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Some thoughts on baking

Kaleidoscope Tekulo


Very few places still make desserts and breads from scratch these days.  And even the ones that do use some cheats like cake mixes, icing that gets shipped in buckets or just factory made products.


Baking from scratch to me seems to be a bit of a lost art.  In my entire career I've worked in three locations that made everything from scratch.  In all of those locations I was the only baker/pastry chef and the workload was always demanding.  It can be a lot for one person to run a bakery alone.  At my first job, my position was terminated and the company went with factory made products as opposed to scratch made products.  


It was disheartening.


Nowadays I work in a grocery store, where nothing is made from scratch.  Everything comes in frozen, from bread doughs to cakes to cookie dough, etc.  And these products?  They don't hold a candle to the work I've done in the past.  And that's not because I'm an especially skilled baker, though I did build up my skill set over time.  No, it was simply because I took the time to bake the products with care.


Baking isn't that difficult.  It is an exact science a lot of the time, and yes there are some projects much more involved than others, but overall things like italian bread, chocolate chip cookies or a fruit tart don't take an especially great amount of skill to achieve.  All anyone needs is a recipe, the proper ingredients (butter in place of crisco for example), some equipment and the time to bake.  


It always saddens me these days to see so many people buying, frankly, inferior products at the grocery store.  People pay good money for birthday cakes that come in frozen, probably loaded with preservatives and topped with icing that comes from a box and gets water added to it.  And frankly it's overly sweet and addicting.  I just find it sad because here we have a special occasion and people celebrate with garbage food.  I've made cakes with flavor other than just sugar.  It's so much better, I find, to taste butter, real butter, in buttercream icing.  


I know I must sound like a snob, but when I studied at culinary school I created and tasted some of the finest patisserie in my life.  I try to keep that alive every now and then too.  But in the food industry, the things we treat ourselves to just aren't worth the calories when they come from the store.  


Anyway, that's just my random thought of the day.  

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I completely agree with you! I find that most of the factory-made stuff from stores tastes rancid and artificial. It's so sad to me that people recently stopped passing down the skills and knowledge of baking (and cooking in general). 

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For two years I lived in a small town where I just couldn't get premade stuff. It was a stressful time so I took up baking as a way to make me feel better (and make friends by sharing delicious food), and all of it had to be from scratch. (Mostly desserts, because, not gonna lie, I have a sweet tooth.) I learned a lot and continue baking homemade to this day. I feel a lot of pride when I could give someone a slice of double layer cake with buttercream frosting and tell them, yup, I made it all myself. And then they want the recipe and that makes me feel good.

I'm not an expert. Not everything I make turns out well, but I always have a blast.

I hope that one day you are able to break out of that grocery store and share your bakes and love of baking with more people.

Edited by Vorahk1Panrahk2
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