Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom
In Episode 69 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Liren talks to Anna Olson, the professionally trained chef and host of Food Network’s Bake with Anna Olson, as well as the popular Oh Yum with Anna Olson channel on YouTube, about her latest book, Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make you a Better Baker, troubleshooting baking blunders, her love of Eastern European desserts, and more!
Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker — with Anna Olson
On the podcast, I recently spoke with Anna Olson. Anna is a professionally trained chef and host of Food Network’s Bake with Anna Olson and the popular Oh Yum with Anna Olson channel on YouTube. Anna also shares her baking expertise as the author of 10 best-selling and award-winning cookbooks. She has released her latest book, Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker.
In this episode, we chat about her love of baking that started with her grandmother, how she approaches recipes when she writes them, and all kinds of tips and tricks to help you troubleshoot any baking blunders you might encounter.
Listen to the full episode here, or keep reading for some of my favorite moments with Anna.
How did you get started baking?
From a young age, my love of baking was influenced by my grandmother. Baking was how she expressed herself creatively and showed her love. If you wanted to hang out with her, you’d hang out in her kitchen, and she would inevitably put you to work. Her love and ease of baking were so contagious, and it became a side-by-side enjoyment of baking as it became a love and relaxing hobby of mine, as well.
However, I never saw baking as a career. First, I worked in banking for many years. I worked long, stressful hours. At one point, I found myself up at 2 am baking muffins to relax. It was then I realized that baking was what made me happy, so I quit my job and entered a fast-tracked culinary program.
As an apprentice, I was drawn to smaller restaurants with seasonal, local menus. I started as a chef, not a pastry chef. However, I would always fill in for the pastry kitchen. In doing so, I was thrown into situations and had to rely on my resources. I very quickly learned the “whys” behind how things were done in baking and found it all very interesting, so I went down that path.
Tell us more about your book, Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide
Whether you are a novice or an experienced baker, building confidence in baking is all about knowing how to avoid a disaster or get yourself out of a pickle. My goal is always to make baking an enjoyable, relaxing process and avoid throwing away expensive baking ingredients. Therefore, this book walks you through all the basics and how to navigate or troubleshoot any baking blunders you might encounter.
For example, have you ever overwhipped egg whites? The book has a section about how to whip egg whites to the proper peaks, why you whip them, and how to fix it if you overwhip them.
In baking, there is always more to learn. I encourage readers to approach it with a sense of curiosity. Whether you’re a novice or an expert baker, I bet you can find something new and insightful in it.
Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker, by Anna Olson (Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, 2023).