It’s admittedly very tongue-in-cheek of me to refer to these as “masterclasses”; they are more like tips for areas of baking that I am particularly fond of: little baking bites, to dive into as and when……!
Being an amateur baker, I will bow to the professionals any day of the week; I am certainly not an authority, just a very keen home cook who loves to research and practise in order to get better.
Give yourself time!
In terms of trying to give the best end results, especially with baking, allow yourself time: cooking at home should be a leisurely affair rather than a frantic scramble.
A rushed attempt, in my experience, often leads to disappointment. I certainly recall many occasions when I have tried to make something in a short space of time (“Oh, I’ll get this done before I have to go out….”), only to find that I have not allowed time for tasting or for finishing touches, resulting in things that are really not what I was happy with!
Check you have all the ingredients before you start
An obvious tip, but on many occasions over the years I have been half-way through making something only to find a key ingredient is missing! Frustrating to say the least.
I would also go so far as to get the ingredients out and, if possible, weighed so that it is a matter of getting straight into the joy of the mixing and baking.
Don’t get put off if something does not work
I have most certainly had many “off days”, not least when I am rushing and certainly with bakes that I have done successfully many many times before.
While errors (or full-on disasters) are frustrating at the time, it really is important to get back in the kitchen as soon as you can to re-make whatever did not work previously: a successful second or even third attempt can then boost confidence immeasurably.
On a personal level, I find there is little more annoying than having an unsuccessful dish hanging over you, mocking you mercilessly until you nail it! So a more successful re-make does wonders to banish negative thoughts.
Key areas within the world of baking
My tips and recipes currently include:
- Breads – with commercial yeast and sourdough breads
- Cakes – different types of cake, filling and icings, decorating cakes
- Macarons – a basic recipe, plus flavour ideas
- Pastry – choux pastry, croissant pastry, rough-puff pastry and shortcrust pastry
The links below go to my full recipes and guidelines on those areas. Those guidelines summarise what works well for me, giving reliable results that I am very happy with: and I tend to measure “happy with” by how easily I can devour them and how confident I am to serve the bake to others!