Why I Love Baking
Hobbies like baking can help you unwind and live in the present. One of our writers shares why baking is meaningful to her—and can be to you, too!
My shiny metal measuring cups and spoons nested neatly into one another. Ingredients arranged on the counter, neatly trimmed parchment paper, and a mixer standing proudly at the ready. This is my happy place.
It reminds me of family
Some of my best memories involve the smell of baked goods emanating from the kitchen or coming home from school to discover cinnamon tarts my mother had rolled from extra pie dough and baked just for me. Handwritten recipes from my grandmother and notes penciled in her old Betty Crocker cookbook are cherished keepsakes in my shelves. On summer trips to California, my aunt taught me how to properly pack brown sugar and level flour neatly for the best results. This might make my childhood sound idyllic—don’t get any crazy ideas—but in baking I found comfort and deep satisfaction.
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I began baking as a child, carefully following recipes for cookies, cake, and quick breads. In college, I continued to bake, mostly cake, with my roommate. We’d have a stressful week and wind up in the kitchen, experimenting with a new recipe. I’d spend hours reading about state-fair-winning cakes and I always brought a cake home for birthdays and holidays. I took cake-decorating classes. I swapped recipes and fiendishly gathered supplies. Fast-forward to present day: My husband and son love spending time creating things in the kitchen—I’m lucky they share my love for baking.
It's a creative outlet
It’s incredibly satisfying, taking ingredients that don’t amount to much on their own and combining them in such a way that you can create something extraordinary. And sharing your passion is possibly the best part—making another person happy by giving them a homemade goodie is a delightful feeling.
As an adult (and a huge fan of The Great British Bakeoff), I’ve discovered the pleasure of baking bread and pies. I no longer crave only chocolate but love to create fruit desserts and seek out unique flavors. I particularly like to learn about baked goods from other countries or learn the history of those that are purely American: There are fascinating stories woven through our country’s baking history, like how what we ate changed during the wars when ingredients were scarce or how different regions favored certain flavors.
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It helps me be more present at home
Now my own son can be found on a barstool, licking the beaters and sneaking chocolate chips, and nothing makes me happier. As a busy working mom, it makes me feel incredibly domestic to use homemade wheat bread for his lunch or to share a favorite cookie after school. Don’t tell him that I sometimes make healthy substitutes and used baked goods to hide carrots or oats! We make health and exercise a priority, but midweek, you can assume I’m reading cookbooks in bed and plotting something delicious, and come Saturday, you’ll likely find me elbow-deep in flour at my kitchen counter. Using my hands to knead dough, smelling cinnamon or vanilla with my nose, bringing that first taste of a warm treat to my lips—it’s how I connect with the world and live in the present. It’s a weekly meditation that grounds me.
The possibilities are endless
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced baker, you’ll never run out of things to try. Make a “baking bucket list” next time you’re left waiting for an appointment. Visit your local library, which is brimming with cookbooks just waiting to be borrowed. The internet is bursting with baking blogs (try a healthy bake from our blog). Or, next time you’re in a funk, try baking a treat for a loved one, neighbor, or coworker—it’s bound to lift your spirits! And if you end up eating it all by yourself? Your secret is safe with me.