A Star In The Baking – Ben Delwiche

Windward Communications

You might know him as Ben the math teacher at Windward, but in the online world of social media, you may recognize him as @BenjaminTheBaker. From helping his mom make her famous Cookies on a Stick to becoming TikTok famous himself, Ben Delwiche has combined his three lifelong passions into a recipe for success.

Baking has been a part of Ben’s life for as long as he can remember. “I grew up baking with my siblings, with my mom, with babysitters, and then started working in bakeries when I was in high school.” Even after moving away for college, Ben worked in a bakery just a few miles from Boston College, where he received his B.A. in Mathematics and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. 

“Baking, teaching, and math have always been the three big things in my life,” he explains, “they have always been a part of my trajectory.”

To help build a sense of community during the pandemic, Ben first took his baking online with a series of “Bake-Alongs” for Windward’s faculty, staff, and students over Zoom. Using recipes he created, Ben guided his peers in making apple almond turnovers and students in making scones. “We made our dough from scratch. We made our apple filling. And even the frangipane was made from scratch,” he recalls. “ As we were baking, people would ask, 'Is this what it's supposed to look like? Am I rolling this out correctly?' It was a great way to have a sense of connection even while everyone was quarantining at home."

From there, Ben created a TikTok account, @BenjaminTheBaker, and began uploading videos he had already recorded of the baking experiments he was conducting at home while quarantining with his wife.

“It took me a little bit to figure out the style of video that I wanted to do; what I've settled on now, and what I typically do, is show the effect of different procedures or different ingredients on the final baked good,” he explains. “A lot of people talk about how one change might affect the final result, but I want to offer a visual that goes along with the explanation. That way people can make their own decision like ‘oh, it doesn't really bother me that it looks like this or that. Or 'I actually prefer the texture that someone else might say is 'incorrect.'’”

Thanks to Ben's long history of teaching and baking, and, as Ben points out, a combination of a little good timing and luck, the account was an instant hit.

“Within the first couple of videos that I actually made with the intention of posting was my first really big video about how to use a piping bag. And that was only like the fifth or sixth video that I ever posted on TikTok,” Ben recalls. “That one blew up. Within an hour it had 100,000 views, then it was at a million views within a few hours. When I went to sleep it was at 10 million views and when I woke up  it was at like 13 million.”

Within a year and a half, Ben had over 1 million home bakers following along to see what complicated process or technique he would make easily digestible next. Since then, Ben has released Everything Brownie – a sweet seasoning blend you can sprinkle on fruit, oatmeal or even coffee – and is working on a cookbook, which like his videos, focuses more on the science of baking than the recipes themselves. “The side that I'm really excited about and I like talking about is the explanations, the science behind things, the ‘why are you doing something’?”

While Windward students are lucky enough to experience Ben’s baking applications in the classroom every day, the rest of us will have to wait for his weekly 48-second videos.