If my text messages or website traffic are any indication, people are rediscovering, or at least trying, the joys (and some frustrations!) of baking homemade bread and pizza during the quarantine. Nothing could make me happier. I’m filling up my freezer with lots of anxiety baking. It might not help my waistline but it is helping my mental health during these strange times.
Essential for baking, sugar goes way beyond just making things sweet. In combination with other recipe ingredients it performs many other essential functions in producing great tasting cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
In its most basic form, sugar, refined from sugar beets and sugar cane, is almost 100% sucrose, a combination of two simple sugars: fructose and glucose.
I prefer baking to cooking because the details matter. I like sweating the details and knowing that if I follow the recipe I should get a predictable result. I’ve read a lot of cookbooks, baking books, magazines and articles about baking all sorts of things. These are the 5 simple tips I’ve come to believe will make you a better baker.
If you’re a baker, you’ve likely been in this position. You’re gathering ingredients, or worse, you are halfway through a recipe, and realize you don’t have enough of the type of flour needed. What do you do? Can you swap in another kind and still expect the same results? How will the texture and finished product be affected?
Not gonna lie. This pretzel focaccia is the best kind of recipe: an impressive result but much easier to make than it appears to be.
It’s perfect for every day snacking, converting to sandwich bread, or feeding a big crowd. And you likely have all the ingredients you need sitting in the pantry right now.
After I pushed the girls out the door and they made the bus by the skin of their teeth yet again, I went upstairs to get dressed and found both their lights on, one bed unmade, clothes on the floor and…the list could go on. You get the idea. I’ve told them a million times and yet…still a mess.
I got dressed and went to my desk mildly fuming and….found picture frames still not hung up. A computer still running Windows 7. A fish tank that could be cleaned. Plants slowly dying on the bookshelf. How many times had I been told or told myself to do these things and they still weren’t done?
That was my Dad epiphany this week. Like most weeks, it wasn’t all that profound but jeez kids spend a lot of their days getting commands, demands and requests thrown at them. Maybe cut them a little slack. Or at least a little understanding. Maybe finally hanging up those pictures will show them it’s hard for me too but I’m trying. Worst case, Michelle will have one less thing to do on a Saturday.
I like baking because of the science and the precision. Cooking you have a little more leeway to freelance but if you do that in baking chances are you’re going to end up with something that doesn’t resemble the picture in the cookbook. So, check your pantry right now. Do you have natural or Dutch cocoa powder? Can you substitute one for the other?