Have you been spending more time in your kitchen during the lockdown? From date night dinners to making cakes with the kids, people all over the world have been refining their cooking skills while cafes and restaurants have been temporarily off the table.
Home baking in particular has surged in popularity, with many citing how it can help ease anxiety in times of uncertainty. Widely reported flour shortages may have had the opposite effect – but with stock levels largely back to normal, now could be the perfect time to throw on an apron and get to work.
But where do you start? Read our tips on how to get into home baking below.
Think about what you could make
First things first is to think about the foods you’re hungry to have a go at.
Does tucking into a homemade sourdough loaf sound like your ideal start to the weekend? Are you fed up of overspending on average-tasting cereal bars? Or would you love nothing more than surprising your little one with a colourful homemade birthday cake?
Consider what would suit your weekly eating habits or try something new altogether. From TV cooking shows to supermarket magazines and online hubs like BBC Good Food, there are plenty of places to find inspiration if you’re struggling.
Get the right equipment
Home baking can actually save you money once you get going. Everyday items like granola and flapjack can cost a fortune to buy or pennies to make ? but you may need to invest in a few bits of baking equipment first.
Essential items on your shopping list could include baking tins, mixing bowls, weighing and measuring scales, cutters, decorating tools, stands and more. You’ll also need various Tupperware to transport and keep your creations fresh.
Perhaps all the extra time spent indoors in lockdown has exposed the limitations of your kitchen itself. Review your financial situation and consider the value you could get out of a new and improved cooking space. Review your financial situation and consider the value you could get out of a new and improved cooking space.
Practice, practice, practice
As with any hobby, the key to getting better at baking is practice. And from sponges to pastry and patisserie, with so many bakes demanding different techniques, you’re unlikely to get bored any time soon.
Start by tackling simple recipes if you consider yourself a beginner. As you grow more confident in your ability, you’ll be able to introduce new elements of complexity and take on more challenging creations.
It always helps to get a second opinion in life. Perhaps you have family members, friends or colleagues all willing to try your work and offer feedback. There are worse jobs in the world after all…
Baking could be the kind of pastime you’ve been looking for all year. The only question is what will you bake first?