Ready to bake?

Ready to bake?


Ready to bake?

Traditional bakeries have long been a vital element of the Indian food scene. Most of us have always thronged such bakeries and cafes for their yummy milk cakes and freshly-baked biscuits. But baking, in itself, remains a formidable task to every budding Indian culinarian. More often than not, it is perceived to be highly technical, specialised and hence, difficult.

But thanks to the easy availability of contemporary baking kits, amateur cooks are slowly taking up this wonderful art. User-friendly gadgets ease the drill of beating and blending that is at the core of most baking recipes. Pre-packed baking ingredients simplify most baking procedures considerably. The handiness with which accurate measures can be obtained from digital scales and marked tools render exactness that people look for in every baking recipe. Further, the varieties in menus that are currently available in baking are myriad and delectable, which make baking an exciting and rewarding skill to learn and master. So, are you ready to bake?

It’s preferable

Baking — a unique method of cooking by dry, indirect heat, usually in an oven —  is considered the best method of cooking for retaining the nutrition in food. This is because baking is done in a closed environment, which does not let heat and vapour to pass outside until the oven door is opened. Again, the closed atmosphere of the oven aids in releasing natural energy and fat from the food, thereby not requiring as much oil and fat as in frying. The release of natural moisture and oil from the food also enhances the flavours and the taste of the dish.

Therefore, among the various cooking options — frying, sauteeing, boiling, stir-frying, grilling and roasting, to name a few — the most refreshing choice is that of baking. For, unlike in the other modes of cooking where one has to labour over a hot stove, in baking, the oven takes over after the initial mixing and blending. Also, once you get the hang of it, baking allows you to experiment easily. In time, starters, main courses, accompaniments and desserts can be handcrafted effortlessly.

Baking also comes in as a handy gifting option. Cakes, cookies, pastries and a whole bunch of other baked goodies presented for a special occasion is always cherished and relished by friends and family.

To get started on this exciting journey of baking, here are some baking essentials that you will need in your kitchen:

A good temperature-controlled convection oven
An electric mixer or blender
Measuring cups and spoons
Mixing bowls
Baking trays and pans
Cookie cutters
Gloves to handle hot pans
A wire rack to cool

Nestlé head chef Richard Brogan would often encourage amateurs to take to baking for gifting options. His motivating advice was: “If it (the baked dish) is too perfect, it actually looks manufactured, which is not the aim. You want it to look as though there’s a little bit of love, care and attention that’s gone into it. To have a tiny little flaw tucked away somewhere is what makes the end result unique, a truly one off creation that will make someone think, ‘Wow, someone has made this beautiful thing for me and it’s a gift!’”

So, don’t get discouraged if you can’t get that perfect cake, cookie or casserole. Don your aprons, get ready to learn and brace yourself for the joy of baking right from your own kitchens.

Banana-Walnut Bread


Refined flour – 1¾ cup
Refined oil – ¾ cup
Powdered sugar –²/³ cup
Eggs - 2
Mashed ripe banana – ¾ cup
Baking powder – ¾ tsp
Baking Soda – ¼ tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Walnuts chopped – ¼ cup or according to taste
Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp

- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Mix the oil to the sugar.
- Beat the eggs and blend to the oil - sugar mixture.
- Add the sieved flour to the wet mixture.
- Mix in vanilla essence.
- Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tsp milk and pour into the wet mixture.
- Finally add the mashed banana and the walnuts and mix well.
- Grease a baking tin and add the mixture.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degree centigrade for 30 minutes.

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole


Chopped vegetables – carrot, beans, cauliflower, peas and capsicum – 1 bowl
Grated garlic – 1 tbsp
Garlic powder – 1 tsp
Onion – 1 (chopped)
Green chilies – 1 tsp (finely chopped)
Juice of lime - to taste
Salt and pepper - to taste
Curry powder – 1 tsp
Cheesy white sauce – ¼ cup (procedure given below)
Olive oil for sautéing
A few finely chopped mint leaves for garnish


- Heat oil in a pan. Fry grated garlic and add the onion.
- Stir in the chopped vegetables, salt, garlic powder, green chilies, curry powder and pepper.
- Cook until ¾th done and garnish with mint leaves before turning off the fire.
- Add the lime juice, mix and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Grease an oven-proof casserole.
- Transfer the sautéed vegetables into it.
- Pour over the cheesy white sauce.
- Cover the casserole in aluminum foil.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with buttered and toasted garlic bread.
- Procedure to make cheesy white sauce
- Heat one tbsp of butter in a pan. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir quickly, taking care the flour does not form lumps.
- Blend ¼ cup of cold milk slowly little by little into the flour.
- Combine the grated cheese into the mixture.
- Allow to boil for a few minutes on slow fire.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper.