What’s your opinion about baking, an Art or a Science?

well this is my own opinion on the subject and i hope you find it interesting.

I wouldn’t want to start a debate, so I will just say from the beginning that in my own opinion it is both. I will keep the definitions as simple as possible.

Art is the use of a technical skill to express or communicate something. The artist applies his or her creative imagination to the basic framework of their chosen medium to produce an original piece.

Science is an intellectual and practical activity that encompasses the systematic study of the structure and behavior of physical and natural elements through, observation and experiment.

Lets take cakes as our case study.

Every ingredient has a purpose with baking recipes. Let’s look at our cakes, flour gives the structure, eggs bind the ingredients together, baking powder and baking soda gives it it’s dough, fats like butter and oil make it less chewy, and sugar sweetens and keeps it moist.

Scientific nature.

When we look at the critical measurements, analysis, procedures, observation, results and conclusions after a baking experience (I say this because every baking I do is a time of experiment and learning for me) we see the scientific part of the baking process. This is the beginning everything.

Taking a look at the artistic part of the baking process, well practically everything done after the cake has been baked and taken out of the oven has to do with the “art” part of baking.

Artistic nature.

Why do I call it an art?  Okay let’s take a really random comparison here; Take a look at the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci, there’s no two similar painting right? Each one of them expresses a different feeling, thought, state of mind and others and that’s what makes them unique.

Same goes for personal cakes, especially for those who have a creative mind, they wouldn’t want to make the same cake over and over so there is always this need to tweak and improve, vary or come up with a completely different way of decorating and presenting your cake.

Some people even make cake according to how they feel (well I haven’t seen an angry cake yet but maybe it’s been done).

What about business cake companies?

Not saying business cakes are not artistic, they definitely are because though there exist company catalogues that allow you to choose the type of cake you want, reproducing those cakes to the closest resemblance possible is not an easy task kudos to all cake decorators.

So with this I will definitely say that the decoration and presentation of cake can be seen as an art. You know what, matter of fact it is an art, I mean how else could one describe those exquisite displays of cake on various celebrations.

What more about the art and science of baking.

With baking, the process is irreversible, hence, accidents tend to be more pronounced. Traditional baked goods are usually 50% flour, how this flour interacts with the other ingredient will determine the nature of the final product.

This brings us to the point that science is the foundation but art is based mostly on the appearance and structure. Recipes, ingredients and measurements are sometimes adjusted according to personal needs.

There is usually a myth that you cannot be creative with recipes when you are baking, well I’ll say this is not true.  I can say this confidently as everyone one who started baking at a certain time would. I mean when beginning baking we don’t always do use the recipe to the exact, but at the end of the day the result comes out pretty good right! This just proves that there is a lot of room for creativity.

More to this is the fact that most recipes created are born from an inspiration, idea or a concept rather than a practical calculation. The scientific aspects come in later to help make adjustments and adequate measurement to make the recipe and process to result in a very productive outcome.

Nevertheless it’s a science too after all. Yeast and  baking powder reactions though you can play with the quantities to get a desired consistency, as such though you might follow recipe measurements and ingredients to the exact, experience and practice come along after a while and further in after reading so many recipes and ingredient sets you may start to see patterns. When this happens it becomes easy for you to adapt your recipes.

In conclusion.

I guess after all this I might have to take a stand, well since am more of a creative type.

I will go for the point that baking is an art with open and flexible activities that allows for creative ideas and innovation to come to life, all these backed by scientific understanding of ingredients, processes and reactions that combine together to give an appealing and delicious product.

Let me know what’s your wing on this.

Thanks for reading. 

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