Hi! I’m Shani, and I’m the Chief Butter Ambassador here at Begin with Butter. Welcome!
Here at Begin with Butter, my goal is to make new bakers and non-bakers into unbelievably proficient bakers, by helping you decode the techniques, equipment and ingredients that advanced home bakers and pros use. I want to make baking addictively fun and approachable for absolutely anyone who wants to bake. I have a soft, squishy spot in my heart for beginners who doubt their ability to bake, because I was once one of those beginners.
In other words, on this blog we will break every perceived barrier to baking. This is a baking “fun”damentals (sorry 😬) blog where you’ll learn the “why” behind the recipes that you’re making. No matter your baking level, you can become a much more confident baker and make any recipe even better!
Origin Story (aka “Kids Change Everything”)
I understand new bakers and non-bakers because I was once one of you! You see, I couldn’t bake AT ALL until I began, quite by accident, in 2014. When I was a kid in the 80’s, my family declared that I lacked the aptitude for baking and shuffled me over to the savory side of the kitchen.
So, I became this person:
”I’m not a baker. I can’t do that. But I can cook though!” —Me, circa 198? until 2014.
This was not uncommon.
That all changed in 2014, when my daughter was a chubby-cheeked preschooler. One crisp autumn afternoon, I arrived to pick her up and saw it: THE SIGN UP LIST. WITH ONE REMAINING SLOT.
For the uninitiated, the sign-up list outside of the classroom is a Lord of the Flies kind of situation. It’s low-tech crowdfunding for classroom events. Basically, a teacher posts a list of needed items and each family signs up to bring an item or two.
Parents that arrived early signed up for napkins, cups, and plates. I never—NOT ONCE—arrived early on List Day. To this day, I am always LAST.
That day, there remained one item: alphabet sugar cookies and frosting. I’m certain that my face betrayed my utter horror at the impending ask, but the kindly teacher, undeterred by the fear in my eyes, ushered my beautiful, rumpled daughter toward me and said it:
“Can you sign up for our alphabet activity?”
And that is how my baking career began.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by twice?
After a delirious, sleepless night of measuring, mixing, chilling, rolling, chilling, cutting, chilling, rolling, baking, burning, chilling, cutting and baking some more, somehow I made 52 passable sugar cookies.
After that, I was hooked. But I quickly learned that what I’d been missing all those years was the understanding of why certain things worked in baking. Why do egg whites form stiff peaks when they’re whipped? Why does sugar change the texture of cake? Why does yeast need an optimal temperature to bloom perfectly, and what is that optimal temperature?
The questions came rapid fire after that sleepless night and they continue to this day. After the questions came the study. Then the practice. And more practice. And much. More. Practice.
I started Begin with Butter after years of learning the answers to these questions and using them to improve my own baking. Now that I know the answers to these “whys”, I love sharing what I’ve learned.
Begin with Butter represents my special and accessible baking style. It’s a blend of formal study and old-school family techniques that anyone can learn if they commit to learning why.
What You’ll Learn
Everything that you see on this site are tried and true from my years of study and practice. I hope you find them as useful as I have, and that you’re encouraged to start your own baking path!
Learning the science and techniques of baking demystified baking for me, and that’s what it can do for you! On this site, you’ll find “lessons” on baking science (like this one about the Basics of Butter), and also fun posts where I put that knowledge into practice (like here and here!). I hope you’ll stay for a while and check it all out. Don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s a pressing baking question or topic that you want to know more about!
For more about Begin with Butter, you can check out this video (and poke around the YouTube channel)!
Are you ready to conquer every baking hurdle you’ve ever faced? Are you ready to become more confident and consistent with your baking? Are you ready to have fun bonding moments with family and friends that end with beautiful and delicious treats? Go ahead and subscribe while you’re here so that you can get Begin with Butter directly in your mailbox!