A selection of my best home baking tips to take your from kitchen disaster to domestic goddess in no time
Home baking tips, I have to admit I love looking at other peoples home baking tips. Its so much fun reading other peoples tips and tricks in the kitchen. I vividly remember receiving my very first home baking tips from my Grandma, when I was little. Before the mixing bowls came out she would always shout at me to “tie your bloody hair back” I couldn’t do anything in the kitchen before tying my hair up. This advice always stuck with me and after 9 years in the hospitality industry I still keep a bag of hair ties in the kitchen drawer and the first thing I do when I start cooking is tie my hair back. It’s sound advice really but how often do you think to tie your hair back when you start a bake?
So today we are going back to basics, back to always tying your hair back. You may know some of them or even all of them, but give them a quick look over to remind yourselves any way. These tips will take you from novice to baking pro in no time!
Promise me if you only take on board one tip you will remember this. Before you take out the mixing bowl or start to weigh everything out, read the recipe start to finish. We’re all guilty of jumping the gun and I know I often find myself creaming butter and sugar together before I’ve finished the ingredients list. But trust me, read the recipe start to finish.
Know the lingo. If the recipe calls for your to cream together butter and sugar, it wants you to use the paddle attachment of your stand alone mixer and beat together the butter and sugar for at least 3-5 minutes until pale and creamy. Chop, dice, knead and fold all mean something specific in the baking world and if it isn’t explained do a quick internet search for the meaning.
The sentence structure is also important when reading recipes. 100g sifted flour wants you to sieve the flour before you weigh it but if the recipe called for 100g flour, sifted it would like you to weigh then sieve. Perform the tasks in the order they are written.
Unless stated otherwise always assume that your ingredients need to be at room temperature. Generally if the recipe calls for cold cubed butter for pastry maybe, it will say butter – cold, cubed. If it just says butter, assume it is room temperature. Ingredients generally need to be the same temperature for baking, this ensures and even bake.
Set aside. I have had a lot of questions from people getting confused about this simple step. Generally, in a recipe, when it says set aside or pop to one side. It simply means that we are finished with this for now, you can forget about it for the minute and start on the next step, we will come back to it later.
Cups vs Grams.
I find it very tedious as a Brit to constantly have to convert recipes from imperial to metric. I get so confused when a recipe asks for 8 tablespoons of butter, what? or my personal favourite a stick of butter, a stick, I will never understand how a stick is a unit of measurement. However there are two simple work around for this, Americans, buy a set of scales, most come with a grams function. Rest of the world, measuring cups are your new best friends. For those of us that don’t know how to use them, they should be lightly filled, not packed down then gently levelled off with the back of a knife. If anyone can tell me what on earth a stick of butter is that would be amazing.
You can get online recipe converters but I find them unreliable. If you don’t have a set of measuring cups, you can google the conversion to grams but beware different ingredients will convert differently. I cup of flour is not the same weight as 1 cup of oats although they are the same in volume. Cups are a measurement of volume whereas grams are a measurement of weight. If you need to convert, print the recipe out and wright down the conversion next to it, I always forget if I don’t do this. Or convert it and weight it out straight away.
And there you have it, my recipe tips for home making. If I have missed anything out let me know in the comments. You can find more baking tips here.