Toaster Oven Baking

I bake more than I cook.

This whole obsession in perfecting muffins and cupcakes (that is my whole repertoire if any of you were curious – sadly. no cakes, yet) only started as of late, when I moved a thousand miles from my beloved tropical little country to chilly San Francisco. Philippine cuisine does not require the use of ovens (just stovetops and an outside grill), and the local bakery could supply every home with freshly made pandesal for just cents, so there was really no need for my family to have one. My mom might have dabbled into buying one when I was in college, but it was mostly left untouched and for decor for the “clean” kitchen.

My dad, despite being a pastry cook working on cruise ships, would never have thought of baking anything on the months that he was home on vacation. Much like the idea of taxi drivers not wanting to drive around during their days off, my dad would rather cook Chicken Adobo or Pinakbet or any other of his favorite dishes since he never got to eat those on the boat regularly. I would sometimes bring up the idea of making a cake, but instead of making one, I would come home to my favorite store-bought dessert and that was the end of it.

Fast forward to the present, I now know different baking terms and can execute my own little science project in the kitchen with ease. I'm proud of my blueberry muffins and, with a little help with my dad, I've learned how to wing a few. But I have to admit, big ovens intimidate me – you know the ones below your kitchen stove? They scare the crap out of me. It's way too huge and it's difficult to see in, making me feel like I'm not entirely in control of what I'm doing. All I can do is set the temperature on top and pray for the best.

That's why I prefer using the small oven toaster on the other side of the kitchen. It's tiny, can only fit one pan at a time, and I have to turn my muffin rack halfway to be able to get a good color on all muffins, but it feels manageable. The clear glass gives me some sort of comfort, knowing that I can see clearly how things are progressing inside. The one we have right now has seen all my successes and failures, and if there was a household appliance that I could call my best friend, this oven toaster would be it. I even joked to my mom once that if I moved out, she would have to let me bring the oven toaster with me (she said no).

In the near future, I'd like to expand and eventually try making cookies and bread. I've been super fascinated with the idea of making dough for a week and then baking it every day, but I feel like I would be cheating on rice if I had to consume the whole loaf. And besides, flour is currently scarce, and I'm riding on my last bag to tide me through this quarantine. For now, banana bread it is.


P.S. Absolutely on the cusp of getting a pro subscription here – I really want to post pictures after all, sans the social media aspect.

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