Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Love of Baking, Baking for love

This Summer I got to enroll in a Basic Baking class at a vocational school, it ran for a whole month with 30-hour class per week. I got to bake cookies, brownies and bars, buko and egg pies, tarts, emapandas, butter macaroons, chiffon cakes, brazo de mercedes, a to-die-for dark angel cake, ensaymadas, sweet rolls, basic breads and even pandesal. We even had lessons on basic cake decorating, it was expensive but worth it :-)

As far as I can remember I always love to cook and bake. During my teen years I was in charge of the kitchen every weekend where in I subject my family to my "experiments". Most of my experiments came from TV cooking shows and recipes cut out from magazines.

There was even a time that I even baked a chocolate cake for a friend in college who lived in Antipolo, it was a 12-inch round cake with a chocolate whipped cream icing and nips for decoration. Our barkada traveled from my home in Cubao to their place for a lunchtime celebration and when I opened the cake box upon our arrival, all the icing melted at the bottom of the box(imagine riding a patok jeepney at nearly 12 noon - there was no FX then) . The cake was ruined but we still had fun eating it.

When I started working fulltime after college, cooking and baking was set aside for a more active corporate work, so many overtimes and social activities for a yuppie like me, I only go home to sleep and change clothes.

I rediscovered cooking again when I got married, believe me it was touch and go for the first few months, I still can't remember to this day how the dishwashing paste found its way to the newly cooked rice and the husband asking if I was trying to poison him early in the marriage or how could I burn and ruin a non stick pan in a short amount of time.

Three months into the marriage I re-acquired my cooking skills again and have the healthy body to prove it. Who would not when all you do all day is to cook breakfast - lunch and dinner? I got to experiment again :-) , Alfredo fettuccine, carbonara, lasagna, etc. My husband loved those candlelit dinners.

I started chocolate molding in 2000 as gifts for our friends at christmas. As my chocolates became popular, my friends started requesting for baked chocolate products like brownies and cakes but have no time to take up formal lessons on baking since I was still taking my masters degree at that time. I finally enrolled this summer and enjoyed every minute of it.

Baking in summer in a non air conditioned room from 8am till 6pm is no joke but the smell of baked goodies are worth it. My instructor in baking class was very strict, she told us that
"In baking you must have disciple and common sense".

Baking I realized is not easy, sweating it out while kneading dough in your hands, getting your hands burned in the oven and standing all day(we are not allowed to sit down when baking for we might not get up again, which is true because as you sit down you get to feel how tired you are). There were days were most of our work got burned(the day the wall clock in the room stopped with nobody noticing), times when we did not have the energy anymore to continue and it is only 3pm. We were taught to bake manually using only wooden spoons to mix the ingredients and were only allowed to use an electric mixer when baking cakes. This was done in order for us not to be dependent on a mixer while baking and be conscious on how we mix our ingredients.

Baking is a precise. Everything in baking must be exact, from the ingredients to the oven temperature and baking time if you want to have the perfect bake goodies. It also takes patience and focus for one wrong step and the baked goody might be ruined and you have to start all over again. It is also a very physical activity I lost a few pounds that summer and still continue to lose them as I continue to bake once a week :-)

Baking might be tiring but it is worth it! In order for you to continue to bake you really must love to bake(why bake when you can buy it in Goldilocks or RedRibbon?). The joy of baking for your loved ones can't be compared to those store bought goodies. Baking is rewarding and now I get to earn from it. (Please continue to visit my blogsite as I will launch my chocolate and baked goodies in the next few weeks)