Miranda Gore Browne answers your baking questions
Great British Bake Off Finalist and Dream Tea ambassador, Miranda Gore Browne answered all your baking questions live on twitter as part of Dream Tea Week.
- What’s the secret to a making a light Victoria sponge? Really soft and squidgy butter whisked for at least three minutes (ideally with balloon whisk or whisk on mixer) until pale and fluffy then add eggs one at a time. Sift in your dry ingredients and fold in oh so gently!
- What is the secret to a great meringue? Whisk your egg whites until so stiff you can turn the bowl upside down over your head! Then I use both granulated & caster sugars. I think the best meringues are the ones baked overnight! preheat oven to 120 degrees, put in meringues and bake for 1hr then reduce temp to 100 degrees for an hour then turn the oven off and leave them in overnight - don't open the door.
- How do you make a good soufflé? Weigh carefully, ensure bowl is squeaky clean. Separate eggs perfectly, whisk whites to soft peaks and fold gently in, butter dishes well and run your thumbnail around the inside rim to help them rise.
- How do you melt chocolate so it doesn’t go grainy? Fill a pan with boiling water then bring to the boil. Let the water simmer and put a heatproof bowl with the broken chocolate in over the water. Leave to melt. Check the water doesn't touch the bowl and don't let it boil. stir gently once melted and remove from the heat.
- What is your biggest baking achievement? Holding the first copy of my first book BISCUIT in my hands, and Mary Berry calling me the #ICEDBISCUITQUEEN
- Crumble topping with or without oats? My perfect crumble always has oats in it - no debate perfect crunch #bakemeacakeasfastasyoucan #dreamtea
- What natural sugar substitute would you recommend? I bake with lots of honey
- We're putting on a #DreamTea for someone with allergies to nuts and wheat later this week. Any good recipe ideas? Have you tried popcorn rocky road! Recipe in #bakemeacakeasfastasyoucan but omit the nuts! You could add in more dried fruits and marshmallows too, or my dark chocolate and courgette loaf works well with Doves Farm gluten free flour #dreamtea
- Butter or margarine? I make lots of my cakes with butter but Stork is also fabulous in particular the new Stork buttery.
- What’s the single most useful tool or implement that you use when baking (not including a mixer)? Just one?! You can make pretty much everything with a wooden spoon, digital scales and a big bowl #dreamtea .. and elbow grease!
- How do you get macaroons so shiny? It might be the wrong ratio of sugar to almonds or not whisking enough or adding a colour, if making Italian meringue macaroon add the colour (use a gel paste) when mixture still warm, are your egg whites aged? crack eggs open and put in a covered bowl for a few days.
- My brownies always end up too 'wet' in the middle; what's the best method to ensure a good bake? Really depends on the recipe but in principle the skewer can come out sticky but shouldn't taste raw! ie. It will be wet as chocolate content so high. I tend to bake for 35-40 minutes then take them out and put them straight in the fridge (on a heatproof board) this keeps them squidgy! Try my #bestfriendbrownie from Bake me a cake as fast as you can?
- What is the best way to make candied peel? Perhaps I am a bit impatient but I usually make crystallised peel rather than candied as it is so quick, easy and delicious! Simply use a zester to make thin strips of rind then toss in caster sugar and leave to dry out overnight. Keeps well in a jar.
- How can I stop cherries sinking in a cake? Rinse them, chop them in half and roll them in flour.
- What would be your ideal snack to make for very active children? Biscuits packed full of wholemeal flour, bananas, wheat germ and brown sugars called healthy monkeys in my book Biscuit! Or fruity oaty muffins from Bake me a cake as fast as you can which are packed with banana and dried fruit
- How to stop cake getting too dry in AGA? My AGA Total Control with baking oven makes the moistest cakes but if yours are dry have you tried putting in the cold plate shelf? Or using the @AGACookshop cake baker?
Author: Hannah Attenburrow
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