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Learning the Basics of Real Baking

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This is a post about baking so I think it’s only fair to say, I’m not a baker. I can cook pretty well, but when it comes to baking, well, that’s a horse of a different color.

I believe the reason I’m not a baker is because baking always seemed to be a fine art. You must measure the flour, eggs, milk, etc. If you have a disproportionate amount of a certain ingredient, you can ruin the baking outcome. Baking always seemed to have strict rules which felt confining and therefore I didn’t do it.

Seeing the Light

I guess I closed myself into a self-imposed baking box. I decided to free myself from the shackles of rules and learn the basics. Once I learned the basics, everything else is fair game.

A few basics on baking as I see them are:

  1. If you want things to rise you need a rising agent like yeast or baking powder (baking powder is my rising agent of choice because I just don’t understand how to use yeast). Rule of thumb with baking powder is 1 teaspoon per cup of flour.
  2. If you want your mixture to stick together and not fall apart, add eggs.
  3. Milk isn’t always necessary. I’ve used water in some mixtures with great results.
  4. The difference between a muffin and a cookie is the amount of liquid.
  5. The difference between a cake and a muffin is the type of baking pan
  6. The difference between a muffin and a pancake is an oven and a stove
  7. Measurements are overrated
  8. Taste the batter.

Stepping onto the Baking Battlefield

Armed with the above basics, I went about making apple muffins. Since they were muffins and not cookies, I had to make sure I added adequate liquid (soy milk) to make the batter loose enough to pour into a cupcake tin. That being my only requirement (plus to use up my large supply of apples), I went about making apple muffins as follows (all measurements below are approximate, I don’t use measuring cups or spoons):


  • 1 ½ cups (approx) Organic whole wheat baking flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp Baking powder
  • ½ to 1 cup Organic cane sugar
  • 6 Macintosh apples
  • 1 dash Vanilla extract
  • ½ stick Butter (not margarine)
  • Soy milk to reach the appropriate consistency
  • 2 to 3 dashes of Cinnamon
  • 1 egg (free range)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon of saltMuffins

What I did:

  • Mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowel
  • Peeled and ground 5 apples. Ground them until they reached the consistency of applesauce (I used the Magic Bullet).
  • Melted the butter.
  • Added the wet ingredients, including the applesauce, to the dry ingredients and mixed.
  • Added enough soy milk to get the consistency of a thick cake batter.
  • Tasted the batter to see if it was sweet enough. Added a little more sugar and 2 more dashes of cinnamon.
  • Peeled and rough cut the last apple and tossed it into the batter (I wanted to have a few visible apple chunks in the muffin).
  • Baked it in the oven on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so (or until done).

My off the cuff recipe yielded 18 muffins. I guess I could have filled the tins more and made 12 larger muffins, but I wasn’t quite sure how far they would rise so I chose to err on the side of caution. Remember, I’m not a baker. 🙂

If I can do it without a measuring spoon or cup, you can too. BTW, the family loved them.

About the author: Felicia has learned the hard way that health, whether good or bad, is a result of daily choices and habits. On this blog, Felicia shares what she’s learned and the healthier choices she now makes as a result of her new knowledge. She hopes to encourage others to experiment to find alternative solutions to nagging problems (she’s also is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment).

in Baking, Recipe