By Niamh Spence
With a huge rise in baking and cooking (banana bread anyone?) during the lockdown period, what's next for keen bakers? What recipes and cookbooks should we be considering, and what equipment do we need to create our next culinary masterpiece? Quidco has all the details.
Get your bake on
From cupcakes to sourdough to the now infamous banana bread, there’s no denying that baking fever has gripped the nation during lockdown.
Searches for things like ‘no yeast bread’ and ‘no egg cake recipe’ hugely increased across the UK in the past few weeks, as many of us decided our kitchens were the best place to be during quarantine lockdown.
But whether you’re as skilled as Mary Berry or just a keen beginner, there are some baking recipes to suit everyone.
For those just starting out, there are simple, five-ingredient bakes that are easy to master (and taste so good nobody would know they’re easy!), or for the ambitious patissier, there are more complex creations that will see you mastering techniques such as spun sugar, mirror glazes and tempering chocolate.
Baking has even been proven to have positive effects on mental health, and with the uncertain times of lockdown, we could all do with some relaxation; even in the form of cupcakes and delicious banana bread.
So whether you’re new to baking or highly skilled or just looking to kill some time, Quidco has the lowdown on everything you’ll need to create a delicious masterpiece in the kitchen.
New recipes to try
If you’ve been on Instagram lately then you can hardly have ignored the sourdough trend. Already mastered sourdough? Go one better with an intricately plaited loaf of bread.
If making friendship bracelets in school was a skill you mastered then you’ll have no problem managing this impressive-looking loaf.
Braiding bread in three strands, four and even eight (for those who want to be ambitious) gives an impressive result, and with an egg yolk wash the golden colour can show off your near-professional baking skills. We bet it would even be worthy of the Paul Hollywood handshake and the Star Baker award...
Missing your morning Danish whirl and coffee on your work commute? While your commute may have cut down to travelling from the bedroom to the office, you can still get your sugary fix at home by making your own.
Cheat with puff pastry and get stuck into making yourself a morning treat. Want to make it even more adventurous? Swap the raisins and cinnamon for apples and sultanas for a twist!
Gluten-free, dairy-free or egg-free, baking can be amended to suit any dietary needs or just to make an indulgent recipe a little bit healthier.
Previously, finding recipes without some of these key ingredients would have been a nightmare, but now there are so many options to substitute and still get a tasty creation at the end.
If you’re used to using flour but looking for an alternative, cornflour can be a good substitute. Particularly if you’re looking for a gooey or fudge-like result, so brownies with cornflour are still as moist without the wheat.
Just like milk, there are also options like oat flour and almond flour that can be used if you’re looking to replace wheat in the kitchen; particularly good for anyone following a keto or paleo diet, in lockdown.
Alternative ingredients aren’t difficult to get hold of either, and most retailers will have them on sale including online store Approved Foods which helps prevent waste also.
Better tools, better baking
Your tired-looking baking tray and the well-worn mixing bowl can only take you so far on your baking journey, and improving your kit will improve your baking (we promise).
Upgrading to silicone baking trays can also help get the perfect finish due to their non-stick texture, so you’ll be more likely to get your masterpiece out in one piece instead of sticking to the edges of your tin.
A baker is only as good as their tools, so make sure your kit doesn’t let you down.
Decorating gets easier if you have a piping bag and nozzles, perfect for getting that final touch from drop style to flowers and stars. Wilko has a huge range of baking kits, as well as your basic supplies to get you going from silicone cases to baking trays.
If light meringues and pretty macarons are on your list, then investing in a standing mixer is a must.
Whipping air into your mixture by hand is tiring and your arms will thank you for getting the perfect consistency via a machine instead. You can still whip by hand of course, but it will save you time and give you a chance to move onto other stages if you get some sneaky help and all the best chefs use them too!
AO.com has plenty of stand mixers from industry-leading brands and some even come in different colours to match your kitchen colour scheme! Just make sure yours comes with a flexible whisk attachment to get the lightest mixture possible, plus they’re easier to clean when you’ve finished making your treats.
Take your bake to the next level
If you want to get your little helpers involved in the kitchen or even extend the homeschooling to food tech, then some of the easy-to-follow kits can make it fun whilst being simple to understand for active mini chefs.
Little baking kits can keep even the most energetic of children engaged, and with subscription kits from companies like Little Cooks Co and Little Bakers, it can be something to look forward to long after lockdown ends. You never know, these moments in the kitchen with you might spark their passion for a career in food in the future.
If you’re keen to upskill your own baking skills then take note from some of the best chefs on the scene via one of their cookbooks.
You can’t beat the classics: Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry have some of the best recipes that viewers of The Great British Bake Off will be familiar with. Or, if you’re looking for something less traditional then take a look at some of the new bakers on the scene, including the new kid on the scene, Niki Webster, who specialises in great vegan and healthy alternatives in her new book Rebel Cookbook.
Shop online and get cashback when you buy your cookbooks from retailers such as Books2Door and Awesome Books. Even the most unconfident of bakers can master recipes from a cookbook, and then get adventurous with different ingredients to create their own personal stamp on their baking creations.
Get cashback on your next bake
From the flour, the baking tins to the fancy cake decorations, baking costs can easily mount up. Make sure you still earn cashback on your next baking masterpiece by using Quidco before you shop for your baking creations.
It’s easy; become a Quidco member and then shop through the Quidco website and earn cashback on your next purchases.