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12 Practical Baking Tips From The Winner Of "The Great British Bake Off"

Bake like a pro.

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This is Edd Kimber. You might recognize him for being the first ever winner of The Great British Bake Off.

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Apart from winning the show, Kimber has also written three cookbooks and recently toured the US hosting baking events — so he certainly knows a thing or two about baking.

So we asked Kimber to share his best 12 tips that have helped him out along the way. Here's what he said:

1. Make sure to read your recipe before you start baking...

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"The amount of times I've been baking a recipe, in my own little world, blissfully unaware I have missed a step, is far too high for a guy who does this for a living," admits Kimber. "Make sure you read the recipe a couple times before you get started. It'll give you more confidence and you'll make less mistakes — plus you won't end up starting a recipe you don't have time for or bake a recipe you don't have the ingredients or equipment for."

2. And prep all of your ingredients first, too.

"This is a tip taken straight from the professional kitchen," shares Kimber. "When we bake or cook at home, we often weigh out the ingredients as we go — but if you get everything prepped before you start, I guarantee you'll make less mistakes, the baking will go smoother, and your results will be better."
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"This is a tip taken straight from the professional kitchen," shares Kimber. "When we bake or cook at home, we often weigh out the ingredients as we go — but if you get everything prepped before you start, I guarantee you'll make less mistakes, the baking will go smoother, and your results will be better."

3. Invest in a digital kitchen scale to more accurately measure your ingredients.

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"The biggest thing you can do to improve your baking (if you currently use cups) is to buy a cheap kitchen scale — nothing more than $15," says Kimber. "When measuring a cup of flour using a cup, it can vary as much as 75 grams, and this can make a light cake heavy and dense."

Get a digital kitchen scale on Amazon for $12.99.

4. Accept that it's OK to mess up — it'll only make you a better baker.

"When you're first learning to bake, failure can teach you way more than success can," shares Kimber. "When you fail you figure out what went wrong, and then you won’t do that in the future."
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"When you're first learning to bake, failure can teach you way more than success can," shares Kimber. "When you fail you figure out what went wrong, and then you won’t do that in the future."

5. Baking is a science, so stick to the recipe.

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"Baking isn’t the same as cooking where you can just throw in a bit of this and a bit of that and it comes out delicious," says Kimber. "It uses science, and because of that you need to know what you're doing to be able to successfully change the recipe. You can very easily make subtle changes, but if you start adding liquid or changing the amount of flour or butter, you start to alter the building blocks."

6. Don't skimp on the salt.

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"Baking is still food, so seasoning the dish is important," says Kimber. "Older recipes will often just call for a pinch of salt — or maybe none at all. These days, we add salt with more thought to how it affects the recipe. Chocolate recipes, for example, really improve with a little bit of salt (just think how salt makes caramel even more magical). A little sprinkling of salt on a chocolate cookie, or in a chocolate cake batter, can add a little bit of magic."

7. Don't rush things — and don't stress.

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"I'm a firm believer that baking is an amazing stress reliever — so turn the music up and dance round the kitchen like no one is watching," says Kimber. "But in the same way that baking is relaxing, we shouldn't really do it when we are flustered or rushed. Baking needs a little patience and time, so don't try and knock up a chocolate cake in half an hour — it'll be a disaster!"

8. Invest in four basic pieces of baking equipment.

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"A lot of people are put off by how much equipment is needed for baking — but it doesn't need to be that way," says Kimber. "A few sheet pans, a set of 8-inch round cake pans, a muffin pan, and a loaf pan are a great foundation to make hundreds of different recipes. Invest a small amount of money in quality bakeware and you'll be using the same pans for a lifetime."

9. If your recipe calls for room temperature ingredients, make sure they're actually room temp.

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"For a lot of recipes (especially ones that beat the butter and sugar together) it's important that the ingredients are at room temperature," says Kimber. "If you beat cold butter and sugar together, it'll take longer to bring it to the correct texture — and if you add cold eggs, the mixture will split and curdle meaning you won't end up with as light of a cake. A good trick is to place the eggs in warm water for about 20 minutes before you start baking — this will help bring them to room temperature."

10. Make sure you check the expiration date on all of your ingredients — especially the baking powder, baking soda, and yeast.

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"Do you bake just once in a blue moon? Does your baking powder look like you bought it in the 90’s? Then toss it," says Kimber. "Baking powder, soda, and yeast all have a shelf life and can be affected by humidity, so if you can't remember when you bought them, there's a chance it might be past its prime."

11. Swap out plain brown sugar with muscovado sugar to give your baked goods a better flavor.

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"Not all brown sugar is equal," says Kimber. "A lot of brown sugar is fully processed into regular white sugar, then washed in molasses to add back the beautiful flavor and texture — but when you make muscovado brown sugar, it never becomes fully processed so the flavor and texture is so much better than regular brown sugar. It's stickier, stronger in flavor, and so much better. Track some down and bake with it!"

Get one pound of muscovado sugar on Amazon for $6.49.

12. Don't cut into your bread as soon as it comes out of the oven.

"There are few things better than the smell of fresh bread straight from the oven," shares Kimber, "but if you try to slice it straight from the oven, it'll taste gummy and sad. Instead, pour yourself a coffee and wait an hour — and then, with the bread still warm, you can enjoy the loaf as its best self!
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"There are few things better than the smell of fresh bread straight from the oven," shares Kimber, "but if you try to slice it straight from the oven, it'll taste gummy and sad. Instead, pour yourself a coffee and wait an hour — and then, with the bread still warm, you can enjoy the loaf as its best self!

So go forth and bake up a storm!

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You can follow all of Edd's baking adventures on his Instagram @theboywhobakes and his blog.

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