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Q&A with senior Anabelle Yang, baking, exercising creativity, personality

Ava Reddick
Senior Anabelle Yang holds her finished croissants. She said she enjoys baking French breads and pastries.

How did you get interested in baking?

I think it has been since middle school, I don’t really know what started it. One of (the) first things I remember (is) I baked rainbow bagels because when I was in middle school that was a pretty big trend in New York city, so I saw that online and honestly a lot of my inspiration came from Snapchat, (specifically the) stories. Right now, I think they have matured a bit, but when I was in middle school it was mostly like food accounts and stuff like Tastemade and FoodNetwork that did little stories and I would kind of get my inspiration from that. I think it definitely jump-started during quarantine. I was a junior last year so, it’s been a little busy, but now that I’m a senior I have a couple of releases this semester especially I think it has definitely gone up, like way up (baking items). I’d say at least one or two times a week I would (bake) something.

What is your favorite thing about baking?

I’m very much a Type A person, following specific directions and I wouldn’t say I’m too creative in baking. I like having a set of instructions and following that to a “T” and doing all the details, all that work, so that even harder recipes are successful. I think other people do it because it’s calming, and it also gives me time to do something else other than just scrolling on my phone, but it’s definitely a way I can exercise my creativity. 

What is your favorite thing you have baked and why?

Oh, I think very recently, like this weekend I did my third attempt at croissants; a lot of French pastries are very intricate and you have to read the instructions very closely. So I probably should have stayed with one recipe and kept improving my techniques on that, this is my third attempt on a third different recipe. So I was pretty lucky (in) the fact that I could handle the temperature of the room and (had) patience with the resting time and although it took over 24 hours, I think it was pretty successful in the final product.

Have you made one of your own recipes?

I was actually just thinking about that this weekend too, I have not been into the realm of curating or developing my own recipes, I don’t think I understand all the science behind all the different aspects of baking and how those play together; I’m very much running off of Google searches and not even like French pastry books. So I think if I expand my understanding of every individual aspect I could probably begin to develop and test recipes, I think that takes a lot of time though, I definitely have been adapting my own and combining different techniques and recipes into my own, and I do have a little journal of that. 

What are your favorite recipes?

I really do enjoy making french pastries, like desserts, just because I like things that take a lot of time and that have a good amount of instruction, so that i can follow through with it for a while. I think recently I have been dealing a lot with yeast and bread and that type (of baked goods). Then like a couple months back I was (more) focused on very delicate (items), I used to really like making macarons. 

Senior Anabelle Yang rolls croissants. She said she was inspired to start baking after seeing a video of New York rainbow bagels. (Ava Reddick)

What is the best thing you have accomplished with your baking? How far have you come since you started?

I think I’m very intricate not as much in my baking but other aspects as well, and it’s kind of made me a perfectionist. Which isn’t the best thing in a lot of (situations), but I think with the attention to detail that’s needed when I’m making very specific recipes, it’s helped me think of the possibilities that could happen ahead. Like if I don’t keep my dough this temperature then what gonna happen in the final product? It’s made me think of those possibilities and the final product. 

Have you ever thought of a career or something similar to baking? Why?

It was definitely a goal when I was in seventh and eighth grade, luckily my friend told me to take the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) BioMed classes and I love those, but if money didn’t matter at all in the world and be satisfied without a monetary compensation and be okay, then I would definitely love to run one of those (bakeries), and I know those take a lot of time. It’s definitely something I see myself doing a lot in the future that’s not career-based. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to start baking? 

I feel like no matter the type of person Type A or Type B, organized or not, I feel like baking will give you some kind of delicacy or like perfectionism in some way even if you’re not that kind of person. It definitely helps to read the whole entire recipe before you even start and study that a little bit and gather like alternatives and if those will work, and stick directly to what the person is writing about (in the recipe). 

What supplies would someone need to get started? 

If someone just had a rubber spatula and a mixing bowl, I think (they’re) good to go and (as well as having) all the ingredients. I don’t think certain materials or cooking utensils are needed to be a good baker, it definitely lies in the technique and the time you spend and how long you spend on each step. In industrial bakeries they have dough sheeters and those like giant stand mixers, but homemade is definitely (more) doable, if your technique is correct and you have practice. 

Lydia Teeter


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