Happy New Year!
And Happy National Baking month. Let's resolve to get into the kitchen more.
A New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be about giving something up, it can be about setting out to create new things. What if we shake things up a bit and resolve to get into the kitchen to try a new cooking or baking technique this year? No matter where you are in your baking journey, there’s always something new to learn. That’s one of the things I love most about this craft.
It’s National Baking Month, so what a perfect time to try something new! I used to teach an extensive baking and pastry course, which included all of the basic techniques of pastry. I’ve broken it into the various categories of baking: cookies, quick breads, basic doughs, pies and tarts, cakes, decorating cakes, custards, laminated doughs, meringues, and pantry staples. Here are some recipes for beginning bakers and those who want to push their baking game to the next level with projects that have more steps. There is no timeline, just a fun way to learn some new techniques.
No matter where you start, just remember that it’s okay if something doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d expected the first time. In the failures come the most learning, which eventually adds up to experience. All crafts take time, so give yourself the gift of patience and have fun, that is the most important ingredient of all!
I’m thinking it would be fun to do a ZoëBakes Academy in 2022. Perhaps live classes on YouTube? Maybe recorded demos of some of the classic baking techniques? A deep dive on cake decorating? Tell me what classes you’d like to see in the comments!
Cookies & Bars
Muffins & Quick Breads
Basic Doughs & Batter
Pies & Tarts
Find more information and instruction in my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes.
Laminated Dough: Puff Pastry, Croissants & Danish
Find more information and instruction in my new book, The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. (affil. link)
Pastry Pantry Basics
This is also a great time to think about making some of your own kitchen staples. You’ll never enjoy ricotta, crème fraîche, or vanilla extract more than when you make them from scratch yourself. And these premium ingredients are actually really simple to make on your own and SO worth the minimal effort. Why not try it out? You may never go back to the store-bought versions again.