Home baking has become popular recently, partly thanks to the TV show The Great British Bake Off. Are you a keen baker and home chef? Or do you prefer to marvel at others from the comfort of your sofa?
I’ve always been a keen cook and enjoy spending time baking. Some people would say I’m mad, but cooking up a delicious main meal or baking a tasty pudding for my friends to enjoy is a treat (pun intended!).
But I still don’t do as much as I would like, mainly because I don’t have the right ‘tools of the trade’. The majority of my baking and cooking is done by hand: the traditional mix of elbow grease and sweat (NB: these are not ingredients that should actually be added to your recipe)! It’s sometimes back-breaking work and certainly enough to discourage me from the kitchen.
So why, you may ask, have I not bought a kitchen gadget? The reasons are twofold: not knowing what type I should buy and the dreaded price.
The best mix of gadgets
If you like to both cook and bake, exactly what kitchen gadget you should buy is a little confusing. Should you get a hand mixer, stand mixer, food processor, mini chopper or hand blender? Where baking is concerned, hand mixers and stand mixers are the better choice. They can mix, whip and even knead dough as you’ll see in this video:
Some food processors can do the same if you have the right attachments, but our tests have found they don’t do as well. They can grate and chop hard food though, so they are a better all-round appliance. If you love to bake, but need something to occasionally chop hard food, a mini chopper or hand blender is a great extra gadget.
Adding the add-ons
Once you have found the right machine, you can choose the attachments you need. Dough hooks, whisks, potato mashers, graters, chopping blades; the list goes on. To some extent your choice of machine will determine this – you can’t get a dough hook on a food processor, for example.
But are there attachments you have bought that have never been used? Are there certain added extras you wish you had to make life easier?
Finally there is the question of price. Stand mixers, for example, can range from £100 to an eye-watering £800, although we’ve found a Best Buy mixer for £125. How much are you willing to spend on a kitchen gadget to make your life easier?
My favourite thing to bake is carrot cake; moist and comforting with a helping of creamy, naughty icing. I use the Good Food Channel’s recipe and, although it may seem a lot when you make it, the secret to its moistness is the corn oil. Give it a go!
Have you got any baking tips to share? What baking or cooking gadgets do you own or are there any appliances you’d love to own?