We’ve found an amazing Indian home-baker with a very nice story to share with us. A can’t-miss, Steffy Liza has an Instagram account where you can keep track of her work and bakes, believe it or not: she’s an authentic self-taught and we’re very happy we found her! Judge with your own eyes and behold the talent…
A&B: Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings as a Baker?
Hello! A little introduction first! I’m Steffy Liza Sunny, a home-baker from Kerala, a southern state in India. I worked as a Software Engineer until two years ago, now I bake goodies at home for friends and ex-colleagues for their small celebrations and gatherings.
I started baking about 3 years ago, just after my wedding.(Quite late I would say, more on that later.) My husband having a big sweet tooth helped too.
The baking got serious when we lived in the U.S for the second half of 2018. I was jobless and had no contacts or friends anywhere nearby.
I binge-watched all seasons of the Great British Bake Off and from there on, every baking related video that popped up in my suggestions. I read a lot of articles about the beginner stuff and joined an Indian baking group on Facebook. I practiced recipes with a toaster oven that my husband got me on our first wedding anniversary.
The excitement grew with each bake and the feedback I got was my biggest source of motivation. All those hours spent on the phone and the TV have finally paid off and now I can proudly say that I’m very much self-taught!
I’m inspired by a lot of bakers who very selflessly explain the techniques and the science behind this therapeutic modern-day alchemy through social media and their blogs. I’m not giving any names since there are so many whom I have learned from and the list is truly endless!
A&B: How was baking back in India?
I must provide some background information to answer this question. India has a great variety of cuisines, but most of them do not involve baking. Thus, the lower to middle-class families almost never have an oven in their kitchens (the reason why I was never into baking while growing up), although home-baking and use of ovens are on the rise now.
This also means that the ingredients used in conventional baking recipes such as different kinds of cheese and creams, good quality baking chocolates, etc are not readily available in our groceries/supermarkets.
This is the case even in Tier-II cities like the one I’m currently living in, and I’d say this is the biggest challenge for home-bakers in India. Big Bakeries have their own way to find ingredients and equipment of course, but not many home-bakers.
A lot of people have started baking at home in recent years and their online stores have started popping up to cater to their needs, which is definitely good. There’s also a lot of home bakers who try workarounds and invent substitutes to use in their bakes and I have a great deal of respect for them.
A&B: You and the process of Baking…
As I stated earlier, my husband is my greatest cheerleader. As soon as we were back in India, we started to have friends over to taste my bakes. My best friends wouldn’t stop talking about them and the word of mouth started fetching me orders for birthday cakes.
That “mmm..” from someone after tasting my bake continues to inspire me and the hours of study,thinking, planning, baking and decorating seem so worthwhile then. Taste of a cake is the most important aspect to me and I focus more on playing with flavors rather than going big on decoration.
My previous job had failed to give me the feeling of confidence and self-worth that this job has given me and I’ve chosen baking as my full-time job now. Although I’ve not gone big commercially and still operate out of my convection microwave and a tiny kitchen, I plan to take a license soon and spread my wings.
A&B: What inspired you?
Like I said above, the feedback from someone after tasting something I baked is what I love the most about baking(even more than relishing it myself!) It fuels me to work hard, look for every detail and try to learn new techniques and flavors that are not common in this part of the world.
A&B: How do you see the future for yourself as a baker?
As much as I want to become successful and big with my baking business, I want to inspire and get people like me to bake at home. Like Gemma Stafford of Bigger Bolder Baking or John Kanell of Preppykitchen who have a big audience on Youtube, I want to become someone people can identify themselves with. Someone who tells them baking need not be complicated and that baking at home is much better and healthier than the mass produced, preservative laden stuff available outside.
Many people stay away from baking because they are afraid they will consume too much-refined flour, sugar and fat, or due to their vegetarian or vegan preferences. I want to tell them that baking with wholegrains and natural sugars are very much possible and that there are vegetarian/vegan substitutes to almost all the ingredients.In short, I want to make people see that if I can do it, they can too.
I’ve been successful in getting some of my friends and family bitten by the baking bug. My Instagram page is still fairly new and especially at this time when people are spending more time on social media, I plan to convey these messages to my followers. I also hope this article would help me find a bigger audience. No one can deny the fact that a home-baked good is sure to put a (much needed now) smile on anyone’s face!
Follow Steffy on Instagram for more on her beautiful craft…
*She shared an amazing Recipe with us that will publish on Friday, July 10, 2020, Find it under Recipes It’s an Indian Cardamom, Orange and Ginger Cake