To celebrate this weekend's Cake & Bake Show, we've asked six of the show's star speakers to share their top cake and bread-making tips with us.
Richard Bertinet, French chef and baker
Stick to the recipe! The proportions matter in baking. Don't add flour or oil to your table to stop things sticking - it changes the proportions of the ingredients.
See Richard's lovefood hot cross bun recipe here
John Whaite, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2012
When making meringue, it's important to ensure that the egg whites are medium to stiff peak before you even think about adding the sugar (a spoonful at a time). Most recipes say, 'whisk the whites to soft peaks', but that isn't true; they need to be medium/stiff.
Paul A Young, chocolatier and pâtissier
Whenever you're baking anything sweet, add a pinch of sea salt. I put a teaspoon in my chocolate cakes. It lifts and balances the sweetness and brings out other flavours. One teaspoon isn't enough to be able to taste it, but it's like putting salt in bread: you know when it's not there.
See all Paul's lovefood recipes here
James Morton, runner-up in The Great British Bake Off 2012
My top baking tip is quite simple: don't stress. Baking is something to enjoy, but we all have things that don't work out from time to time. Whenever this happens, don't worry and try not to lose hope. Next time you bake, try something totally different - or try something you know and love. The best thing you can do is to avoid getting disheartened.
Eric Lanlard, master pâtissier
I've got a few to share: always weigh your ingredients and make sure everything is at room temperature; follow the recipe (remember, baking is a science); ensure that your oven temperature is correct by using an oven thermometer (oven temperatures can vary enormously); use the finest ingredients, as it will make an enormous difference to the flavour of your baking; and unrefined sugar, pure vanilla extract, and unsalted butter are my must-have ingredients.
See all Eric's lovefood recipes here
Patrick Moore, artisan baker
Never fear a sticky dough, and never be afraid to experiment! Also, always cut pieces of dough cleanly when removing from any bowl or containers to minimise damage to the gluten network. A quality metal scraper is the best tool for this, and will make a huge difference to the natural 'grain' of the bread.
And one extra: Charlotte Morgan, lovefood food writer
When sifting flour, always do so from a great height - I usually stand on my tiptoes. That way the flour will 'collect' more air as it falls, giving you a light-as-air bake. Also, my favourite piece of kitchen equipment is a connected measuring spoon set like this one - you'll never lose one spoon if they're all stuck together, and it's so important to be precise when baking.
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