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It might initially seem hard to bake while at university. You have a lot going on. You have to get used to a new routine. You have lots of work to do. You are spending time making new friends. And on top of all this, you might not have baked or cooked at home. So here are my tips for how to bake throughout all the hustle and bustle of university life.
First things first, you need to buy baking equipment and supplies. This sounds obvious, but I didn’t bake a lot during the first year of university because I didn’t own scales and I didn’t keep stocked up on flour. But in second year I bought some scales and always had flour in the cupboard, and I baked about once a week. Chances are you didn’t think to buy baking essentials like a cake tin when moving to university, but if you want to bake you will need them.
Baking equipment is also not as expensive as it may seem. Chances are you will own baking trays (as you need them to cook frozen food), and you’ll probably get given a wooden spoon during fresher’s week (even though you already had one). Scales can be bought for under £10 and you can even buy American measuring cups which cost much less. Other items you can need can easily be bought for about £1 each. Ingredients are equally as inexpensive. They might make a food shop cost a bit more the first time, but once you have them you have them – a bag of flour will last you multiple weeks.
To simplify things for you, here is a checklist of the baking ingredients you will need:
- Scales/baking cups
- Baking trays
- Big bowls
- Cake tins and/or cupcake tins
- Wooden spoon
- Handheld whisk
- Measuring jug
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Tupperware boxes
- Greaseproof paper
Here are some baking essentials that are good to keep stocked up on (alternatives depending on dietary restrictions or lifestyle choices can be easily substituted):
- Flour (self-raising and plain)
- Butter/margarine and maybe a fat spray for greasing
- Sugar (for basic baking, it doesn’t matter if you use a different type than the recipe specifies)
- Baking powder and bicarbonate powder
- Vanilla extract
In terms of making time to bake, baking doesn’t actually take that much time. You can easily bake some biscuits or a cake in under an hour (and a lot of that time it will be in the oven). Baking is easy to fit into your day.
Baking is also a great group activity. You can bake with some of your flatmates or course mates and make it into a cheap social activity after you inevitably spend more money than you planned to during fresher’s week. Me and one of my housemates often bake our own things while having a natter in the kitchen. The kitchens in on-campus accommodation have more than enough room for multiple people to bake, so there’s no excuse. Even if the people you know don’t like baking, chances are they like eating baked goods. Sharing what you bake is a great way to spend time with the new people you will meet – and if you are good it is sure to make you popular with your flatmates!