10 Beginner Baking Lessons from ‘The Great British Bake Off’
Few baking competition shows offer opportunities for learning moments, but The Great British Bake Off makes room for tips and notes. Because the bakers are amateurs, the judges will frequently talk with them after a challenge about what went wrong and what can be improved. If you’re bad at taking notes, here are a few baking hacks to try in your kitchen courtesy of our favorite big white tent.
1. Let things cool. Always, always wait for your bakes to cool off before decorating. You’ll save yourself so much heartache even if the anticipation is a killer.
2. Time management is everything. Multitasking like a pro is everything if you’re trying to make a multi-tiered cake or multiple baking projects all at once for a big event.
3.Watch your filling ratio. You must to consider the filling-to-cake-to-icing ratios for the most enjoyable bake. Like all good things in life, balance and moderation are key.
4.The drier the fruit, the shorter the fall. When putting fruit into a cake, find a way to dry it before you add to a mix. Otherwise, the fruit will sink — as several unlucky contestants learned in the cherry cake challenge in season one. Toss dried fruit or fresh fruit like cherries in a little flour to soak up the extra moisture before adding them to the batter.
5.Don’t over-knead your dough. Worse even than burning or under-cooking your bread is over-kneading it. Dough that’s been kneaded too much or too long can be flat, hard, and dry on the inside.
6.When in doubt, do the “windowpane test.” If you can see through your dough when stretched out, then you’ve developed enough gluten and it’s ready to proof.
7.Egg wash can throw you off. As one baker learned in season one, egg wash can make rolls appear to be done before they are cooked through.
8.Don’t rush the proofing process. Some bakers feel rushed and will force heat into their dough during the proofing process. Judge Mary Berry says to avoid doing this with certain types of dough like ciabatta, because it can cause it to overproof and then fall flat during baking.
9.Leave room for food to expand as it bakes. Give your cookies space from each other and make room for muffins and rolls to expand. Having your pastries bake on top of each other can cause problems in the evenness of a bake. And then they won’t look uniform when it comes time to decorate.
10.Avoid soggy bottoms. The best thing about pie crust is its flaky and crispy texture. Unfortunately, sometimes fruit-filled pies can make that difficult. If the fruit is overcooked in a pie, it releases too much moisture and makes the crust soggy. Instead, partially bake just the crust before filling it. You also can toss the fruit in a little cornstarch or flour to tie up the water.
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