How can I learn to bake desserts?

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Answered by: Tiffany, An Expert in the Desserts and Baking - General Category
Learning to bake desserts can be a rewarding, not to mention delicious undertaking. Few things can compare to the joy you see on people's faces when they sample one of your creations. Yet there are those people who will miss out on this experience because they think that baking is too complicated, or that it was some special power that only their grandmother possessed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As with any other skill, baking can be learned with repetition and practice.

I suggest starting with a simple recipe, like shortbread or plain white cake. These recipes involve combining simple ingredients, yet the results are always tasty. It's also helpful to keep a book of basic baking terms near your cookbook, in case your cookbook doesn't already include one, for those times when you run across terms you're unfamiliar with. You may find it a great relief that "folding in the flour" isn't as difficult as it sounds. Also before you start baking, look around your kitchen and become acquainted with it. Familiarize yourself with your cooking and baking utensils. Go out and buy a set of measuring cups and spoons if you don't have them already. A good hand mixer is also essential, but a good mixing spoon will do as well.

It's important to regularly practice baking, and get feedback from trusted taste-testers (These shouldn't be hard to come by!). And by all means, don't become discouraged when your cake falls or your cookies are burned around the edges. Making these mistakes is an essential part to learning what to do and what not to do.

When you become comfortable with one recipe, try a different one that is advanced enough to challenge you, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. As you advance to more intricate recipes, you'll gain more confidence in your ability to bake desserts.

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