It’s that time of year again – as the summer comes to a close, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ graces our screens once again. With classics such as biscuit week and pastry week, it’s easy to be inspired to don your apron and get creating bakes of your own. Here’s how to get yourself and your kitchen Bake Off ready!
The first thing you’ll need before you get started is the bare essentials. No matter what you choose to bake in the kitchen, you’ll require a good stand mixer to mix all those crucial ingredients together. Not to mention staples such as mixing bowls, cake tins, and a set of measuring scales.
Of course, that’s just the basics – if you love to put some effort into your decorating, you’ll need things like piping bags and a variety of piping nozzles to jazz up that buttercream. Or if you enjoy experimenting with more savoury bakes, like pies, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right tins to hold your delicacies while they’re cooking.
Your equipment will be specific to the recipe – if you’re focusing on creating a luscious sponge cake, you’re hardly going to need a rolling pin! So one of the most important things that you’ll need to think about when getting yourself ready for the Bake Off, is to come up with some idea of what you’re going to make first.
What better way to get inspired than by looking up different recipes to try? Or even create a few imaginative ones of your own. If you’re feeling a little flummoxed about where to get started, recipe books from your favourite chefs, or looking at unique recipes from food bloggers will give you an idea of what you want to make.
If you’re more of a novice baker, try and find something fun to get you started, like these adorable ice cream cone cupcakes. Don’t be put off by recipes that are going to take forever to perfect. Croissants need hours to prepare the pastry, so aren’t for the faint hearted – if you want something a little easier to try, start with something fairly simple like shortbread or brownies. The most important thing about finding the perfect recipe to make is to find something that you can get excited about – after all, baking is just for fun.
Up for more of a challenge? Think about what flavours will combine well, then try and create some interesting recipes of your own! Be mindful of more potent flavours like lavender or aniseed, as the strength of the flavour can make using them tricky. If you start with a basic recipe to get you going, you can try and add more original flare by coming up with your own tasty twist.
Practice makes perfect
One of the key things to making sure that your bakes excel, is to get the hang on the basics. Look up the particulars like genoise sponge and creme patissiere so you can get them right; it’s better to be prepared than burning your caramel and having to start again.
Practice is vital to perfecting your bakes for the judges – or your family and friends, as the case may be! That chocolate cake didn’t turn out perfect the first time? Bake another one until it’s the best chocolate cake you can make! Your flavour is great, but presentation needs a little work? Practice with those piping bags until people will marvel at your skills with buttercream! One way to practice, is to use glasses or mirrors as a surface to pipe onto. These will be easy to clean afterwards, and allow you to view your lovely designs.
Baking isn’t meant to be stressful, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get things right the first time. The only way you’re going to get better is to keep practicing, which we’re sure your family and friends will thank you for when you offer them your creations!
The main thing you can do to get yourself Bake Off ready is to bake! Keep up the hard work and you’ll be able to develop the skills of a star baker in no time. What have you been making in the kitchen? Show us on our Facebook page!