Thursday, 7 February 2013

February Tips...

As often as I come by baking tips, I will post them here, so keep checking :)

  • Always use baking ingredients that are at room temperature (unless a recipe calls for a chilled ingredient)
  • Use the best quality ingredients you can; you will notice the difference if you try to skimp!
  • When making meringue, the bowl must be totally spotlessly clean, and free of any grease and fat.  To make sure it is, clean the inside with fresh lemon juice, wiped around with kitchen towel.  Any trace of fat in the bowl will render the meringue a bit of failure
  • Disposable icing bags...worth their weight in gold! (Lakeland have a good selection but I prefer the 'good grip ones' as you really do need a good grip! 
  • For large swirly 'ice-cream machine' effect icing, use a Wilton 1m nozzle
  • Just in case you missed Mary Berry's tip on the Mary Berry Story on TV, to get the maximum juice out of lemons, and with very little effort, cut the lemon in half and place in a dish.  Put in microwave for 30 seconds, some juice will already have left the fruit, but to get the rest, a gentle squeeze and turn on a juicer, and the lemon yields far more juice than it would otherwise. I must try this with my LMP!
  • Eggs! How do you separate yours?  When making meringue or ice-cream (see recipes) it is crucial to have yolk-free whites to whisk up the perfect light fluffyness.  I usually tap the eggs on the worktop, and break open into a bowl, swapping the yolk from one half of the egg shell to the other half.  Not entirely foolproof, and one little mishap and I have to discard the whole lot and start again!  I'm going to give this method a try next time : Use the Three-Bowl Method - When separating several eggs, like for  meringue, set up three bowls at your work station. Crack the whole egg into the first bowl and use your fingers to gently lift the yolk free of the whites. The naked yolk goes into the second bowl and the left-behind egg white is poured into the third. The next egg is then cracked in the (now empty) first bowl and the process repeated.
    This might sound tedious and like a lot of dirty dishes, but it's all worth it the one time a yolk breaks as you're cracking it. Instead of ruining the whole batch of egg whites, you've only lost one egg. If you prefer to separate your eggs by passing the yolk between the two egg shells, just do it over that first bowl and then transfer the white to its own bowl when you're done.

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