DB baking expert Sarah Lee, founder of Sweet Secrets bakery, has some timely advice for all those entering the DB Kitchen Baking Competition
The DB Kitchen Baking Competition strikes me as such an inspired idea not least because so many of us have been busy in our kitchens these past few months. I’m looking forward to viewing the finalists’ creations on the Around DB Facebook page and to casting my vote for the winners alongside the rest of the community. In the meantime, here are my top tips for entrants.
Follow the recipe
In baking, too many factors play into the success rate, so I highly recommend that new bakers follow the recipe very closely, especially when also trying out a new recipe. Once you know how it works in your home environment, you can make adjustments the next time. It’s important to realise that every ingredient in a baking recipe has a purpose, whether it is to enhance the flavour, the texture, or the structure. There is also a lot of science at work in baking, so you have to be precise. Converting cup measurements to grams, so you can use a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients can help with this.
If you are working in cups, be sure to fill your measuring cup with individual spoonfuls instead of using a measuring cup to scoop an ingredient – like flour – straight out of the bag. Do this and you get much better results! Note too that it’s best to sift flour prior to placing it in the measuring cup, and you can also give the measuring cup a gentle knock on the table to help level the flour.
Take your temperature
Does your kitchen run hot or cold? It’s vital that you know your oven, and whether the temperature indicator is accurate. If you’re unsure, an oven thermometer will give you peace of mind. For pastry making, butter is at its best at room temperature. If it keeps its shape and is easy to cut through with just a little resistance, then that is a good level of
‘softness’. Eggs are best at room temperature as cold eggs take longer to whisk and will not fluff up as well.
Most important is to be patient. If the recipe says to combine ingredients separately, don’t try to save time by dumping everything into the same bowl. Creaming butter and sugar together in a separate bowl incorporates air and adds lightness. But if you mix the butter and sugar with the wet ingredients all at once, then the end result will be dense and heavy. The tips from expert bakers leverage their experience from patiently baking a recipe over and over again. That’s why the experience can be therapeutic – or not.There are no shortcuts in baking and you can’t really speed things up. So, you might as well take your time and enjoy the ride, and the competition. Good luck!
To enter the DB Kitchen Baking Competition, read the eligibilty requirements here.
To get in touch with Sweet Secrets, you may call 9371 9089 or email [email protected] or visit www.sweetsecrets.com.hk