Baking Tips for Beginners

Baking Tips for Beginners by Renell Pacrin

At Mima’s Homey, having a bread every day is a must.  My husband’s morning is not complete without coffee and bread.  So when I had an opportunity to enroll in a baking class (bread and pastry production), I have enthusiastically grabbed it.  As I have mentioned earlier, I have self studied baking cookies and cakes, and wanted to have a formal training.  It was summer time when I took the class, I have allowed my daughter (a high schooler during that time) to tag along sometimes and help me with some of my modules.  She also learned how to bake bread and pastries, and she made a Black Forest cake as a father’s day present for her dad.  She even baked perfect cookies compared to mine.  And now that she is already in college, living by herself, and baking her own bread, she made her own homemade yeast. 

When I have started with the first part of the module, which is bread making, I have realized it is not that easy.  I have repeated my pandesal and loaf bread production many times because I was not able to bake them properly after several attempts.  We do not have a heavy duty mixer in our laboratory, hence, we knead our bread dough manually and it was very tiring.  But still, I have learned and highly appreciated that I took the class and passed the assessment.

Baking Tips for Beginners

I would like to share few bread baking tips which I have mostly learned, not from the modules, but from my baking experience. 

Baking Tips for First Timers

1. Have the basic ingredients ready.

Some breads and cakes have similar dough and base, respectively, they only differ in flavors and fillings.  At Mima’s Homey, whenever I bake bread, I have the same dough recipe which can be used for many kinds of breads. This dough recipe can be used for cheese bread, cinnamon bread, dinner roll, French bread, ensaymada, ham & cheese bread, monay, pandecoco, pandesal, stick bread, Spanish bread, toasted siopao, and tuna bread.  I can produce different kinds of bread with a kilogram of flour, which after fermentation, doubles the bread dough size.  By having the following basic ingredients for a generic dough recipe, you are ready to go —

  • bread flour or all purpose flour
  • yeast
  • lard (margarine/vegetable oil/butter/vegetable lard)
  • salt
  • white sugar
  • egg
  • water
  • vanilla (optional)

2. If you want your bread to be more special, you can tweak the recipes.

Try to use milk instead of water. You may also want to enrich your bread dough by adding dried, crushed malunggay leaves.  You can also use wheat flour as an option. If you will use butter, choose the unsalted one. 

Baking Tips for Beginners
Baking Tips for Beginners

3. Bake in a suitable environment.

Always remember that making bread should be done in a warm kitchen, unlike cakes and pastries which are suited for cold kitchen.  You can not use electric fan while kneading, during fermentation, makeup, and proofing because bread dough will get dry.  Bread flour and/or all purpose flour should always be sifted prior to usage.  They are not ideal to be stored in a quite long period of time. 

Baking Tips for Beginners

4. Attend a class and hands-on training experience.

There are so many available baking tips/techniques and tutorials online, as well as cook books created by well-known pastry chefs which can help you learn baking without the need to attend a class.  However, there are things that you will not be able to learn thru self study or even by the book. Attending a class and hands-on training experience is enriching and helpful.  Enjoy baking!

About the Author:

Renell A. Dela Cruz – Pacrin is a development worker (support staff) for seventeen years who loves to cook and bake.  She earned a degree in Secretarial Administration and passed the NC II (National Certificate) in Bread and Pastry Production.  During her free time, she bakes cookies, cakes, and pastries, mostly for her lovely daughter’s packed snacks, family occasions, and sometimes made to order.  Currently self-employed, she focuses more on her spouse’ van rental business, home duties, exploring handicrafts, and taking care of the homey.

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