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Hints, Tips and Tools (7 Viewers)

Baking tips, helpful hints, how to guides, decorating, tools & their uses...

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If you are going to try your hand at making your own preserves, then it's essential to know that you will need to sterilise the jars you intend to use first. This prevents anything spoiling the jam and eradicates any bacteria or bugs that are lurking in there that you cannot see. I have put together this mini tutorial and some tips to help you with this process. Preheat your oven to one of the following temperatures: - Conventional Oven - 180°C Fan Assisted Oven - 160°C - 170°C Gas...
 
If you're not into sifting or sugar shaking, then try making your very own cornflour pouch. They're so quick and easy anyone can do it! Here's the video version:- Here's the mini-tutorial version:- Firstly you will need the following items to start:- A pack of disposable nappy (diaper) liners. Rubber Bands Icing Sugar/Confectioners Sugar Cornflour/Cornstarch Take two nappy/diaper liners. Place them on a mat. Unfold them and lay them in a cross position one on top of the other...
 
Cracked it? I’m one of those people who does break my eggs on the side of a bowl causing an indent and then separating it. However, there is a better way to ‘crack it’so to speak. One of the best ways to crack an egg is to hit it against a flat surface and then separate it. Apparently, by hitting the egg against a flat surface, it reduces the number of shards that could potentially enter the egg when it splits. Thus giving you a better cracking experience and less mess with the shards.
 
How to make shiny edible flowers without the use of lustre spray or confectioners glaze. Edible flowers look beautiful when they are made, however, if you wish to add a sheen finish to them then you could try one of the following tips. You can either lightly steam the flowers by wafting them back and forth through the steam of your kettle when it boils. (Please do not hold them directly over the steam otherwise they will melt, and you will burn your hand). Or for those of you who are the...
 
When a recipe requires you to use cold butter, then try these handy tips. Tip 1. Take the butter straight from the fridge and grate it using a cheese grater. Not only will it remain ice cold, but it will be much easier to work with and create your desired results. This is grate (see what I did there 🤣) when making biscuits or pastry. Tip 2. Another tip if you want very thin layers of cold butter. Run a potato peeler down the block of butter as this will give you the butter in...
 
You will find in some recipes that they want you to hull strawberries or other fruit before you cook or serve them. There are two ways in which you can hull strawberries, however, firstly let me explain what it means. All this means is that they want you to remove the green leafy part of the strawberry, also known as the calyx before you use them. To do this, you would use one of the following methods. Please ensure you wash your fruit first then pat them dry using a piece of kitchen...
 
Choc chips are beautiful pieces of chocolatey goodness that are added to muffins and cakes to deliver a little hint of luxury to your taste buds. So instead of mixing them into your cakes, how about adding them to your buttercream. By adding them to the buttercream filling, you will add extra crunch and texture to your cake and create a little surprise for those who are not expecting them. Related Posts Strawberry Milkshake Buttercream
 
When baking you will find that some recipes call for softened butter to be used in their ingredients. Please be aware that softened butter and melted butter are entirely different things and should not be confused as one of the same. Softened butter, is butter that has been taken directly from the fridge and left to rise to room temperature on its own, this type of ingredient can be used in buttercream as the icing sugar absorbs straight into the butter and milk giving you a creamy filling...
 
Here is a lemon zest and juice tip for you to try. If a recipe calls for the use of both the zest and the juice from the lemon, firstly grate the zest into a bowl. Then cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice over the lemon zest. The lemon juice will prevent the lemon zest from drying out and going hard, thus making your cakes extra scrumptious!
 
If your recipe requires you to measure out sticky ingredients such as syrup, honey, treacle (molasses) then remember this neat little trick. In order to help you remove your ingredients easily, simply spray your tub, jug or scales with a non-stick spray prior to weighing and all your gooey ingredients will slide out easily. [embed] No scraping, tapping or banging, just easy pour liquid! You can do this using any greaser or releaser and is a good tip to know if you are measuring out...
 
We all know that ginger is a funny shape, and when cut with a knife loses half its actual size. Therefore to stop and prevent this from happening simply peel your ginger with a teaspoon. Yes, I did say a teaspoon! The curve of the spoon sits nicely on the outer edge of the root and peels the skin away with ease, leaving you with just the amount of ginger you require.
 
If you need to make jam soft in order for it to spread easier, then try using the following tip. Take your jar of jam out of the fridge or cupboard and place it in a jug of hot water for approx 10 minutes. For plastic jam, pots reduce the temperature to very warm rather than hot. (Be careful when removing the jar from the jug as it may be hot). Once removed, dry the jar with some kitchen towel and leave to cool for a few minutes. The jam will now be a soft consistency allowing you...
 
Angie submitted a new blog post How to cube butter easily. Do you find that your butter sticks to the knife when you are cutting it into cubes? If so there is a little trick you can do to prevent this, simply sprinkle a little flour onto the butter and this will prevent it from sticking to the knife thus making your cubing process much more easier.
 
Here is a baking tip on how to prevent your baking paper from sliding off the baking sheet. Roll out your baking paper and size it against your baking sheet. Cut out a piece that covers the whole baking sheet. Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the corners of the baking sheet and a couple in the middle. (I ran my fingers under the tap and then lightly sprinkled the water with my fingertips). Now place the baking paper back onto the baking sheet, you will notice that the drops of...
 
To stop your sugarpaste or icing from going sticky, firstly lightly knead it on a lightly dusted surface. Then finish working it by rolling it out using a rolling pin. If you use your hands to soften and roll the sugarpaste icing, you will transfer heat to it, and the more you work it, the more sticky it will become, by using the rolling pin you are working the paste but not transferring direct heat to it.
 
If you have spare batches of icing (that's all the same brand) and are not quite sure what to do with them, then try this nifty little trick. 1. Simply get your spare bits of icing together and bind them into a ball. 2. Then roll the ball out with a rolling pin on a lightly dusted surface until flat. 3. If you have enough your could create a multicoloured effect on a cake, however, if you don't have that much you could always make some funky cupcake toppers with it like so. 4...
 
In order to recreate a light flesh skin colour for your edible models, you will need to use Paprika Flesh Colour concentrated dye. Add a little of the dye to your white icing and build up the skin colour you require, you can make everything from a pale complexion to a 'you've been Orange Tango'd' complexion depending on how much dye you use, if you add too much of the dye then add some more white icing to lighten the colour. If you require much richer or darker skin tones then look to...
 
In order to free your cake from the tin much easier then do this handy tip when your bakes come out of the oven. Place your wire rack on the side. Wet a tea towel by placing it under the cold tap and then wring it out. Put the damp tea towel on top of your wire rack. Place your freshly baked cake directly onto the tea towel and wire rack as soon as it is removed from the oven. By placing the hot tin directly onto a cold, damp surface, it quickly assists with cooling the tin...
 
If you find that your icing, fondant, or sugarpaste is hard or dry then simply add some Trex or some other alternative vegetable fat to it, although a rule of thumb with this is less is definitely more! Make sure you use it in stages, and slowly otherwise, you run the risk of adding too much and making a mess. Trex in moderation will soften and loosen sugarpaste/icing/fondant making it pliable and easier to use, all you need to do is rub a little between your hands and then knead the...
 
If when adding your eggs to your cake batter you are noticing the batter is curdling, splitting or separating as it's also known don't panic, this is normal and may be caused by a few simple factors. Different temperatures of your ingredients may be the cause they're not binding together and doing the science part that they are supposed too. Another reason may be that you are using lots of eggs in the mix and you haven't added any flour yet. To be quite honest it isn't a problem and...
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