Get tips and tricks to make your baking a success. Read our baking tips below or
have a look at our baking glossary. We also have a handy conversion charts and troubleshooting
Always read the recipe carefully before preparation. Use either metric or imperial measures with the recipe.
Don't use thin disposable aluminium pans. Where possible, purchase non-stick metal tins as these are more effective.
Before baking, always wash your hands carefully and wash any fresh fruits and vegetables that may be used in the recipe.
Always preheat the oven fully when specified.
Scrape sides and bottom of bowl frequently with a spatula during mixing.
Spread mixture evenly in tins.
Always stir flour to "loosen" before measuring. Sifting it first is necessary only if the recipe calls for it.
Weigh ingredients accurately using weighing scales.
Margarine or butter should be at room temperature for baking - ingredients will blend a lot better and mixtures will not curdle. There is one exception to the rule - with pastry, have butter or margarine as cold as possible.
You will get more juice from your lemons and oranges if they are warmed before squeezing.
For fast shortcut pastry: put flour, salt and chopped margarine into a food processor. Process until blended (about 20 seconds). Then add the water and process until mixture just binds together to form firm dough (about 10 seconds). Chill for 20 minutes before use.
When preparing mushrooms, never immerse them in water - they will absorb the water and lose flavour and shape during cooking. Just wipe each with a clean, damp cloth.
Do not use spreads to replace butter or margarine; they contain less fat and more water so they will not perform like butter or margarine
Store ingredients properly between baking and always use the freshest ingredients where possible.
Don't overmix and attempt to add extra quantities of ingredients unless the entire recipe is doubled.
Have all ingredients at room temperature for best results (with exception of pastry).
Always sift bread soda and spices to avoid lumps.
To speed up the softening of cold butter, slice and let stand for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
Always add a pinch of salt to eggs when stiffly beating as this gives you greater volume and reduces beating time.
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Don't overfill the oven. Tins and baking trays should never touch the sides of the oven. They should never be placed underneath each other (unless you are baking in a fan oven).
To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the center. The toothpick should come out clean and dry, or have only a few crumbs clinging. Yeast breads, rolls and loaves should be golden brown on top, sides and bottom, and when tapped underneath they should have a hollow sound.
Test your cakes for doneness while they're still in the oven. Because of differences in individual oven controls, be sure to test your cake for doneness according to package or recipe directions. Cake is done when the sides shrink slightly away from the pan and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Oven temperatures vary so refer to manufacturers guidelines
Cool cake in tin 10-15 minutes before loosening the edge and turning it out onto a wired rack/tray to cool (except for Egg Sponge, which must be removed from the tin immediately).
To remove cake easily from tin, place double thickness kitchen towel over wire rack. The towel prevents the wire bars from breaking the crust or leaving imprints on top of cake. Place covered rack over top of cake. Invert cake and rack at least one hour before decorating. Brush loose crumbs off cake.
Cooked pancakes will keep for two days in a fridge. They will also freeze well for up to three months.
Put a few sugar cubes in your biscuit tin and the biscuits will keep crisp and fresh for much longer.
A Victoria or butter sponge will keep, undecorated, in an airtight container for about three days. Once decorated, use within one day. Cake will freeze undecorated for up to two months.
Pastry freezes very well. Allow it to thaw for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in a fridge before using.
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Get explanations of commonly used baking terms so you know what to do.
Our easy to use conversion tool helps you to quickly get the right measurements.
What went wrong? Our troubleshooting guide helps you find out.
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