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The Big Baking How-To.

Updated on January 21, 2015
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Introduction.

You have come to the perfect place, if you are looking for an easy and clear guide on how to get started on your baking journey! Perhaps why baking is such a fun and exciting hobby (and career!) for many, is because there are so many variations and recipes to try, the rewards are delivered within hours and are delicious, and you are always learning new skills, that are useful when cooking other dishes as well! The following is an easy and clear guide on how to make baking essentials such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars, and breads. If you need further clarification, I have also included detailed videos that will give you a visual demonstration of the basics. When you are confident that you have grasped the basics of a specific baked treat, then you can check out any of the three delicious recipes I have included in every treat section. Enjoy the many sweet creations, you can take away from this Hub!

Basic Baking Equipment.

Baking Equipment.
Baking Equipment.
Baking Equipment.
Large Mixing Bowl.
Medium Mixing Bowl.
Electric Handheld Mixer
Stand Mixer.
Muffin Pan.
Cupcake Pan.
Cookie Sheet.
Whisk.
Piping Bag.
Measuring Cups.
Measuring Spoons.
 
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How to Bake.... Cakes.

Chocolate, vanilla, banana.... These are only some of the flavor variations that can be made from the simple cake recipe. Since there are so many different varieties of cakes, the cake tin that you will need to cook your cake in will differ. Although, the most common tin to cook a cake in, is a springform pan. The core ingredients of a (original) cake are flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, and milk. Of course, certain ingredients will be added and subtracted to your cake mixture, depending on the cake you are making. Before you officially start baking, you should set the scene first. What I mean by this is to preheat your oven to the correct temperature, (this is usually 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. However these temperatures can change with different cakes.) and to grease and line your chosen cake pan. When making a cake, it is best to combine all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl first. So this will be your flour, and baking powder- give it a good whisk. Next, you will mix the rest of the ingredients to form a 'wet' mixture that the dry ingredients will be added to. Start off by creaming your butter and sugar together, (you will know that it is creamed, when the mixture looks 'light' and 'fluffy') then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Now it is time to add your dry ingredients. Make sure you give it a good stir with a spoon! When the wet and dry mixtures are combined, you can slowly add the milk- stirring as you do so. Now that you have completed your cake mixture it is time to pour the mixture into your pan and place it in the oven. Baking a cake can take anywhere from 20 minutes- 1 hour. However they are usually within the 20- 30 minute range. If you're unsure as to whether or not your cake is cooked, you can insert a wooden skewer (or knife) into the middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean, your cake is most likely cooked. Once the cooking time is up, you should let your cake cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes- unless you want your hands burnt! These are just some basic instructions on how to go about baking a cake, for further details and recipes, refer to the links and video below!

Recipe for Heavenly White Cake, from Allrecipes.

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How to Bake.... Cookies.

The cookie is an absolute baking classic. Although there are so many different types of cookies, (think; gingerbread, macarons, Anzac's, oatmeal, and sugar cookies, among so many others) there is one in particular that stands out as a true cookie classic. That is the Chocolate Chip Cookie, the cookie that you will be learning to bake in this section. To bake cookies, you will need a cookie sheet, that should have lined with baking paper beforehand. Next, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F or 180 degrees C (this temp may change depending on the type of cookies you are baking.) The ingredients typically needed for baking chocolate chip cookies are flour, baking powder, salt, butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and plenty of chocolate chips! Start by making mixing your 'dry' mixture in a medium-sized bowl. So this would be your flour, baking powder, and salt, give it a good whisk to combine and distribute the ingredients evenly. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together, then add the eggs individually. Making sure that you incorporate one, before adding another. The final ingredient in your 'wet' mixture will be the vanilla essence; which is added at this point. Now that you have finished your separate 'dry' and 'wet' mixtures, you must now combine them together to form the cookie dough! Slowly add the 'dry' mixture to the 'wet' mixture, while stirring with a wooden spoon. Lastly, you must add the chocolate chips to the cookie dough- add as much or as little as you like! With your hands, form balls of approximately one tablespoon, out of the cookie dough, and place them on your prepared baking sheet, and into the oven. For soft-baked chocolate chip cookies, bake for 8-10 minutes, for crispier cookies try 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack, before digging in!

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How to Bake.... Cupcakes.

