January 21, 2019
How many times have you wanted to bake something on the spur of the moment, but didn’t have the ‘correct’ equipment in your cupboards? Don’t worry - it’s happened to us too. But this post will help convince you that there’s no such thing as the ‘correct’ equipment! So don’t run to the shops just yet - you might actually have everything you need already! Let us share our very favourite baking equipment hacks - and demonstrate how you can make your own DIY baking essentials at home too.
First up, we have a quick and simple hack for making your own muffin cases in a jiffy. First, find something the size of your muffin cups, such as a glass. Place the paper over the end and push down to create an inverted case. Repeat the process for as many cases as you need and when you’re done, you’ll have your cases ready to use. We even used this process for our Apple & Toffee Muffins, which was our Baking Club box for September 2017. We love the rustic/homemade look the muffin cases give this bake!
Alternatively, you could buy one of our Baking Kits that comes with absolutely everything already included - minus the fresh ingredients! Our Gin & Tonic Cupcake Kit includes the cupcake cases - like our Gin & Tonic Cupcake Kit! It’s a Great Taste Award winner for 2018, so you know it’s good!
For many activities in the kitchen, your hands are one of the best tools you have. When crimping the edge of pastry cases for a beautiful finish to your pies, don’t rush to buy crimping tools. From apple pie to custard filled puffs, you can create impressive detail on your bakes that not only act as a seal to secure all that lovely filling in place but make them look oh so pretty. There’s so much you can do so get creative!
To create an effect like in the photo above, simply use a lightly-floured index finger to gently push the edge of the pastry in between the index finger and thumb of your other hand. Do this all the way around the edge of the pie before blind-baking or adding your filling to the case.
When rolling out pastry, a tall glass bottle works just as well (if not, a little better) than any rolling pin you can buy. Plus, most of us already have a spare wine bottle lying around the kitchen. Just make sure it’s clean before rolling all over your pastry! Use it in exactly the same way as you would use a rolling pin. Lightly flour your surface and your bottle, and then apply some pressure from above down on to the pastry as you gently roll it out flat. Alternatively, you could also use a roll of cling film or aluminium foil as a rolling pin substitute.
From pavlova to mousse, there are some recipes that call for you to separate your eggs. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Having even the smallest amount of fat from the yolks in your whites can cause flat meringues - a dessert disaster! But before you go buying one of those fancy egg separators (we’re still not really convinced they work) consider using your hands, a plastic bottle or the egg itself!
To use your hands, first grab a bowl. Then, simply crack the egg as you would normally over the bowl, and pour the egg into one of your hands with your fingers very slightly apart. Now, gently shake your hand so that the egg white falls down between your fingers and into the bowl. You can then discard the egg yolk into the bin or use it as an egg wash on your dough or pastry. This one’s not for those of you who don’t like getting your hands dirty!
The next method is to use the egg shell itself, just like in the image above. As before, grab a bowl and crack the egg over it. Then, gently move the egg back and forth between each half of the egg shell until all of the egg white is in the bowl, but the yolk remains in the shell.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to separate your yolks from your whites is by using a plastic bottle! We’ve all got one of those lying around the house, all you do is squeeze the bottle and hold it very closely above the yolk. It’ll suck your yolk right up as soon as you let it go.
Many baking recipes call for a pastry brush, either to grease baking tins or to create a golden crust on dough or pastry. But what do you do if you don’t own a pastry brush? Well, never fear - it’s very easy to find pastry brush alternatives from around your home.
When greasing cake tins or baking trays, use a piece of parchment paper or kitchen roll instead of a pastry brush. Simply cut off a small piece of butter from your block, and place on the parchment paper or a piece of kitchen roll. Then, pick the paper up and hold it from behind to rub the grease into all those nooks and crannies. You could even rip off a piece of your butter packaging to do the same job.
You can also use kitchen roll as an alternative to pastry brushes when applying an egg wash or milk to pastry or dough. This helps to give a lovely, golden crust when cooked. Dip your kitchen paper into beaten egg or a little milk, and gently rub the top of the pastry or dough. That’s it!
When it comes to baking pastry, one gadget you definitely don’t need to buy is baking beans. Baking beans are used to weigh down pastry during baking to stop it rising and to help you achieve an evenly baked crust ready for its filling. If you’ve got any raw rice, dried kidney or butter beans, they all do exactly the same job as a slightly pricier tub of baking beans, and they’re just as reusable!
Start by placing your raw pastry dough into your tin, and then placing a sheet of baking paper over the top. Add in enough raw rice, dried kidney beans or dried butter beans to half fill the case. Then follow the instructions in your recipe to blind bake the pastry. Once done, simply hold on to the edges of the baking paper to remove your alternative baking beans - making sure to be very careful as you do it as they will be extremely hot. Once cool, place them in a jar and store away for your next pastry baking venture!
Some recipes use ‘cup’ measurements, where you place your ingredients into a cup to measure out by volume instead of weight. All you need is a standard-sized cup or mug, and you’ll have perfect measurements in no time at all! The best thing about this is that as long as you use the same cup to measure out all the ingredients in your recipe, you’ll always have the correct ratio of ingredients.
Alternatively, Bakedin makes it even easier for you to bake without scales. All of our baking kits come with all the dry ingredients you’ll need, already perfectly weighed out and separated into bags ready to use at each stage of the baking process. We’ve also got your back when it comes to measuring butter. Did you know that most packs of butter in the UK are exactly the same weight and shape? We include a handy butter measure in all our kits that require butter, so you can always find the right amount for your bake without the use of weighing scales!
There’s no need to buy that fancy hand whisk you’ve had your eye on, simply for whisking eggs. You can use a fork or a pair of chopsticks to get the same results! Simply crack your eggs into a bowl, and then use a whisk or chopsticks to use the same beating motion as you would if you had a whisk. Easy!
If you don’t have a piping bag at home but your recipe calls for perfect swirls of mixture or a drizzle of icing, you can get a very similar effect from a freezer bag - only much cheaper! Place your mixture in a sandwich bag, and then cut one corner off using scissors to create a tip. The size of the cut depends on how wide you want to pipe. If you do have a nozzle at home, cut off the corner of your bag and then place the nozzle in before filling with your mixture.
If you’re baking biscuits, there’s no need to rush to the shops to buy cookie cutters. Instead, use an upturned glass to cut uniformly round shapes out of pastry or biscuit dough. Of course, you could also cut around a plate if you want bigger rounds, or something smaller like a bottle top if you’re after little shapes! The possibilities are endless if you’ve got a kitchen full of stuff, except cookie cutters!
For anything more than a round shape, just use a knife and freestyle! We love the rustic look of anything that's been cut out by hand, so give it a go!
This post goes to show you don’t need loads of fancy equipment in your kitchen. Most tasks and recipes can be completed with just a few small baking hacks and tools you can make from things around the house!
What are your favourite baking equipment substitutes? Please share any that we’ve missed in the comments below!
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February 18, 2019
Nice Recipes. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
Very helpful info particularly the last Recipe. I care for such information a lot.
I was seeking this certain info for a long time.
Thank you and good luck……
January 24, 2019
My Mum used to use all these methods when I was a kid. Back then it was using a milk bottle for a rolling pin but a wine bottle works for me!
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May 22, 2019
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