Why did I start baking at home and why do I advocate for it?
When I read about the presence of a possible cancer-causing chemical in market bread, I decided to quit buying bread from the market and start home baking. I ensured that I will no longer feed the harmful chemicals and preservatives to my kids that are used in market made bread.
I was certainly not a baker but as I started getting into it, I started to find my connection with baking. I am a self-taught person and you can read my bread baking story to know how I learned baking.
My child is a big time foodie and has an undying love for pizzas and burgers. But, after realizing the health issues market baked item has on children health, I was left with only two choices. Either to say “NO” to what my child loves to eat, or start baking at home. I chose to discover the benefits of home baking.
Learn baking at home
I did not have a Guru to teach me baking and hence I had to go through with multiple disasters, failures after failures, and depressed sleepless night. But I did not stop learning from where I could learn about baking. What I missed was a single place where I could learn everything that I need to learn about how to start baking at home.
This had spent days and years to learn and master this art of baking. And I know that there are so many mothers out there who are trying to solve the quest of how to bake at home.
Unlike in European countries, traditional cooking methods are extremely popular in Asian countries. I recommend them to read why baking is healthier than our traditional methods of cooking and frying.
What makes the market baked products unhealthy?
The most commonly used ingredients in the market baked items are:
- Refined Sugar
- All-Purpose Flour
- Artificial flavors and additives
All these ingredients take the baked item towards the unhealthy side. Also, the quality of every ingredient can range from low to high. The quality of the ingredient also impacts the quality of market baked items. Do not underestimate the baking process and hygiene at risk in a manufacturing unit.
What about the cost of baking at home?
If you think that the restaurant is selling food cheap, you must think again. They are in the business of making money by selling food. Rent, electricity, manpower, furniture, maintenance, and profit has to come from food. Do you think baking at home is expensive than this?
And baking at home means that the fanciest equipment you need is an oven. With the few basic tools for baking and a few basic ingredients for baking, you can kick start baking at home. There is no comparison to fresh baked goods. The aroma and freshness of each eatable will make it worth for baking.
Why do we fall for market baked items?
- TV Commercials that are making you believe that the product is healthy.
- The brand ambassadors that are getting paid a fortune to endorse the products. Do they themselves eat those cakes and bread they advertise? I bet.
- The beautiful packaging and the discounts on the product.
- Children fall for them because they have a love for sugary things. It’s difficult to say No to children.
- The convenience that let you suppress your conscious and compromise with quality.
Benefits and Advantages of Home Baking
Apart from the nutritional benefits, there are many other proven benefits of baking. Let us look at the top 5 benefits of baking at home.
Home Baking means Quality ingredients
For many buying bread from the market seems quick, easy, and cheap. However, we often overlook the ingredients with which the market bread are made. You must note that when I am saying bread, it includes any type of bread including burgers, pizza bases, pav buns etc.
The market bread has to sustain the entire supply chain cycle and still have to look fresh. Preservatives are the only way for the manufacturers to stay sellable and make profits. Profits, at the cost of your health.
When you are baking at home, you have complete control over the ingredient quality.
Home Baking to lose weight
Go to restaurants and everything they have on the menu is to add extra calories that pile up and leads to obesity.
Eating at home does not come with all these challenges. Even if you have cooked/baked more than required, you can always save it for later.
At home, you have a choice of the size of baked goodies that you like to make. Replace the large size muffin with small size muffin. Small changes, for over a period of time, makes a visible difference.
A family who bakes together stays together
Baking is a great way to bring people together. When you bake at home, you can take care of everyone's choice and taste. This is an indirect way to show your concern, care, and love for your family. Involve your kids when you bake and see them loving the moment of it.
According to a survey done by The Telegraph, Baking is regarded as great family bonding time, say 59 percent of Britons.
Baking is Meditative
Baking is meditative and helps in reducing depression and anxiety. Meditation to me means awareness. Anything that you do with utmost awareness is meditation. So is Baking. You need to have your complete attention when you bake.
Awareness is what strengthens your mind and it wouldn’t be a lie to say that bakers are happier than others. Watch somebody baking. They are just in themselves. It's such a therapeutic to bake for yourself and your family.
Baking stimulates all your five senses. Eyes appreciate the creativity, ears love the thumping sound, tongue loves the taste, nose love aroma and skin loves the feel of a baked item. When all your five senses are involved you feel exuberant.
Baking is Addictive
Baking is an addiction. Once you start baking, you would not go for market goodies.
According to a survey by Huffington Post, UK, baking rules because it helps relieve stress. The survey found that one in three of those asked say they feel more stressed than they did five years ago. 80% of them took baking to help reduce pressure.
"Baking helps lift my depression. It can't cure it, but it helps," says John Whaite, 2012 winner of The Great British Bake Off. He was diagnosed with manic depression in 2005. Read this full news on BBC.
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What should you bake?
I get many emails where people ask what we should bake at home. My advice has been to start with simple recipes first and then move towards the more complex bread types. Some of the baking recipes for beginners that I suggest are:
What about the Gluten? Is it safe to eat Gluten?
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Gluten but I have covered a lot about gluten in “All you need to know about Gluten”.
Gluten is a natural protein available in most of the grains. Some people develop allergies to this protein and shift to Gluten-free products. Most of the Gluten-free food has low intrinsic fiber contents. It makes necessary to add more fiber to complete the nutritional profile of such food. Baking again comes as a rescue here.
Yeast in Baking? Is it safe to eat Yeast?
Yeast is a single cell fungus that helps the bread to rise and become soft and spongy. Yeast is a living bacteria that dies when put in more than 50 °C. So when you bake your bread the yeast will die. There are many types of yeast used in baking. Some of them are commercial and some of them are extracted from fruit and grains. However, any type of yeast that is used in our bread baking, is completely safe unless it is consumed in raw form.
Can baking be considered as a full-time career?
How to start baking at home? Can it help make money?
If you are taking baking bread at home lightly, you should know that the demand for serious bakers is rising at 7%. Bureau of labor statistics predicts a 7 percent continuous rise in employment of bakers between 2014 till 2024.
There is a serious demand for professionals who expertise in healthy baking. Today’s generation is much more aware and conscious of health. There are a plethora of opportunities for those who want to make baking as their full-time career. Bakeries, home based business, specialized chef, workshops, and the sky is the limit.
Read stories of successful female home bakers.
Baking Tutorial for Beginners
So far we have been eating baked items made of all-purpose flour. Market baked bread are all made with refined flour. Even if they claim to be making wheat bread, they are using refined flour in a larger proportion. Please remember, all-purpose flour is also wheat flour but without any nutritional value.
I have always advocated for baking with whole wheat. In fact, homemade all-purpose flour is far better than market made bread.
Many feel that whole wheat bread is just not possible. I break this myth in my Whole Wheat Bread MasterClass that I conduct in different cities of India. In my online course of Everyday Cakes, Muffins, and Brownies I teach people baking delightful desserts without using Refined Flour and Refined Sugar.
And because I am a vegetarian, all these courses are completely eggless.