Baking: why dough it?

This May, your baking won’t only help ReachOut Australia raise dough for youth mental health, but can have some great benefits for you, too.

Here’s some of the lesser-known benefits of baking:

It’s a mindfulness hack
You’re doing simple, repetitive tasks, like measuring out and mixing ingredients. Baking also heightens your senses of smell, taste and sight. Being aware of yourself performing these actions, and noticing how your senses are involved, is a form of mindfulness that can reduce stress.

It’s a creative outlet
Whether you’re following the recipe to a ‘T’ or doing your best preschool art impression with the icing, baking lets you be creative. Researchers have found that people who engage in small acts of creativity feel happier and more energised.

It’s a form of self-expression
In many cultures and countries, food is an expression of love and communication. Just think about when your mate offers you something to eat when you go over to their place, or when your grandma tries to make you eat a second helping of dinner! Giving, or baking, someone their favourite food shows them that you care about them. Feed them and love them.

It makes other people happy
One of the best things about baking is that you can give away your delicious creations. Baking for others as a way to make them happy can contribute to your feelings of satisfaction and affirmation.

And, of course, the literal icing on the cake – baking produces tasty food for everyone.

Let’s get baking! And don’t worry if you’re nervous or new to this whole thing, check out these tips for beginner bakers.

8 tips for beginner bakers

So, you’re new to baking, had a crummy experience in the past, or just wanna give it a red-hot go … Here are our top 8 tips for beginner bakers.

1. Start simple
Pick something simple to get started. While it could be tempting to try and whip together a three-layer cake on your first go, why make it so difficult and stressful for yourself?

Try a recipe with simple ingredients and steps, or even a packet cake mix, to get started. Remember – you’ve got to walk before you can run.

2. Find recipes for things you like to eat
Not sure what to make? Think of some of your favourite foods (baked goods don’t always have to be sweet) and find some recipes for those. You’re more likely to follow through if you’re making something you love.

3. Read the recipe first
It can be pretty frustrating to be halfway through making something, and then realise you don’t have everything you need. What do you mean there are no chocolate chips in the pantry?

Read through the recipe before you begin and make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you’ll need. This’ll save you a whole bunch of unnecessary stress.

4. Follow the recipe
The quantities and steps are there to make things easy for you. Baking involves chemical reactions between ingredients, so changing the ingredients or process can produce a totally different result.

Follow the steps in the recipe, which has been tried and tested (and taste-tested). Once you’re a bit more confident about baking, it can be fun to experiment with your favourite recipes!

5. Take your time
If you’re a newbie in the kitchen, you’ll probably need longer than the estimated prep and cooking time stated in the recipe. The estimated prep time of 30 minutes might realistically look more like half an hour spent googling the difference between baking powder and baking soda.

Give yourself enough time so you don’t have to rush or stress over things.

6. Get some help from a friend or family member
If you’re feeling a bit nervous when you’re starting out, you can always ask a friend or family member to help you out. They don’t even have to be an expert baker; just having their company and support can make a difference. It can also be a great bonding experience.

7. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect
Nothing’s ever perfect, and people will appreciate the effort you’ve made. If you learn and have fun, that’s all that matters – and hey, you gave it a good crack. If your cake doesn’t turn out to be quite as yummy as you’d hoped, it’s still a good laugh!

8. And most importantly … have fun!
Like riding a bike or starting a new hobby, everything takes practice. Don’t worry too much about the end goal; just take it step by step and enjoy the process – and the results of your hard work!

Great bakers aren’t born, they’re bread!


Want to make the most of all this dough?

Dust off your apron, feed your mind and raise some dough to support young Aussies living with mental health difficulties.
Host a bake sale, get your mates over for dinner, or sell batches of your signature bake.

Whether you’re a pro – or just giving it your best – work from the comfort of your own kitchen, or deck out a table in your office, school or community centre, and sell baked goods to help ReachOut Australia prevent youth suicide.

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