Cupcakes are essentially gussied-up versions of the trusty cake- that are piped, frosted, and decorated to perfection. To bake cupcakes you will need either a cupcake tin, or a small muffin tin, and paper cases to line the tin with. Before you begin, you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. (temp may change, depending on type of cupcakes.) For a batch of basic vanilla cupcakes, you will need the following ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, butter, white sugar, eggs,milk, and vanilla extract. For a basic buttercream frosting (optional) you will need butter, icing sugar, milk, and your choice of food coloring. First off, start by making your 'dry' mixture in a medium-sized bowl. So this will consist of the flour, baking powder, and salt- give these a good whisk together, to combine and distribute the ingredients evenly. Now that you have made your 'dry' mixture, you can now move on to your 'wet' mixture. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, making sure you incorporate one before adding another, afterwards add the vanilla extract. Now that you have finished your separate 'dry' and 'wet' mixtures, you can slowly add your 'dry' mixture into your 'wet' mixture, while stirring consistently with a wooden spoon. Add the milk at this point. Your cupcake mixture will be rather 'goopy' once mixed- but that's OK. You will now spoon the cupcake mixture into the paper cases, and place the cases and tin into the oven, where you will bake your cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden-brown. If you're really unsure, as to whether or not they are properly baked, you can use the knife/skewer method that was discussed in the cake section. Once the cupcakes have finished baking, take them out to cool on a cooling rack, while you make the frosting. You can decide on whatever frosting is most suitable for your type of cupcake, but if you're looking for a bit of inspiration, here's how to make a tasty buttercream frosting. Start by beating the butter in a large bowl until smooth. Then slowly add the icing sugar, and stir until combined, add the milk. If you want to, you can tint the frosting any color you want, or leave it plain. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a piping bag, or slather on with a knife or spoon!

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How to Bake... Bars.

You probably have the most creative freedom when it comes to making bars- basically any flavor combo that floats your boat, can be combined to make your own custom delicious bars. Luckily, there are many other bakers who have caught on to this concept, as there are now thousands of delicious and unique bar recipes floating around the Interweb. Although, for this section, we are going to stick to the basic goodies; which are brownies, and there polar opposite, blondies. To bake brownies, blondies, or any type of bars, you will need a pan (of any size, although the size you choose, will affect bar size and possibly baking time. I usually use a 9x13 inch pan.) and you must have lined the pan with baking paper beforehand. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. (this temp will change, depending on the type of bars.) For making brownies, you will need the following ingredients; butter, baking chocolate(or cocoa powder), sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, and vanilla extract. For the blondies, you will need butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt, white chocolate buttons (optional). Starting with the brownies, start by melting the butter (and baking chocolate, if your recipe asks for chocolate) over your stove-top, or in your microwave. Then add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract- give it a good whisk, to effectively combine the ingredients. Sift in your dry ingredients; which in this case will be flour, baking powder, (cocoa powder, if you're using it) and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon. pour the brownie mixture into your pan, and place in oven. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, then let cool on a cooling rack, before cutting. For the blondies, you will start by melting the butter, either on the stove-top, or in the microwave. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract- give it a good whisk, to effectively combine the ingredients. Then sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Now add the white chocolate buttons (or your preferred extras) and pour the blondie mixture into your prepared pan. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, and let cool on a cooling rack, before cutting.

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How to Bake... Breads.

It was the first baked good to ever be created, the most versatile, and a modern staple- Bread. There are hundreds of different types of breads in the world, with each country having their own interpretation. For today's tutorial, we're going to learn how to make a basic white bread recipe, which makes a fantastic building block towards learning how to make other, more advanced, types of breads. To bake bread, you can use either a loaf pan, or shape it, and bake it on a typical baking tray. If you're using a loaf pan, make sure you grease it beforehand, or if you're using a baking tray, then just line it with baking paper. Preheat your oven to 392 degrees F or 200 degrees C. (temp will change, depending on type of bread being baked.) To bake white bread, you will need the following ingredients; white flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, and water. First, start by combining your dry ingredients; which in this case are the white flour, salt, and yeast- give it a good whisk, to properly combine and distribute the ingredients. Now form a well in the center of this mixture, and pour in your oil and water. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Next, tip the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins, before placing the dough in a large greased bowl and covering it, and leaving it to rise for an hour. After an hour, punch the dough in the center, (known as 'knocking back' the dough) then shape the dough into either two equally sized rounds if you're using a loaf pan, or shape it into one large circle if you're using a baking tray. Then allow to sit for an extra hour to 'prove'. Afterwards, place the baking tray or loaf pan into the oven for 25-30 mins, or until you can hear a hollow sound when you knock on the base of the bread.Take your bread out from the oven, then let cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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