Before getting started brewing, you should be fully prepped with a plan. The brewing schedule, which includes the recipe and all steps involved, all equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and the ingredients should be ready for use.
Whether you are brewing on the stove top or outdoors using a propane burner, you will want everything ready. Kettle, water supply, ingredients, spoon, cleaning and sanitizing buckets full, sponges, spray bottle, fermenter, and other accessories like racking cane, wort chiller, hydrometer, and thermometer.
All equipment should be in the same area with easy accessibility. If not, you will find yourself tripping over parts. Give yourself plenty of room, but everything should still be within reach.
Thoroughly scrub the kettle, spoon, fermenter, airlock, hydrometer, and all other pieces. I typically scrub 2 or 3 times to make sure they are spotless. By this I don't mean a quick, 5 second scrubbing. Spend a few minutes on each item. Inspect it for debris, and if you see any, scrub again.
After this, sanitize each part for at least 30 seconds, although longer is fine. Leaving parts in sanitizing solution will not hurt anything.
Some sanitizers are known to leave foam behind. There is nothing wrong with it. In fact, the foam will continue sanitizing. It is all food grade.
Remember, the beer will be touching almost everything. It will remain in the fermenter at least 2 weeks. Make the effort to clean it thoroughly now so you can have peace of mind later.
After using equipment, such as a spoon or hydrometer, clean and sanitize it again. Once the brew day is over, everything must be cleaned a final time.
Brewing beer is 80-90% cleaning. A brewer is a glorified janitor who happens to brew beer. If you despise cleaning, or don't want to make the effort to scrub everything, you might want to find another hobby.
Compare the recipe with ingredients. Do you have everything? The right quantities, all malt extracts, hops, and adjuncts? If you don't, you should stop now and get everything. Once brewing has started, you can't stop, it must be finished.
Read the recipe carefully. Do you understand everything? For a basic malt extract recipe, usually it only involves a can of malt extract, possibly some dry malt extract, and some use additional hops. It may have a timeline of when to add ingredients. Most very basic recipes will not have those details because many of the steps were already done by the manufacturer.
The basic elements of a canned malt recipe are the malt and quantity, optional hops, yeast, how long to ferment, and what temperature.
Once you have cleaned and sanitized all equipment, read the recipe, and verified you have all the ingredients, you are ready to begin.
On average, expect canned malt extract brewing to take 2-3 hours, and fermenting about 2 weeks.