Bright Ideas!

Knife and whiskSince I’ve been baking, I’ve come across hints, tips and advice from websites, peers, magazines and also by trail and error. Instead of being selfish and keeping them all to myself I thought I’d share the love, so we can all learn from each other.
If you come across some great advice or your nan has given you some pearls of wisdom let me know (get in touch here) and I’ll add them on!
Share the beautiful baking love peeps!

1) If you haven’t got a metal skewer or toothpick handy to test if the bake is ready to come out of the oven, use a piece of raw spaghetti pasta

2) For lovely, crumb-free slices of cake, run the knife under a very hot tap for 30 seconds or so, wipe so it’s dry, then cut your cake!

3) To stop a cake/loaf becoming dry if you have already sliced a few pieces, pop a piece of bread on the exposed side and wrap well in cling film (or put in an airtight container). It’ll stay moist and won’t dry out!

4) When measuring out sticky ingredients like honey/peanut butter/golden syrup lightly spray the jug with 1Kcal oil spray, it won’t stick to the sides then, happy pouring!

5) In the oven, position the pans right in the centre, no sides touching the walls. If you have more than one pan and they don’t fit in side by side, put them on different racks. Don’t put them straight underneath each other, off set them, so the heat can circulate. Also, make sure you rotate the baking pans, so they evenly bake.

6) When creaming together the butter and sugar in a recipe do it for at least 5 mins, more if you can bare it, this makes the cake light and fluffy.

7) When you butter/grease a baking tin use a piece of kitchen roll or a plastic bag. If you are trying to keep the bake as healthy as possible, use 1Kcal oil spray instead of butter (or for a dairy free alternative!)

8) If your cake never comes out level give the batter a wobble from side to side quite vigorously (once you have put it in a prepared baking tin) and lift it off the work surface and let it drop down. This will make the batter even.

9) If you have time, before you add eggs to a mixture, seperate the yolks and the whites into different bowls. Beat the yellows until they are light and a more golden colour, whisk them into the mixture. Then whisk the whites until they are frothy and then add them to the mixture.

10) We all know I LOVE coconut and desiccated coconut is quite a nice way to decorate a bake. If you want to colour it, pour some desiccated coconut into a jar, fill it half full, add a couple of drops of desired food colouring, and shake the jar. Viola!

11) Melting Chocolate. There are a few ways of doing this, however my preferred method is by melting it over a pan of simmering water, also known as a BAIN MARIE. Break your chocolate into pieces and pop in a heatproof bowl. Sit this bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (there shouldn’t be much water in the saucepan, about a quarter full, you don’t want the water touching the heatproof bowl). Allow the chocolate to melt and stir occasionally.

12) Can’t find Buttermilk in your local shop? It’s pretty easy to make: pour 200ml milk into a jug and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice, stir, then leave for 5 mins for it to work chemically. Then you have your very own buttermilk!

13)¬†To make¬†Vanilla Sugar I pop caster sugar into an airtight glass jar and chuck in any left over vanilla pods i have that I’ve used to bake with. Waste not want not!

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