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Kitchen Wisdom

  • Also on breadmaking, add the salt when you start to knead the dough as salt kills the yeast but you need the salt to preserve the bread and give it flavour .

    "Posted by Crafty Cookie"

  • When baking and using cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda or baking powder bake the item straight away for best raising results (as soon as liquid is mixed into these raising agents they start to work and therefore lose their raising prowess

    "Posted by Crafty Cookie"

  • When beating egg whites, always add a tiny bit of baking powder of some acid, it helps to make them fluffier. Either rub the bowl with a wedge of lemon or add a couple of lemon juice if you don’t want to use baking powder .

    "Posted by Edda"

  • Add a pinch of salt when beating whole eggs: The salt will make the whites runnier and easier to mix with the yolks. Especially useful when using very fresh eggs

    "Posted by Edda"

  • When making cake batter or soufflé, either use icing sugar or very fine sugar. Failing that, beat the sugar in with the eggs so the sugar dissolves. This prevents the cake (or soufflé) from collapsing

    "Posted by Edda"

  • When making shortcrust pastry, a bit of lemon juice or a tiny amount of vinegar can prevent the pastry from shrinking. It also helps to make the crust crispier somehow

    "Posted by Edda"

  • My mother always uses water that is around (or at) room temperature when she is baking something that uses yeast. In fact, her advice in regard to baking is : ALWAYS use ingredients at room temperature. The only exception being butter for short crust or flaky pastry. Use that as cold as possible. Her advice for short crust and flaky pastry is: If you don't feel entirely confident, chill all your ingredients. Even the flour. This way you are sure everything stays cool longer. If the weather is chilly or very humid, Mum has a trick to 'dry out' the flour she uses for bread and warm it up a little: Zap it in the microwave for a couple of seconds (30 at most), then whisk thoroughly. This will cool down the flour a little, test it with your finger to make sure it doesn't actually feel hot or it will kill the yeast. If it's too hot, whisk a bit more. If it feels more or less the same temp as your finger when you push it in the flour, you know you should be fine. This slight heating will help the yeast along and is safer than using tepid water

    "Posted by Edda"

  • If you don't have a cake stand, or need an extra one or two for special occasions, place blue-tac on an upturned handle-less cup and press a large matching plate firmly on top. For a more permanent solution hot glue the cup to the plate. Three plates in various sizes can be stacked with cups blue-tac'ed inbetween to present smaller cakes, petit fours and sweets.

    "Posted by Hettie"

  • If you're having trouble finding gold buttons for cupcakes and such, as I am here in the U.S. you can make them yourself by lightly spritzing some M&M candies with vodka (I use vanilla vodka), then immediately transferring them to a ziploc bag with a nice amount of gold luster dust (usually found at cake decorating stores or online) until they're nicely coated, and finally drying them on a piece of wax or parchment paper.
    If you want to make them child-friendly, I would think you could use lemon, vanilla or almond essence or oil.

    "Posted by AllanS"

  • When making the delicious rice crispies squares (Nigella Expresss) it is a lot easier to use
    neutral veggie oil (e.g. sunflower) instead of gloves when putting the warm stuff into whatever form is used. Just rub your hands with oil like you would with hand cream. This way the warm mass won't stick to your fingers. This works nicely when handling any sticky
    dough as well.

    "Posted by Kerstin"