Monday, 12 May 2014

The Gentleman Baker's Rules of Baking

Some would have you believe that baking is all about rules. As distasteful as I find such things as rules I admit that I do have a few of my own, although they may not be what one might expect...

"By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail..." Benjamin Franklin

When baking, to adequately prepare is a simple task, yet one that many (including myself) often forego. Take time to make sure your working environment is adequate, all required equipment is available and that your ingredients are measured out prior to commencement. This will reduce both the risk of failure and any stress that may threaten.

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end..." Ernest Hemingway
The process of baking is as important to me as the end result. It is not a chore, it is a wonderful, creative experience that is accessible and achievable by all. Enjoy baking for what it is, do not burden yourself with pressure and have fun.

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..." William Shakespeare

No matter what others may say, there is no right or wrong way to bake anything. There are principles that ensure certain results, but the beauty of home baking is the freedom to create whatever you want however you want. Things may work or they may not, but do not ever think you cannot try new ingredients or methods. It is your kitchen and you are in charge

"Anything worth doing, is worth doing right..." Hunter S Thompson

As with anything, you get out what you put in, so if you decide to bake something, commit yourself fully to the process. Try to buy the best ingredients you can afford, treat them with respect and do not cut corners without good reason. Your efforts will be rewarded by the result.

"Imperfection is beauty..." Marilyn Monroe
You are a home baker, you don’t work in a professional kitchen with an army of assistants to aid you, so things are not going to work out perfectly all of the time. However I believe the imperfections are what give baking such beauty. Every blemish, every crack, these are what make your creations unique and they should be something to celebrate, not be ashamed of.

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm..." Winston Churchill

No matter how hard you try, no matter how closely you follow the recipe, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you planned. To fail is not an issue. I have failed countless times and continue to do so, often spectacularly, often comedically. What is crucial though is how you respond. Failing should bother you, but it should also steel you. Learn from your mistakes, grow stronger from them and if at first you don’t succeed... 

"What one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire..." Henry Miller

The most important ingredient you’ll ever need is not something that can be purchased. It is your passion for baking, the care you take and the effort you put in that is ultimately the most telling. Something as simple as a loaf of bread can be made spectacular by the sheer will to make it so. Baking, as with life is about love. If you have it, the rest will take care of itself.

"You have to believe in yourself, that’s the secret..." Charlie Chaplin

These recipes are my gift to you, but that is where my contribution ends. It is within you to create a limitless array of delicious delights, you just need to believe that you can. I promise that you can be a great baker, all you need to do is try... 

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