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Where to start?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
While I love cooking a lot, baking and deserts have never been one of my strong suits, but I really would like to improve and was kinda curious where was the best place to start? What kind of things should I start making and work on that would be good at honing my skills but if I make a small mistake won't be a complete disaster?

your experience and advice is much appreciated

~James~
post #2 of 6

Dude, as someone who has just started baking, I would HIGHLY recommend Peter Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice. It is so informative. I just did some cinnamon rolls that used a brioche bread base, and I didn't find it difficult. Here is why I recommend trying something like a brioche(more specifically, Reinhart's brioche recipe)

1) You get to learn how to make a sponge(or a starter).
2) You learn what it means to "retard" the dough.
3) You get to use the Bertinet Method of kneading(it's not discussed in the book, but it is highly recommended for sweet breads and a demonstration can be found on youtube)
4) It gives you the opportunity to either practice making cinnamon rolls or crafting the brioche shape if you decide not to make cinnamon rolls.

Though it is a very sticky dough, I think that if you succeed in working it correctly it will give you a lot of confidence in moving forward. It was very fun for me!

*Side note: Although the blog Foodwishes primarily focuses on savory dishes, he actually has a fair amount of desserts and has the most informative videos on how to make them. Seriously, if you haven't heard of this blog, check it out! He must have a thousand videos, and he's pretty hilarious too! Great stuff :).

Best of luck,

Pat

post #3 of 6

+1 on the bread.

 

Beyond that, what do you like?  What do you and yours want to eat?

 

Crepes are a nice place to start -- they take just a little practice to get right, are pretty quick, and are applicable to savory as well as sweet applications.

post #4 of 6
Check out Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. (Disclaimer- I have not actually read this book, only read some reviews). It sounds, to me, like he really breaks down how the different ingredients react with each other in terms that are easy to grasp by the average lay person. Not sure if it is any good, but it sounds like a nice place to start, and I hope I can find it at the library next time I can make it there.

After that, I think that crepes are a good idea. They're simple, but its all about the technique, kinda like making a beurre blanc.
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #5 of 6
Sorry, my phone was acting funny, it cut me of before I was done.

Then try some quick breads. Banana bread, zucchini bread, muffins, Apple cake. Very forgiving, very rewarding. Now try pizza dough. More forgiving than a loaf of bread, but the technique is very similar. If that's no problem, try making some bread. Ciabata, is fun and mixed by hand, a machine would over work the dough. Then if you find that you are good at this baking stuff, try tackling croissants, baguettes, the perfect flaky pie crust...
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
thanks guys! It's definitely hard to pin "what I like" because I think I eat everything (I'm a 19 year old boy what do you expect?) This definitely gives me an idea, I feel when I work my way to pizza dough I'll spend a while there trying to figure out the perfect pizza dough, because I love making sauces more than anything for any kind of food. Once again thanks for the advice, it gives me a good starting point once winter break starts (I'm gonna have a lot of free time, and my siblings will be very excited for fresh cinnamon rolls haha)
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