Since moving to Britain 20 years, I have visited many counties eating delicious British food from pubs to ice cream parlours, and of course, foods from all over the world. As the Prime Minister announced and imposed new coronavirus restrictions, it makes it harder for us to travel at the moment.
Nevertheless, let us think positive and use the time we have to improve our baking skills. Over the years, I have blogged quite a few Chinese bakes such as Min Chiang Kueh, Pandan Pretzel and many more. These dishes always bring me closer to home.
When you are baking at home, it can be fun to improve your skills and bake some new things. If you have a young family to look after, you will have plenty of opportunities to do this especially baking with your child will help you both to bond. Of course, if you are just starting out or need to brush up on your knowledge, you might want to look at some tips and tricks to make things a bit easier. To help you with this, we are going to discuss some of the things that you can do to improve your baking skills at home below.
Use Recipes in Metrics
When you first start baking, you should always find recipes that are in metric rather than trying to convert the recipe. Otherwise, it could be a recipe for disaster. Also, there are so many well know British bakers, like Mary Berry, that you could use.
Then read the recipe carefully and thoroughly to ensure you know which are the crucial steps and you can take into account your time management, especially timing for proofing your bread.
Measure your ingredients properly by weighing them with good weighing scales. I find that cheap weighing scales often don’t give you accurate measurements and some scales don’t go beyond 500 grams. It will be hard if you are making a big portion of bread mixture. Personally, I prefer digital weighing scales as it makes reading the scales a lot easier! If you have a visual impairment, you will probably prefer talking scales.
Preheat the Oven
Preheating your oven is so important so that your bake does not collapse or over bake. It also means your bake will be bake evenly. Also, get your oven to the right temperature. I have recently bought a digital oven, which makes it easier to set the temperature by the dial. You might want to invest in an oven thermometer to check your oven is heating to the right temperature.
Keep the Oven Closed
An influx of cold air will cause the cake/bake to fall. It will also let all the heat out from the oven, which will affect the bake as while the oven reheats to the temperature as before.
Use Fresh and Room Temperature Ingredients
Chemical leavening agents, like self-raising flour, baking powder and baking soda, lose much of their effectiveness after six months or so, even if they’re not out of date. Hence it is important to check and use fresh ingredients. Also, most of the baking recipes require room temperature ingredients, such as with egg and cream cheese, to achieve a good mix. You won’t want to mix cold with room temperature ingredients otherwise it won’t rise properly. However, note, some recipes require cold butter, so make sure you read through properly. Also, never used a salted butter as the added salt will affect the flavour and change the way the gluten in the flour develops.
Don’t Under or Over-Mix
Many people have a tendency to over-mix as they are worried that they have not mixed it well enough. Professionals often suggest to fold in the wet and dry ingredients rather than stirring the mixture as it will decrease the air volume in the mixture. Also, over mixing the dough will increase the gluten and make it too elastic and too firm.
Practice Makes Perfect
Finally, if you want to improve your baking skills at home, you should try to practice as much as you can. You will find that over time, your skills in the kitchen will develop naturally and that you will find it much easier to bake. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect!
So what is your comfort food you like to bake?
Disclosure: This is a featured post.