As we all know from the Great British Bake-Off, some baking stars are born and others are made. For many of us baking up a flawless sponge cake, or even a basic sugar biscuit can come as a challenge, but the joy of baking brings many benefits.
From helping us to destress after a long day to being able to provide a gift for friends and family when you have the art of baking down to a fine art life becomes quite joyful.
So if the Great British Bake-Off has inspired you to get creating in the kitchen, we’ve shared some of our top baking tips to help you become a star baker. We can’t guarantee you’ll become Pru Leath, but we can ensure you’ll create something edible.
Keep Your Ingredients in Order
You may not think that adding your ingredients in the right order would make a difference, but the science behind the bake means you really need to ensure you keep your ingredients in order.
For cake mixes and batters, it’s essential that you mix your dry ingredients together first. You could do this with a mixer, but you can also do this by hand.
The reason behind this simple tip is that the mixing of dry ingredients first helps to distribute the ingredients evenly.
It is only on the odd occasion, or when the recipe calls for it, that you should add the wet ingredients first.
For example, when baking bread, dough works best if you add the water to the mixing bowl first.
By adding the water first, it prevents the flour from sticking and clumping at the bottom of the bowl. This tip will give you a more manageable dough. Now that’s a Paul Hollywood secret!
While you may think of yourself as a bit of a Jamie Oliver in the kitchen with a slight disregard to exact measurements; the fact is in baking, sometimes the science requires precision.
Mary Berry herself promotes the use of measurements, as she believes it really can make all the difference to the end bake.
Even if you’re just out by a fraction, it can have serious consequences on the flavour and consistency of your bake.
Until you’ve truly perfected the recipe with the right measurements, then you can start to play around with it to create your own unique twist.
Store Eggs and Butter at Room Temperature
Treat baking as a casual affair because rushing it with the wrong temperatures and measurements can create a baking catastrophe.
For more recipes, items should generally be at room temperature, as this allows them to blend together.
If you are making a cake or some buttercream, eggs and butter should be at room temperature. This will ensure you have even baking results that are nice and fluffy.
When preparing your baking, you should try to place butter and eggs in the room an hour before you wish to use them. Cutting the butter into cubes so it’s ready and can be evenly mixed is also a little trick to keep in mind.
Whatever you do, avoid warming butter in a microwave or on the hob as it can turn greasy and stop the cake from rising.
Know Your Oven Temperatures
Every good baker gets to know their tools, and this includes their oven.
If you’ve been a keen binge-watcher of the Great British Bake-Off, you’ll be well aware of the disasters that can happen when an oven isn’t set to the right temperature. So before you begin your bake get to know your oven.
Even if you think you’ve set your oven to the right temperature, use another temperature gage to double-check. Many studies have shown that a surprising number of ovens don’t heat to the temperate you set them to, sometimes missing the required temperature by 40 degrees.
Test and trial your oven with simpler bakes before you create any grand masterpieces and invest in a good thermometer.
There are baking gadgets galore on the bake-off, and it’s no wonder why – because they do the job so much easier.
While you may be happy with your wooden spoon and a bowl, there are tools out there that will not only make baking a more enjoyable process but will also give you a better result.
All the Great British Bake-Off judges promote the use of gadgets in their cookbooks because it saves you time doing things by hand.
As Mary Berry says, “people are judging your bake, not the items that are in the kitchen sink.”
Speed and baking are two things that do not mix.
Just as the contestants on bake-off are given plenty of time for their baked creations, so should you give yourself adequate time to create your bake.
Don’t try to attempt a long cake recipe in 30 minutes. Read the recipe and give yourself plenty of time to not only make the bake but also allow time for any accidents or errors that occur.
Rushing the bake makes it less fun, and ultimately, will lead to a disappointing cake.
Use these simple tips for your next baking experiment, and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference they can make. Who knows, you may even be on next year’s Great British Bake-Off?
Order your baking ingredients from the Plumb’s pantry and surprise your friends and family with a star bake. We’ll deliver it straight to your door, so all you need to focus on is the preparation.