Like so many other bakers around the world, I am obsessed with the Great British Bake Off. All the cakes, pies, and bread showcased on the program inspire me to get into my kitchen and bake. Also being half British myself I love learning about the history of European baking through the two hosts impeccable humor.
However, if you are not an experienced baker but, the Great British Bake Off has inspired you to bake here my tips and tricks for replicating the stunning confectionery presented on the show.
Purchase a Great Baking Book
If you are new to baking the first thing you must acquire is a great baking book. One of my favorite books, it should come as no surprise, is Mary Berry’s “Baking Bible”.
This book is perfect for beginner bakers. It includes a massive introduction section that details baking terminology, oven temperature conversions, and required equipment. Also, the book includes a huge variety of recipes. Everything from simple cakes and bread’s too complicated confectionery can be found within its pages.
Buy a Kitchen Scale
Often what deters people from baking is poor results for the amount of effort applied. A lot of the time a poor bake is the result of not measuring out ingredients correctly. This is where a kitchen scale comes in super handy.
In Canada and the USA, we typically use “cups” for measuring. This system is fine, however, it takes practice to get right. Simply measuring a correct cup of flour can be difficult as you don’t want to firmly pack the flour into the cup while at the same time you don’t want to under fill it. This amount of guess work can make your baking unpredictable.
In Europe, however, most bakers use weight (grams or ounces) to measure out their ingredients. This system is far easier. There is no guess work; 100 grams of flour is 100 grams of flour. For beginner bakers, I recommend trying to use recipes that utilize weights instead of cups for more consistent results.
The Weather Makes a Difference
The weather will affect your baking, especially if you are working with pastry. So, make sure that you have fridge or freezer space available to keep you bakes and ingredients cool before you start working.
Take a Class
If baking blind absolutely terrifies you consider taking a baking class. Many local colleges, bakeries, and craft stores offer baking and or baking decoration classes.
If you are specifically interested in cake decorating the popular Wilton classes are a great place to start. Composed of four different classes that teach you everything from making buttercream to working with fondant, the Wilton classes are fairly inexpensive for the amount instruction they provide.
If, however, taking a class is not an option for you head to YouTube. There are a ton of great baking channels out there that are perfect for beginners. My personal favorite is Cupcake Jemma. This British cupcake baker has easy to follow but, incredibly tasty recipes on her channel. Her Christmas bakes are especially amazing!
Learn How to Use Your Oven
Evey oven is different and learning how to use yours correctly will help you consistently turn out perfect cake after perfect cake.
The first step to learning how to use your oven is to crack open your owners manual and have a read through it. Read up on your ovens different functions and settings so that when it comes time to baking you know what buttons to press and what knobs to turn.
Finally, check your oven’s calibration. No oven is perfectly calibrated but, there are a few ways check yours. First, you can have an appliance technician come to your home and professionally calibrate your oven. This is a bit pricey but, if you have the funds it is the best way. Second, you can buy an oven thermometer. This is a thermometer that you stick inside your oven and it will tell you its true temperature. This way you can increase or decrease your ovens setting to find the absolute correct temperature. The third and final way to test your calibration is through trial and error. The more you use your oven the more you will come to understand it. While this method can produce some over done bakes it is the cheapest method.
Line Your Tins
When baking a cake the first thing you should do is line your cake tins. Now, there are a few ways to do this but, my personal favorite is to butter then flour the bottom and sides of my pans. By doing this your cakes should come out of your tins easily after they have cooled.
Hopefully, these tips will help you bake incredibly creations in your kitchen. And, if you have not yet watched the Great British Bake Off, what are you waiting for?
Do you love the Great British Bake Off? Have a baking question? Or what have you been inspired to bake recently? Comment below.