Startup Library: Baking & Pastry

Everything you need to start baking with confidence.
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Overview

Ready to dive into the satisfyingly delicious art of baking? Join expert Zoë François in this comprehensive beginner’s class, where she'll teach you the basics of making delicious baked goods at home. Explore a range of key tools, equipment and techniques to make a variety of pastries and desserts from scratch, including biscuits, pies, cakes, quick breads, cookies and more. Plus, Zoë will walk you through each step and share her tips and tricks along the way, so that you can start baking with confidence!

About

Zoë François
Zoë François

I'm Zoë François and I love to bake. This is where I play with sugar and take the mystery out of baking everything.

Chef Zoë François—Artisan Bread in Minutes—is a best-selling author, coauthor of several bread cookbooks, and a renowned blogger. She’s a seasoned baking instructor and frequent contributor to The Cooking Channel, Fine Cooking magazine, and Disney Channel.

By This Expert

Setup: Getting Started Baking

01: Setup: Getting Started Baking

Ground yourself in the fundamentals of baking as Zoë discusses the high-level considerations of time management, space setup (mise en place), and precision.

8 min
Setup: Essential Tools & Equipment

02: Setup: Essential Tools & Equipment

Get set up for baking success! Follow along as Zoë goes over the tools, equipment and ingredients you'll need to get started baking.

6 min
Setup: Essential Ingredients

03: Setup: Essential Ingredients

After you've covered tools and equipment, explore a variety of essential baking ingredients. Find out how to shop and store them properly.

9 min
What You Need: Biscuits & Pies

04: What You Need: Biscuits & Pies

Explore cold fat batters and doughs used to make biscuits, pies and more as Zoë discusses the ingredients, tools and equipment you'll need to work with them.

2 min
Method: Working With Cold Fat

05: Method: Working With Cold Fat

Zoë shows you how to cut butter three different ways: with a food processor, with a pastry cutter and by hand. After that, get tips for gently handling dough for professional-quality results every time.

12 min
Make It: Biscuits

06: Make It: Biscuits

Once you've mastered the fundamental techniques, put them into practice by making buttermilk biscuits! Zoë teaches you how to make the dough, roll it out, then cut and bake it to tender, flaky perfection.

14 min
Make It: Pie Dough

07: Make It: Pie Dough

Practice your cold fat skills by making a versatile dough that you can use for all kinds of pies. Discover Zoë's trick for creating a tender and flaky crust. Plus, learn how to make a double-crust pie, and easily seal and crimp the edges for a classic homestyle look.

30 min
What You Need: Cookies & Tarts

08: What You Need: Cookies & Tarts

Get familiar with the ingredients, tools and equipment you'll need to successfully work with room-temperature fat doughs, used to make cookies and tarts.

3 min
Method: Working With Room Temperature Fat

09: Method: Working With Room Temperature Fat

Zoë shares quick tricks for bringing ingredients to room temperature, then shows you how to cream butter and sugar with three different tools: spoon or spatula, hand mixer and stand mixer.

14 min
Make It: Cookies & Tart Dough

10: Make It: Cookies & Tart Dough

Follow along as Zoë demonstrates how to make drop cookies, rolled cookies, stamped cookies, plus two tart variations, all from one versatile dough!

31 min
What You Need: Muffins & Quick Breads

11: What You Need: Muffins & Quick Breads

Continue your baking journey and learn about the ingredients and tools you'll need to make a variety of quick breads and muffins.

2 min
Method: Muffin & Quick Bread Techniques

12: Method: Muffin & Quick Bread Techniques

Zoë shows you how to line your pans to prevent sticking, before explaining how to mix wet into dry ingredients. You'll see how to proportion your batter for even baking every time.

6 min
Make It: Muffins & Quick Breads

13: Make It: Muffins & Quick Breads

Put your creaming, folding and portioning skills into practice by making tender and delicious blueberry muffins. Find out when to use fresh vs. frozen fruit, and how to prevent the fruit's color from bleeding into your batter. Zoë also shares a few tips that will make the quick-bread variation a success.

13 min
What You Need: Cakes

14: What You Need: Cakes

You can have your cake and eat it, too! Discover the ingredients, tools and equipment you'll need to start baking cakes.

3 min
Method: Cake Techniques

15: Method: Cake Techniques

Master three key cake-making techniques: whipping egg whites, folding ingredients into meringue, and folding ingredients into creamed butter.

19 min
Make It: One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

16: Make It: One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Put your cake-making skills to use as you learn to make a super-easy chocolate cake or cupcake batter. Zoë reveals why using oil helps to keep your batter moist.

7 min
Make It: Vanilla Pound Cake

17: Make It: Vanilla Pound Cake

In this lesson, you'll make an all-purpose cake batter that you can bake in a traditional loaf or Bundt pan. Learn how to create great flavor, as well as the dense crumb, a signature of pound and Bundt cakes.

15 min
Make It: Angel Food Cake

18: Make It: Angel Food Cake

Uncover the secrets to making a super-light angel food cake. It's easier than you may think, especially with Zoë’s smart techniques! Find out how to whip eggs whites with two types of sugars, before gently folding them into your flour. Then see how to invert your cake after it bakes to keep in all the air that you worked so hard to create!

13 min
Method: Frosting Techniques

19: Method: Frosting Techniques

In this final lesson, Zoë shows you how to make an easy American buttercream frosting. You'll learn to frost cupcakes as well as a simple layer cake using an offset spatula; no piping required!

15 min