Maria Goretti shares tips on the art and science of baking

Jan 04, 2018, 09:25 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani

As Maria Goretti's new TV show on baking makes waves, the foodie shares tips on the art and science of the craft

"A party without a cake is just a meeting," said revolutionary chef Julia Child. And if you love cakes, bread and other confectionery but have been intimidated to try baking at home, Maria Goretti's new show, I Want To Bake Free, on Living Foodz aims to make it easy. Goretti, who has baked everything from the Goan poee bread, mille fuille, cheesecakes, corn bread to thandai mousse for the show, shares a few tips to get you started.

Maria Goretti in her show I Want To Bake Free
Maria Goretti in her show I Want To Bake Free

Breaking bread
How you make a roti is also how you make bread; the difference is that you have to wait to prove it (the time period where the bread dough rises, meaning it's ready to be baked), as opposed to a roti, where you bake it immediately.

Temperature matters
The proving of bread depends on the temperature outside. If it's hot, the process will be quickened, while if it's cold, it proves far slower.

Oven smart
A perfectly pre-heated oven is a must. Make friends with your oven; use it so often that you blindly understand how it works.

Bake, not fry
For a healthy tweak, you can bake several snacks instead of frying them. Take vegetarian or chicken cutlets for example. Patience counts as you have to bake it at the right temperature and it takes longer than frying as the temperature is lower.

Don't give up
It's not easy to get it right in your first shot. You will make mistakes, so don't get disheartened but start over again. The more you try, the easier it gets.

Watch the clock
The time needed to knead depends on the kind of bread you are making. Some versions can be baked instantly as they have baking powder and soda. I suggest you spend about 10 minutes to knead your dough well enough, as it makes for great bread.

Aim for perfection
When I try a recipe at home, once I get it right, I make the same thing repeatedly till I perfect the recipe, and know that I can bake it in my sleep.

Master 'em all
Every dessert uses different techniques — if you are baking a cream cheese dessert, you need to lower the temperature as it burns quickly; a sponge cake is quicker to make. Flaky pastries cook faster than anything else, while choux pastries have to be cooked at different temperatures. There are no blanket rules for baking desserts.

And finally, the golden rules
Have patience. Follow the recipe. Measurements have to be precise. Ensure you have the right ingredients, as any change in a recipe is possible only if you bake regularly and understand substitutes for ingredients, and methods.

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Maria's recipe to make an easy bread
Mix 250gm of maida, 20gm of yeast and about 150ml of water. Knead it for 10 minutes, prove it for half an hour, knock down the air again and shape it into tiny balls and bake it at 200°C for 20 minutes.

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