Nurturing the baking bug
It’s safe to say 2020 has been the year for getting your bake on. Whether it was borne out of lockdown boredom or an attempt to soothe the various stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kiwis have discovered – or rediscovered – their love for baking.
And it’s not hard to see why. Few things are as satisfying or comforting as taking a freshly baked loaf or cake out of the oven – so if you’re looking for a few ideas for nurturing those new baking muscles beyond the lockdowns of 2020, we’ve got you covered.
Moving on from sourdough
There was a time during lockdown when you couldn’t scroll through Instagram without tripping over a post about homemade sourdough. Left to their own devices for days on end and with supplies running out at the grocery store, many Kiwis tried baking their own bread for the first time and discovered it’s relatively simple.
But if you’re sick of all that sourdough or find maintaining a sourdough starter too much fuss these days, there are plenty of other bread recipes to try, including some that don’t need yeast, like soda bread. So, pull out that trusty loaf tin again and give it a whirl. Or if you feel like adding something new to your bread-making repertoire, try making bagels or brioche for that next special Sunday brunch at home.
Store cupboard stars
With supermarket shopping a fraught experience for much of 2020, Kiwi bakers soon discovered that the basic ingredients readily found at home can still produce a little magic in the oven.
So, next time the urge to bake grabs you, perhaps take on the challenge of creating something out of what’s already in your cupboards (or the fruit bowl – hello, that other star of 2020, banana bread!) A simple google search for “pantry staples baking” should deliver a whole range of recipes for tempting the taste buds without any trips to the supermarket involved.
Picnicking in style
Of course, with the summer months coming up, it’s a great time to bust out the baking skills for a truly epic picnic spread.
A savoury slice is always a winner for such situations, given it’s portable and easy to eat with your hands – and no self-respecting picnic bag is complete without a sweet treat tucked away. Whether it’s muffins, biscuits or bars, there are plenty of delicious baking options that lend themselves to being easily lugged around the beach or park.
If you fancy a shift away from more traditional baking styles, perhaps try experimenting with the variety of alternative flours or butter and egg substitutes out there. Such products are widely available these days – and any allergy sufferers in your life will lap up the opportunity for baked treats. You might want to try out a few fermented flavours in your baking, too. With fermented foods gaining in popularity in 2020, recipes that include ingredients like apple cider vinegar or kefir make for a deliciously different bake.
But what to use?
Whatever you’re deciding to whip up in the kitchen, it pays to have a few trusted tools at your disposal. Obviously, this includes a good, large mixing bowl – be it beautiful stoneware or trusty stainless steel – and measuring cups and spoons. Baking isn’t the time for guesswork so a full set of measuring cups and spoons will make life that much easier.
It’s good to have a classic wooden spoon on hand, too, both for its utility and for adding a little old world charm to the mix. A rubber scraper is also invaluable for getting every last bit of batter or dough out of a bowl.
Finally, you don’t need a wide array of baking tins to crank out the baked goods – but a good round cake tin is a must, as is a rectangular baking pan, which can be used for all kinds of goodies like brownies, slices (both sweet or savoury) and cakes