If you have started baking while sheltering-in-place, or you want to but you don’t know where to start, keep reading. I sat down with Cathy, our team’s Master Baker to get all the best tips and recipes for baking at home as a family.
After years of basic cookies, muffins, and loafs, I enrolled in The Kitchn’s Baking School where I discovered how much more science can be applied in baking and my husband discovered how good it all tasted. But when I got pregnant, I quit when I couldn’t deal with morning sickness and food aversions.
COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to get back into baking, and I’m excited to see how many others are doing the same. Baking gives you something to do while at home and kids of all ages can participate. Whipping up recipes from scratch is also a great way to stick to a food budget, which makes a difference to families who have been hit financially by the crisis.
Cathy is our resident Master Baker. She owns P.S. I Cake You, a custom cake and desserts business in the East Bay. Cathy had some great tips for making baking a fun, low-stress activity to do at home. My favorite part was the banana bread recipe she shared with us!
What are some easy tips for baking with beginners and with children?
How can families make baking a family event?
What are the must-have baking essentials?
- Brown sugar
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Unsalted Butter
- Vegetable Oil
- 9×13 Baking Dish
- Cupcake Tin
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Hand mixer
- Large bowl
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
What are some common substitution ingredients if the grocery store is out of what you need?
½ teaspoon baking soda = 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup salted butter = 1 cup margarine
1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup salted butter = 7/8 cup lard + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter = 1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup lard *minus* ½ teaspoon salt from recipe
1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes
1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup cake flour = ¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, vegetable oil or shortening
3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder = 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate + reduce fat in recipe by 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder = 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder + ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg = ¼ cup applesauce
1 egg = 1 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
1 egg = ¼ cup silken tofu pureed
1 egg = 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg = ½ banana mashed with ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup half-and-half = ½ cup whole milk + ½ cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk = ½ cup evaporated milk + ½ cup water
1 cup whole milk = 1 cup skim milk + 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice = ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ground ginger + 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt
Vanilla Beans/Vanilla Extract
1 vanilla bean = 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
If you’re out of vanilla extract, use the same measurement of honey or vanilla almond milk
1 cup vegetable oil = 1 cup applesauce = 1 cup fruit puree
1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup margarine
1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = 2¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = ⅓ of a 2-ounce cake yeast
Tell us about the latest baking trends on the rise. We are hearing about mini pancake cereal and other TikTok trends.
Why is banana bread the biggest baking trend nationally?
Do you have a simple banana bread recipe to share with us?
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, plus extra for topping if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour an 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pan or spray with baking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas with the melted butter, then add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir well with a large wooden spoon.
Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt over the banana mixture. Stir to combine.
Add flour and walnuts or chocolate chips (if desired), and stir just until no streaks of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slice into 10 thick slices and serve.
If your bread pans are larger or smaller, your bake time might be on the shorter or longer side, respectively.
This banana bread recipe can also be made as muffins. Just divide between the cups of a muffin tin and bake for 20-24 minutes until muffins are done and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.