Complete newbie

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by spamvicious, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. spamvicious

    spamvicious New Member

    Sep 3, 2018
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    Yorkshire, England
    Hi everybody,

    I'm Sam 35/f and I've recently fallen in love with baking. I'm usually a disaster in the kitchen but I've recently started baking with my niece and found a real passion for it. If anyone has any tips/advice for starting out I'd be very happy to hear them.

    spamvicious, Sep 3, 2018
    Norcalbaker59 likes this.
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  2. spamvicious

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2017
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    Northern California
    Hello and welcome to the forum. I’m pleased to hear you’ve discovered a passion for baking. I’ve been baking for about 20 yrs and am still very passionate about it.

    For a newbie these are the things I would recommend to become a better baker and achieve good results.

    1. Scale: purchase a food scale and learn to bake by metric weight. Baking is all science, a chemical reaction between the ingredients and the heat. Because of that the ratio of ingredients to the flour is very important for consistent results. Measuring by volume (cups) is very in accurate.

    No two ingredients weigh the same; One cup of flour weighs approximately 120 g; 1 cup of sugar weighs approximately 200 g; one cup of butter weighs approximately 226 g. Depending how you fill a measuring cup, you could cram up to 25% more flour in a measuring cup. But if you bake by metric weight 120 g will always be 120 g.

    2. Metal pans: The type of metal will determine how heat is conducted into your batters and doughs. Dark metal, anodized aluminum, and non-stick treated metals conduct heat more intensely. As a result they cause over browning, They cause cake batter to set to quickly on the outside while the center remains uncooked. The result is a cake crust is too brown, dry and chewy and the center looks like a volcano, raised and cracked.

    Natural and treated metal produces the best results.

    3. Shelf life: most ingredients have a shelf life. When I open a package I mark the date on the outside. While some ingredients like baking powder and baking soda, granulated sugar and turbinado sugar are good indefinitely, all purpose and bread flour have a shelf life of 12 months; whole wheat flour 3 months; nuts 3 months; chocolates 12 months; brown sugar 18 months; yeast 6 to 12 months.

    A lot of baking site list baking soda and baking powder as having a shelflife. Sodium bicarbonate is a naturally occurring substance that is mined from the earth. It’s thousands of years old. It is not going to suddenly go bad from sitting in the pantry for 6 months.

    Creaming butter: just about every recipe out there will tell you to cream butter and sugar using room temperature butter. This is incorrect. Start with cold better. Leading causes friction heat. If you start with room temperature butter by the time the butter is properly creamed it is going to be too warm. When butter is too warm it will begin to break.

    Because creaming butter is so vital to many recipes, it’s important to do it properly.

    Hope to hear about your cooking adventures here. Happy Baking.
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 3, 2018
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  3. spamvicious

    Becky Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2013
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    Welcome to the forum @spamvicious! Great to have you here :)
    Becky, Sep 6, 2018
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