I receive so many messages asking for a list of baking tips, so I thought it was about time I listened to you all and compiled one! I'm no expert, but I think that in order to become a decent baker there are a few key tips and tricks that are worth taking into the kitchen with you. These are all things that I have mainly learned from watching shows like The Great British Bake Off, failing when developing some of my recipes and having to figure out where I went wrong, gathering advice from other food bloggers, or simply googling when I am stuck! I'm going to break it down into simple sections for you all, as well as give a list of baking essentials that I always think worth keeping in your home (with links to ones that I recommend/ or own).
Recommended Baking Ingredients:
Below I have compiled a list of ingredients that I always ensure I have in my cupboards. I find that I always need at least three to four of these ingredients for each recipe I make!
♥ plain flour
♥ caster sugar
♥ some form of brown sugar
♥ icing sugar
♥ cocoa/cacao powder
♥ chocolate (a range of white, milk and dark)
♥ vanilla extract
♥ baking powder
♥ bicarbonate soda
♥ white bread flour
♥ packeted yeast
♥ sea salt
Recommended Baking Equipment (you won't need all of this):
♥ a set of three mixing bowls - click for the ones I use
♥ measure spoons - click for the ones I use
♥ cup measurements - click for the ones I use
♥ wooden mixing spoon
♥ spatula and/or palette knife
♥ metal whisk (electric is ideal but they can be expensive - here is a good and cheap option)
♥ brownie tin - click for the one I use
♥ cookie tray - I use a masterclass one as they do really good non-stick trays
♥ springform cake tins - this is a good set
♥ glass measuring jug - click here for the one I use
♥ loaf tin(s) - depending on how often you make loaves (and what sizes you make), it may be worth investing in a couple
♥ cupcake and/or muffin tray
♥ pastry scraper
♥ large wooden rolling pin
♥ tart tins if you were planning on making tarts, quiches etc.
♥ sponge pudding tins (perfect for sticky toffee puddings and chocolate fondants)
♥ baking parchment (really helps cookies or cakes not stick to your pan/tin)
♥ ice cream scoop (sounds silly but it's the perfect tool for scooping cookie dough)
♥ Alternatively, there are lots of good beginner baking sets out there if you were just wanting to stick to the basics!
Top Beginners Tips:
➊ This may sound obvious, but ensure that you are weighing our ingredients exactly. With a lot of recipes, if you use different measurements it can totally throw off the outcome of the bake! This is also the same with oven temperatures. Bear in mind that different ovens may need to be set to different temperatures - for example, fan ovens often need to be around 20 degrees lower in temperature!
➋ Butter is super important. By that I mean not only the temperature of the butter but the type that you are using. I have made the mistake before of trying to make buttercream with vegan spreadable butter - safe to say that it collapsed. You need butter that will regain some sort of firmness and set once added to the icing sugar. Some recipes call for chilled butter and some call for room temperature butter. It is super important to adhere to those requirements. For example, pastry typically requires chilled butter so that it doesn't seep everywhere whilst being mixed, rolled and baked. I always chill my butter before being added to my puff pastry for example, and I also pop the pastry in the fridge to ensure that after being warmed by my hands it hardens again. This ensures that nice flakey texture we all know and love when thinking of puff pastry.
➌ Prep your ingredients before and clean up as you go. I definitely don't always follow this rule but it certainly makes things easier when I do. Weigh out all your dry ingredients before your wet so you don't have to keep cleaning your scales. Place all the ingredients back in the cupboard when weighed out to save on workspace. If you are waiting for something to chill or cook then do the washing up to save it piling up.
➍ Follow the recipe. Wow Daisy that is mind-blowing advice. No, but seriously. You can of course adapt certain things and ingredients BUT take this as an example; if a recipe says to not over-mix, then don't over-mix. Gently folding ensures that air isn't knocked out and can make the texture a lot tougher).
➎ You've probably heard this one before - don't open the oven door. I know you want to but you can't. Letting in cool air throws things off completely and can lead to sunken cakes which nobody wants.
➏ Lots of other bloggers say this, and I have to agree. If something says it needs to be at room temperature (whether it be butter or eggs etc) then listen to what the creator of the recipe recommends. There will be an important reason for this and could completely throw off the consistency of your recipe (such as unwanted lumps of cold butter).
➐ Keep going! If you fail, so what?! I cannot tell you about the amount of failed bakes that I have had to throw in the bin. Yes, it is often disheartening at the time and I have definitely become weirdly upset over batches of brownies that have burnt or been on the verge of a meltdown when a cake has collapsed, but I ensure that I always learn something from these mistakes and try to ensure it doesn't happen again.
➑ Ask for help. There is honestly no shame in asking for help. Whether that be googling the answer or reaching out to a food blogger like myself. We don't just wake up one day knowing how to dough everything - quite the opposite. I have spent hours each day trying to improve my baking skills and I certainly have a very long way to go until I am perfect. That is what makes baking so fun though. Perfecting a skill, making an incredible cake that the whole family enjoys, or creating your very first recipe - these are all things that make baking so worthwhile and such a wonderful hobby to have.
Let me know if there are any other tips you want from me, if you think I have missed anything or if you have any questions about this post. Happy baking!
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