If you watch reruns of The Great British Cake One too many times in the past year has inspired you to break out the pie tins or finally master braiding a loaf of challah, you might not know where to start. While the recipes are helpful, sometimes you need a little more guidance on perfecting those flaky layers of a croissant or figuring out why you’re using baking powder and not baking soda. Luckily for novice cooks, there are plenty of online pastry courses that have grown in popularity over the past year and made professional-level courses more accessible.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best online pastry courses for beginners and advanced confectioners, from mastering éclairs to fluffy artisan loaves of bread.

Features to keep in mind

Time constraints

“One thing people have told us over and over again is that when they take virtual baking classes they are more likely to do it again at home because they have had the experience of doing it before. their oven and their own equipment. . It makes them feel more confident in replicating what they’ve done, ”says Sara Molinaro, Bake’s Principal Instructor! To Zingerman’s bakehouse.

Like live cooking lessons, it is best to carefully read the time constraints for the lesson, especially if the lesson is “live” or via Zoom rather than a pre-recorded lesson that you can take at your own pace, depending on whether the lesson is “live” or via Zoom. Rebecca Eisenberg from The practical kitchen. Otherwise, you might have a hard time completing this flambé along with your other virtual classmates.

Competence level

As much as you could imagine the next Christina Tosi, have a realistic understanding of your abilities. Some online pastry classes or subscription services can get expensive, and you don’t want to be frustrated if you can’t create the proper whipped picks to complete the recipe.

“I think people who take online baking classes sometimes enter them blindly without really knowing what the class is about. Start small: choose a specific technique or a specific recipe. Make sure it challenges you, but doesn’t overwhelm you, ”says Greg Skipper, co-owner of Big daddy bakeware, the makers of our favorite cake pan.


And make sure you have the necessary tools to craft the goods. While most classes only require basic baking supplies, it’s a good idea to check your current arsenal to make sure you have the right cookie scoop or baking sheet.

“Before you take an online baking class, you should buy a kitchen scale,” says Molinaro. “You have to have a kitchen scale for accuracy. A kitchen scale is the easiest and fastest way to improve your baking game, and a good scale doesn’t need to cost more than $ 15.

Our top picks

Best overall: The Book of Butter

With over 200 online baking courses, The Butter Book aims to equip amateur bakers with the skills to tackle a variety of baked goods in three categories: baking, baking, and cake decorating. With lessons for bakers at any stage of their confectionery journey, The Butter Book’s courses focus not only on instruction, but also on building a strong community of members who share advice, tips and recommendations on the platform and on a “members-only” social network. page. Easily accessible on a mobile device and with on-demand lessons available anytime, you can choose to learn how to decorate an ombré cake at 3 a.m. or bake custard while your child is napping. A subscription costs $ 24.99 per month or $ 199 for one year.

Best Fundamental: American Test Cooking School

A good baking starts with a solid base of skills. America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School can take you from the science behind the classic chocolate chip cookie to a millionaire multi-layered shortbread. With 97 classic recipes and techniques to choose from, you can wow your family this Thanksgiving with a velvety pumpkin pie or become the neighborhood gingerbread queen. Available on-demand with a monthly subscription to ATK’s Cooking School (which also includes many online courses unrelated to baking), the baking professionals offer advice on potential pitfalls and useful tips found. after years of experience. You can start with a free two-week trial before getting a subscription, which costs $ 19.95 per month, or $ 39.95 if you want instructor feedback for specific temperature questions you might want. to have.

Ideal for baking bread: House of Bread

“90 percent of bread making uses the right ingredients and brings that bread to the ‘good dough’ stage,” says Sheila McCann of House of Bread in the introduction to her online baking classes. With its skillful and encouraging instructions, bread making can really seem so easy, even for beginners. The San Luis Obispo, Calif.-Based bakery stepped up its online teaching efforts in early 2020 and now offers downloadable courses featuring McCann who teaches everything from hard crust breads and flatbreads to whole wheat. with honey and gluten-free cooking. Classes are ordered individually at $ 9.95 per class and can be watched over and over as you begin to perfect your kneading technique.

Ideal for French pastry: Masterclass: Dominique Ansel

It’s no secret that James Beard Award winner Dominique Ansel is one of the most iconic pastry chefs, and thanks to MasterClass you can learn French pastry from him in your own kitchen. With baking classes covering French-speaking favorites like madeleines, fruit pies and candies, broken down into step-by-step components, Ansel’s videos are easy to follow, are digestible in length, and are endlessly inspiring. You need a MasterClass membership to access the course, which costs $ 180 per year, but it also gives access to classes from other top chefs, like Gordon Ramsay.

There are a lot discussion on the creation process. “For me, what makes pastry unforgettable is the emotion that emanates from the food. And that’s why I want to create a new pastry shop. I always try to take this into consideration, ”he remarks in his last lesson. And, yes, for the curious: There is a lesson with the Cronut.

Ideal for all other pastries: To cook! at Zingerman’s bakehouse

Sara Molinaro, Principal Instructor for Bake! At Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, enthusiastically embraced online baking classes in April 2020 and hasn’t looked back. The James Beard Award nominated baking arm of Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Molinaro’s Zoom-based baking class list is as playful as it is educational, spanning a list of casual American classics like hand pies (“Hooray for the hand pies! ”) and cinnamon rolls (“ Cinn-ful cinnamon rolls ”) as well as ingredient-based topics like“ maple magic ”classes and tahini baking. Prices vary by class, ranging from $ 20 to $ 75.

Ideal for cakes (and cake decorating): Do-it-yourself

For online baking classes that offer a lot of whimsy and a variety of instructors, look no further than the cake and cake decorating classes offered on Craftsy. Learn how to make Instagram-worthy (and sturdy) tiered cakes in an online course with Joshua John Russell from the YouTube show, Man about cake, or refine your classic cake skills with Matt Lewis from Cooked. Classes are available on demand and cost between $ 9.99 and $ 39.99. The decoration and presentation of the cakes is also central to this platform, because as any good baker knows, we eat first with our eyes.

Best vegan: Rouxbe

Based on Fran Costigan’s popular in-person vegan boot camp, Rouxbe’s 90-Day Essential Vegan Desserts Online Course is a progressive skill-building program that will appeal to both longtime vegans looking to improve their pastry game and curious omnivores. With a detailed curriculum guiding students through eight modules containing 90 recipes and over 200 tasks, the course leaves no vegan baking stones unturned, from aquafaba and dairy alternatives to quality chocolate choice and creation. vegan mousse. With reviews and unit reviews at the end of each module, along with a final presentation, Essential Vegan Desserts is well suited for students who really want to understand vegan cooking down to the fundamentals. The course costs $ 399.99, but be aware that if you fail to complete the course on time, a one month extension is available for $ 39.99

Ideal for children: King Arthur Flour’s Bake for Good

There is nothing that warms the heart of a greedy parent more than watching their child learn to cook. With King Arthur Flour’s online Bake for Good program, little bakers can have their hands covered in flour to knead dough, braid bread, and measure out cinnamon sugar. As a free outreach program for Grades 4 to 12, Bake for Good helps aspiring bread stars learn math and science skills through three guiding principles: learn, cook, and share. There is live distance education available for cohorts of over 50 students in Grades 4 through 7 (think: the size of a distance classroom), as well as the ‘self-directed’ program with videos. pre-recorded teaching adapted to all levels. Bake for Good is free after submitting an application, and King Arthur Flour sends each student a “baking kit” with the ingredients needed to complete the program.

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