Master Chef's Cooking Class: Baking
Baking is one of the easiest methods of cooking, in that all it requires is fire to heat up the ingredients. However, in order to create a really delicious treat, it'll require ample amounts of practice and experience, which in turn makes it one of the most difficult methods to master. Baking is quickly solidifying the outside of the ingredient with fire, preserving the juice and ingredients inside. That's why it can also be construed as similar to stir-fry, but it does not involve oil, water, or others, which insures preserving its own original taste.
Baking largely can be classified in two types, baking straight through fire, or through a tool.
Baking straight through fire would mean the ingredients may be skewered on a stick or on tongs, then have direct contact with fire. For added taste, you'll need to be prepared with additives on the food either prior to baking or during the baking. For this method, the source of fire, as well as the strength of fire determines the taste. That's because the scent of the source of fire is laden on the food itself. There's no pot that gets in the way, so if it's not cooked on the cooking oven, but rather on a campfire, it'll burn in no time.
Most of the baking involves tools like frying pan.
One think to note about this method: make sure not to have the ingredients stuck on the frying pan or other tools. Mostly people put some cooking oil on the pan to grease it up, but too much oil may turn this into stir-frying session, so it's best to just cook with natural oil that smears out of the ingredients when heated.
Another thing to note when baking with a tool would be to control the strength of fire. Actually, this is the pivotal point in cooking through this method. In the beginning, you should use a pre-heated tool to really cook the outside, then use weak fire to make sure that the inside is well-baked too. On meats, it is absolutely essential to cook it all at once, with minimal flipping.
A variation of this is smoke-drying.
It's a mixture of straight-fire and through tools. You place the ingredients in a cramped space, and set off the fire underneath, and use the smoke that comes from the fire as the main source of heating. It's usually used for cooking fish and meat, and for smoke-drying, the choice of firewood is absolutely essential.
It preserves the nature of the ingredients, and once it's smoked, the food can be kept for much longer time than others.
Once you master the art of baking, you can say you have the foundation to master other methods of cooking, too. That's how much you've become familiar with fire. A fully-baked dish can pleasure multiple senses at once, so please work hard towards mastering this awesome method!