Top Tips for Beginner Bakers

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 by Anna Scott
We’re nearly at the end of National Baking Week, and if you haven’t yet had the chance to get stuck into your Victoria Sponge or Macaroons, then this weekend is the ideal opportunity. But although there are many out there with the ability to whip up a sweet treat at the drop of a hat, the world is still full of baking beginners who need pointing in the right direction. Baking doesn’t have to be complicated, but if you want to get started, get your head around the basics first…


Don’t Skimp on the Quality

Butter and sugarYou know how shop-bought cakes tend to taste better the more money you spend on them? Well, the same tends to go for the home-baked stuff too. We’re not talking a vast array of fancy ingredients, but rather spending a little bit more the essentials (and you can still save on this sort of quality when you shop with Waitrose discount codes). Butter, for example. The supermarket value brand is all very well and good, but you’ll get a much better flavour if you spend about 50p-£1 more on a decent brand. Some other useful points to remember - cheaper self-raising flours tend not to result is a very good rise, and the one thing you want out of your sponge is a good rise, and happy eggs from happy eggs with give everything an extra bit of richness.


Accuracy is Everything

Choc chip cookiesLikewise, if a recipe specifies a particular type of ingredient, then stick with it and don’t be tempted to substitute for something that looks vaguely similar, because it WILL end up affecting the end result. Experimentation in cooking is generally a good thing – there’s nothing wrong with a bit of creativity, after all - but a successful bake rises and falls (quite literally) on accuracy and that doesn’t just come down to measuring your ingredients correctly. Think about how reliable your oven temperature gauge is and how you can compensate if it has a tendency to be a bit temperamental. The temperature of your ingredients is also a key factor (the recipe might require your butter to be room or fridge temperature, and your eggs shouldn’t be too cold), and if you want consistency, then measuring out your portions is a good idea. Use Dunelm promo codes to see if you can save on many different measuring devices, and a good trick for cookie dough portions is to use an ice cream scoop. Simple but very effective.



Chocolate cakeAlthough there are many quick and easy recipes available for those with a limited amount of time (check out The Works promotional codes for a wide choice of baking books), all types of baking require a certain degree of patience. There’s something rather cruel about the deliciousness of the smells coming from your oven combined with the necessity to wait until everything has cooled down before you tuck in. But cool down it must. Unless you want a crumbly mess. This is especially important if you plan on icing your cake or bake, because icing does not like warmth. It’s imperative that you wait until the cake has completely cooled – why else do you think they keep shoving them in the freezer on The Great British Bake Off?


Greaseproof Paper

Homemade breadA worthwhile investment for lining cake tins if you to avoid your bake sticking to the bottom. And here’s a top tip on how to get it to fit properly – cut out the right amount of paper (a larger piece than you need to line the whole tin), then run it under a tap and squeeze out the excess water. The paper will be strong enough to hold together and you can just unravel it and mould it to fit the inside of your cake tin perfectly.


So, in the week where both National Baking Week AND The Great British Bake Off semi-final fall, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to get started on your first bake.

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