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MY TOP 10 GENERAL BAKING TIPS

7 Aug 2015
In an unprecedented turn of events, I have actually been quite busy lately and I haven't had much time to bake anything. Yes, I am aware that The Great British Bake Off has just begun and yes, I am a big fan of Mezza Bezza and Paul Hollywood, but sometimes my priorities lie elsewhere.

Although I do have a few recipes in mind for this weekend, I'm paying homage to the start of GBBO this week by sharing with you some of my essential baking tips. These are probably suited mainly for beginners, but some of them are very general, and things I've only learnt the importance of quite recently.


1. SOFTEN THAT BUTTER.

Always soften the butter if you're using a wooden spoon to mix. Even cubing it will help, but leaving it out at room temperature or microwaving it (carefully) for a few seconds will do the trick.

2. AND PLEASE CHILL THAT COOKIE DOUGH.

When you have time to chill your dough, even if only for a few hours, then please do. Of course, it depends on what cookies you're making, but if you rush them into the oven immediately then they may turn out more cakey than expected. 

3. SALTED BUTTER COULD BE WHAT YOU'RE MISSING.

If you are like me and don't like the taste of the standard vanilla buttercream used on cupcakes, then try using slightly salted butter. Yummy.

4. INSTAGRAM WORTHY BAKES ARE FAB, BUT NOT ESSENTIAL.

I've literally spent hours (honestly, just ask my family) trying to decide what to bake based on what I'm in the mood for and what will look the best. I quite often end up being so tired out from the decision process that I don't even make anything in the end. Just relax! Bake what you want. Instagram should not control your life and the taste is far more important.

5. READ THOSE REVIEWS.

When finding recipes online on sites like BBC GoodFood, try to read the poor reviews and note down changes the reviewers have made to the recipe. This will save you from making common mistakes.

6. PRETTY RECIPES BOXES/BOOKS ARE YOUR FRIENDS.

Get a pretty book to put your favourite recipes in, because if you just try to bookmark and save everything you find online then you will end up forgetting to print them out. It just makes finding recipes so much simpler and it's also great for adding notes when you want to change up a recipe.

7. ROOM TEMPERATURE BUTTER = ROOM TEMPERATURE EGGS.

Another little thing which admittedly, is not essential. Look at the recipe and if it says room temperature ingredients, use room temperature ingredients.

8. BAKING TIME VARIES DEPENDING ON YOUR OVEN.

I barely ever actually stick to the baking time as stated on the recipe, because my oven seems to be slower than the majority. Familiarise yourself with your oven and find out what works for you. If the recipe says remove the cake after 30 minutes, you don't have to stick to that.

9. DON'T TRY TO OUTSMART THE RECIPE UNTIL YOU ARE EXPERIENCED ENOUGH.

A lot of my friends and family lose patience and don't bother following the recipe properly. This can work with simpler baked goods like cakes, but even then it's little details like missing out the baking powder that can ruin the end product. Stick to the instructions until you feel confident enough to experiment.

10. FANCY EQUIPMENT = FANCY PRODUCTS

Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do by hand. Invest in a piping bag and some nozzles, cookie cutters, a pastry brush, a sugar shaker etc. etc. If you don't care all that much about perfect appearance (which is completely fair enough, it won't be on that plate looking pretty forever), then you can save your pennies and completely ignore this.

What's your top baking tip? That one thing you continuously couldn't be bothered to do until one day you were feeling experimental, and now you swear by it? Let me know!

Imogen x


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Please feel free to leave a comment, it really makes my day! Imogen x