If you're serious about baking and looking for something other than cooking courses, then The Butter Book is for you. Founded by a pair of highly decorated French bakers, the online school has a vast lesson library covering topics like pastries, bread, cake (baking and decorating), pie, cookies, petit fours, and more.
In addition to learning recipes, you will also be schooled in fundamental, time-tested techniques. The European approach to baking draws on centuries of knowledge, tradition, and an organized apprenticeship system dedicated to the mastery of this age-old craft. Before you know it, you'll be whipping up croissants for breakfast, bread for lunch, macarons at tea time, and soufflé for dessert.
The Butter Book is available on a subscription basis. You can join monthly or yearly. If you want to check out the goods before you commit, The Butter Book offers a 10-day free trial. The cost is around $25 for the monthly membership or about $200 for the year.
Whether you are a novice or an experienced bread baker, the odds are you can benefit from spending a few hours advancing your craft under the tutelage of Peter Reinhart.
As one of the most respected baking instructors in America, Reinhart teaches at the renowned Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts and is the author of several acclaimed books on bread, pastries, and pizza. Rest assured, the man knows what he's doing.
With almost two and a half hours of video instruction, Reinhart's Artisan Bread Making class features ten lessons covering bread—from baguettes and marble rye to babka—as well as information about supplies, fundamentals, and advanced techniques.
Craftsy offers both memberships and individual classes. A subscription gives you access to all of Reinhart's courses, plus the remainder of Craftsy's content on a monthly or yearly basis.
For a single class, Reinhart's Artisan Bread Making lesson is around $40. A subscription to Craftsy, which hosts the course, is about $8 per month, or approximately $80 per year.
Best for Pastries:
MasterClass - Dominique Ansel Teaches Pastry Fundamentals
Dominique Ansel has been called a dessert genius and some have compared him to Willy Wonka.
His most famous invention, the trademarked Cronut, took the world by storm in 2013. Today, his whimsical sweets are the driving force behind a growing empire of bakeries in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Hong Kong.
His Pastry Fundamentals course on the MasterClass platform is made up of 17 lessons, totaling more than three and a half hours of instruction. It covers four items in-depth: the fruit tart, chocolate cake, bonbons, and "The Perfect Croissant." By delving into these topics, Ansel showcases his creative process, revealing how basic elements and a little imagination can lead to greatness.
The masterclass is only available through a yearly subscription. Currently priced at around $180, you will receive two passes for all of the platform's content. Pro-tip: Keep one for yourself and gift one to a friend.
Best for Cookies:
Learn the Pastry Arts - The World of Cookies
The world of cookies is diverse and seemingly endless. It's hard to believe that flour, sugar, eggs, and butter can create such a vast and diverse collection of treats.
If you're looking for an adventure in this magical land, check out Marco Ropke's World of Cookies class on Udemy. Ropke is a master baker with over 25 years of professional experience.
His cookies course includes 25 lectures, three and a half hours of on-demand video, 10 articles, and 23 downloadable resources, including easy-to-follow recipes. The videos cover baking basics, cookie fundamentals, and recipes for 14 different cookies—a mouthwatering list that includes Sables, Linzers, wafers, almond crescents, and, of course, chocolate chip.
Ropke is a well-reviewed instructor on Udemy, and his World of Cookies class is highly-rated. Lifetime access to the course is currently offered for a one-time payment of around $20. If you're not thoroughly satisfied, Udemy offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best for Beginners:
Baker Bettie's Baking Fundamentals
If this is the beginning of your baking journey and you want to go a little deeper than the back of the box of brownie mix, check out the Baking Fundamentals course from Kristin "Baker Bettie" Hoffman.
A former musician, Hoffman's "Baker Bettie" alter ego embodies her lifelong, passionate pursuit of baking skills and knowledge. Her Fundamentals course, (which she offers free of charge) has two parts: Baking Basics and How Ingredients Function in Baking.
Baking Basics comprises five lessons, covering terminology, equipment, and basic processes like mise en place ("everything in its place" in French) and reading a recipe. How Ingredients Function in Baking offers seven lessons on the science behind the magic, describing the roles played by flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and the specific contributions they make to the final product's qualities.
Each course is free and includes a video, clear explanatory text, photos, and links to recipes for the assigned homework—nowall you need is someone to grade them.
Gluten-Free Baking From America's Test Kitchen
You may have seen the TV show, but did you know that America's Test Kitchen also has an online cooking school? Among the more than 300 courses is an in-depth lesson in gluten-free baking. The seven-part class will teach you the principles behind gluten-free techniques and ingredients.
You'll learn about the various flour blends on the market and how to create your own. Then you'll put your knowledge to work with three guided recipe lessons: Yellow Layer Cake, Chewy Sugar Cookies, and Blueberry Pie.
The cooking school offers two tiers of membership. For around $20 per month, you get access to all of the content available. For approximately $40 per month, you'll have access to the full library, plus interactive guidance from America's Test Kitchen instructors.
In March 2020, Christina Tosi, a two-time James Beard Award recipient and Milk Bar bakery founder, started teaching lessons through her personal Instagram account.
Calling the project #bakeclub LIVE, Tosi appears on Instagram Live with a new recipe tutorial every day. Her lessons are informal, freewheeling, and full of energy as she explains her process and the creative thinking behind her baking.
Tosi teaches her followers how to make things like oat cookie bars, brown butter Nilla Wafers, mug cakes, and strawberry cereal squares. Tosi posts the ingredients the day before, so you can pick them up if you want to bake along with her.
If you miss the live broadcast, not to worry. All the recipes are posted on her website, and the videos live on her IGTV page for anyone to watch. Best of all, it's totally free.
Best for Kids and Families:
Bake for Good,
by King Arthur Flour
The King Arthur Baking Company has produced a trove of educational content over the years. King Arthur is helping bakers everywhere improve their craft, from its "Baker's Hotline" and online recipe guides to its videos and brick-and-mortar schools.
Bake for Good is King Arthur's longstanding effort to help young people grow into good citizens by teaching math, science, reading, and community through the medium of bread, and the company has condensed this program into an online class.
Hosted by Paula Gray, the class unfolds in four episodes, revealing how one basic dough can be used to create different types of breads, pastries, or even pizza. You can watch all the videos for free.
What Is an Online Baking Class?
Online baking classes are a way to learn to bake from the comfort of your own kitchen. The classes we choose focus on a broad variety of baking skills, rather than a single aspect.
Do I Need Baking Experience to Take an Online Baking Class?
While most of the classes are designed for the beginner, some, such as those offered by The Butter Book, offer more advanced classes.
How Much Does an Online Baking Class Cost?
Prices vary for each course. For example, The Butter Book costs about $25 per month, others charge annual rates, and Reinhart's Artisan Bread Making has a single course option for $20.
How We Chose the Best Online Baking Classes
We researched more than 30 different sites and looked over hundreds of customer reviews to find the online baking classes with the most comprehensive resources. We looked for courses that would address broad categories of baking knowledge rather than those that focus on a single item.