Article originally authored by Lisa Franzen-Castle, Nebraska Extension. Check out food.unl.edu for more everyday food and fitness tips.
Looking for a family activity that provides opportunities to share traditions, recipes and fun?
Try baking together using these helpful tips from the Home Baking Association:
Do some prep work. Prep by reading and trying the recipe first. Add 20 to 30 minutes to explain, show and guide beginners and 15 minutes for intermediates or experienced bakers. Divide this prep work into two sessions if needed, or pre-measure or prepare some steps beforehand.
Keep it clean. Remember to wash hands and countertops before starting and cleaning up after you’re done. Provide separate towels for hands and dishes, and frequently wash pot holders. Aprons or large t-shirts are great for keeping clothes clean during the baking process.
Take it one step at a time. Read the recipe, gather ingredients, and make sure nothing was left out. When short on time, or working with beginning or young bakers, prepare some steps ahead or do some steps one day and complete the mixing or baking the next.
Use the right tools. Pour liquids—water, oil, milk, honey and corn syrup—in a clear liquid measuring cup placed on the countertop. Read the amount at eye level. Use standard dry measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients—flours, sugar, cocoa, brown sugar and cornmeal. Also use measuring spoons for small amounts of any ingredient.
Do a safe kitchen checklist. Turn handles of pans toward the center of the stove so sleeves or people passing by won’t catch on them and spill. Keep cupboard doors and drawers closed unless in use. Use only dry hot pads or oven mitts because heat goes through damp mitts. When stirring or checking for doneness, tilt the lid away from you so steam is released away from your face.
Oven ins and outs. Before preheating, make sure the oven racks are in the right place for the pans and recipe. Preheat the oven as the recipe directs. Place pans in the oven so they do not touch each other or the oven sides. Do not place pans on racks directly below or above another pan. Keep clean, dry oven mitts or pads close by.
Baking can be a learning experience. Children and adults learn a lot together in the kitchen. The results of cooking or baking together contributes to stronger relationships at home and in groups. Children also learn time management, teamwork, following directions and problem solving—all important life skills.