rough tuner, but to fine tune, you will need experience in knowing what a mixture is supposed to feel like when you have added the right amount of each ingredient.

Another method you can use for finer measurements is the use of tablespoons. A quick Google will tell you how many grams are in a tablespoon of whatever substance you need.

Even with good accuracy, it is very helpful to know when a mixture is ready and to know the consistency of the batter you are trying to make. If you don't get there first try, just add some more milk or flour to achieve the desired consistency.

With perseverance and a bit of trial and error, you'll be making perfect sponges.

The Kitchen is your Lab


Personally, I think the most important thing to remember when you're baking without rules is to remember that your kitchen is a lab, a place to experiment and discover new concepts. Experiment with different flavours and don't be afraid of failure. Some of the best things we make are mistakes.

“Baking and love go hand in hand, for as one bakes a tasty treat and fills the room with its sweet aroma, the true joy is to take what has been made and share it with another.”
― Heather Wolf,

© 2017 Neha Abraham


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Spanish Food profile image

      Lena Durante 

      20 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      I really enjoyed reading this, because you're a baker after my own heart! I never really follow a recipe exactly. I think it's more fun to work intuitively, but that only works if you have the experience to know what consistency things should be, etc. Once you have some practice, you can let go a little more and trust your instincts.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)