Never bake blind again: 6 basic baking essentials

Top tips, techniques, hints and hacks every baker needs to know

ONE: PREP MAKES PERFECT

When baking, always ensure your eggs are at room temperature and that butter is soft (unless specified otherwise); the latter means that the ingredients will amalgamate properly. If you’ve ever tried to cream fridge-cold butter into sugar, you’ll know what we mean.

TWO: READY & GRATING

If you do forget to take butter out of the fridge ahead of time, try grating or dicing into small cubes. This increases the surface area of the butter, meaning it will come to room temperature sooner.

THREE: NO MORE, NO LESS

With baking, precision is all-important. When you use a set of electric scales any guesswork is eliminated, greatly improving your chances of success.

FOUR: STICKY SOLUTION

Any time a recipe asks you to grease and line a tray, tin or pan, it does so for a reason – forgo this and you risk your bake sticking to the bottom or sides.

FIVE: TOOLS OF THE TRADE

There are a few bits of kit every keen baker should own. For us these include a rubber-bladed spatula – particularly handy for scraping down the sides of a mixing bowl and when incorporating ingredients – plus a durable rolling pin and a whisk, both essential for all manner of tasks.

SIX: WE HAVE LIFT OFF

All-purpose (aka plain) flour is, as the name suggests, suitable for a range of bakes, from cookies to breads, doughnuts to pie doughs. Self-raising flour, meanwhile, has a specific ratio of baking powder already added and evenly distributed, which means it acts as a rising agent to give a ‘lifted’ end result.

Got the basics down? Great! Put them to good use with any (or all!) of these seven beautiful bakes.